Due to the current and unprecedented situation with Covid-19, Sun Basket is experiencing a period of extremely high demand and is unable to accept any new orders.
Excellent variety for specific dietary needs (vegan, paleo and gluten-free), fresh ingredients and interesting menu options.
Paleo, vegan and gluten-free plans available
Free shipping on first order
Excellent step by step cooking instructions
A little bit too much plastic in the delivery box
Slightly pricier than competitors
Sun Basket delivers your chosen menu between 8am and 9pm, Monday-Thursday, to most of the continental US. If you’re in Alaska and Hawaii or some parts of Montana, North Dakota and New Mexico, you’re out of luck. If you enter your zip code on their website, you’ll get a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as to whether they will deliver to you.
I like that there are a range of delivery days (which is better than Home Chef’s choice of 3 days), but if I was a real stickler (and I am), I was still slightly more impressed by the 5 days-a-week delivery options from Hello Fresh, with added delivery tracking.
When you sign up, you’ll have the choice between the Classic Menu (of 18 recipes a week) and the Family Menu (6 recipes a week).
The Classic Menu gives you a wider variety of choice, and is customizable to either 2 or 4 people, while the Family Menu is fixed at 4 people, and has fewer menu options (which are also more kid-friendly). Within each of the plans, you can customize the menu to be more specific, e.g., paleo, vegan and otherwise.
Price-wise, it's a little more expensive than both Hello Fresh and Home Chef, but actually, offers a lot more choice than either of those (especially if you have a specific diet). That and Sun Basket’s portions are pretty generous.
Meat, vegetarian, fish, paleo, vegan - range of dietary options and preferences
Most of the US, excluding AK, HI, MT and parts of NM
$6.99 per week
Wow. Sun Basket’s menu (and filtering options) are by far some of the best I’ve seen while reviewing these meal delivery kit companies!
Firstly, those filtering options are second to none:
It’s actually the first time I’ve seen such useful filters, and I made very good use of them! The only thing I would say is that I wanted to apply several filters - when I clicked on the “< 600 calories” filter, it applied it, and then the other options disappeared.
While I understand that applying too many filters could severely limit your menu options, I still would have liked to have seen a few combinations.
Sun Basket says there are 18 meals to choose from across each plan and menu, and there are around 5 or so meat-free, vegetarian/vegan options included in this. You can also easily adjust your preferences (as in, exclude soy or shellfish) by updating your food preferences in your account.
The top menu is easily divided into breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, proteins and pasta options, which was something I hadn't seen before, and was an interesting inclusion.
You’ll see each recipe has a list of which category it falls under, as well as any dietary information, such as vegetarian or soy-free. Clicking through to each recipe will give you more information, including the time to prepare, calorie amount and what’s included in the recipe’s delivery bag:
What I really liked is that at the bottom of each recipe card is a suggestion for how to keep your kids occupied while cooking:
It was a nice extra touch, which I haven't seen in other meal delivery kit services.
Another nice touch: you can easily switch out your meal’s protein source (in meat or fish recipes) for another source, or change your meat for organic meat (also an option which I discuss in my review of Home Chef, although you should know that this will cost slightly more per serving. To do this, just go to your menu in your account and customize your recipe.
One thing I noticed about the menu in general, was that it was a little more exotic than other meal delivery services (Home Chef, I’m looking at you), which tend to rely on more traditional burgers and BBQ American fare. That and, in the vegetarian menus, Sun Basket makes a real effort to include thoughtful, varied protein sources, like tofu and eggs, rather than just shove a lot of cheese into a recipe.
I ended up choosing:
Lettuce-wrapped turkey burgers with spicy chraime carrot salad
Tamarind chana masala with naan
BBQ meatloaf with garlicky greens and rosemary-roasted potatoes
Sun Basket includes a whole recipe book for every single recipe on the menu in your chosen plan. It’s a pretty exciting way to get you inspired to cook new things, although you may think, like me, that it’s just a waste of paper. Half of the recipes I wouldn’t even choose to cook so there’s no need to send them to me - a little unnecessary maybe.
But anyway, I found Sun Basket’s recipes very easy to follow (easier than Hello Fresh’s), with step-by-step photos, and even videos (available both online and in the Sun Basket app). In fact, you’ll even see bonus recipes in both, with exciting ideas for desserts and even drinks (punch, chai iced tea).
Strangely for a company who overprinted the recipe book with my delivery, the online recipe cards aren’t downloadable or printable, meaning if you need guidance during the preparation, you might find your screen getting dirty!
For someone like me (who hasn’t really cooked before), I found the website’s “Tips and Techniques” section to be very, very useful, including tips on how to choose and use the right cooking oil. This itself was a big part in helping me to get the recipes right each time. With my lettuce turkey burgers, I ended up mis-cutting the carrots (despite the very clear instructions to “Lay the carrots flat; using a peeler, shave the carrots lengthwise into thin ribbons.” - I guess sometimes, you just can't teach old dogs new tricks.
Otherwise, I followed the chana masala recipe to the letter, and ended up with a perfect-tasting meal (which was highly surprising, as I can't cook anything, let alone something that looks as complicated as that). Most impressively, my BBQ meatloaf wasn’t overdone (which it usually is), thanks to this one piece of advice:
Thanks, Sun Basket! I remember Hello Fresh’s instructions were slightly vague, and ended up with me ruining the meal.
Signing up is straightforward at Sun Basket. After checking your zip code and entering, you’ll see this screen:
Your choices are 2 people (Classic Menu), 4 people (Classic Menu) and 4 people (Family Menu) - more on that later. You’ll also have a range of choices for specific diets and food preferences, as you can see from clicking on the “?” under “Choose your meal preference”:
This is one of the first times I’ve seen a meal delivery service offering vegan or paleo options - both Hello Fresh and Home Chef didn't have either of these options, although Blue Apron does!
You’ll be taken to the menu screen, where you can even add extra meals if you fancy:
One thing here, I couldn't click through to the recipe cards on this screen, which was annoying. I would have liked to have seen exactly what was in each menu (just in case it had a personal allergen, or if I wanted to know more about a recipe).
Once you’ve selected your menu items, it's time to add in your payment details. After a couple of seconds on the screen, this popped up:
That’s very nice indeed! Especially when you consider that Hello Fresh doesn’t have free shipping as an option, and Home Chef offers free shipping only on orders over $45. Sun Basket really gave me a good first experience by offering me this on my first order!
And that’s it - you can now sit back and wait for your Sun Basket meal delivery. I found the whole process to be very straightforward, with one teensy complaint - that I couldn't click through to the recipe cards on the menu page.
Here’s where Sun Basket could improve.
As someone who tries to be as plastic-free as possible, I didn't appreciate Sun Basket’s slightly wasteful approach to packaging.
Hear me out: the delivery arrives in a big (recyclable) cardboard box, with paper bags inside for each of the separate ingredients (this is something Hello Fresh also does).
But here’s where I got annoyed: inside each of these paper bags, you’ll find individual ingredients - eggs, tomatoes, herbs and loose produce - wrapped in plastic bags or plastic containers! In my city, these aren't recyclable, and I didn’t appreciate the unnecessary plastic use. Still, at least the dressings were placed in screw-top containers, which are recyclable where I live, but were also pretty useful, so I kept them for later use.
Sun Basket actually makes quite a bit of noise about how recycling-friendly it is, with a whole page dedicated to explaining the ingredients of your delivery box:
It even includes some extra ideas for practical ways to reuse your Sun Basket box:
But still - none of these ideas or suggestions made up for the fact that there was just too much, avoidable, plastic.
Sun Basket has a few ways to get in touch with customer support:
The text and phone lines are open Monday-Friday, 8am-5PM PST. If you have something specific but want Sun Basket to get back to you, I suggest using the helpful dropdown questionnaire:
My query was answered within a couple of hours by a chatbot who referred me onwards:
Kudos for getting back to me in a timely manner, but why not just get a service agent onto my query straight away?
Canceling your subscription to Sun Basket is very easy. Simply go to your account, scroll to the bottom of the screen and find Manage My Subscription. Follow the steps to complete your cancelation - and that’s it!
Just be warned that if you have a delivery scheduled and you’re canceling after 12PM PST/3PM EST on a Wednesday, you’ll still be charged for your upcoming delivery.
I really enjoyed my experience with Sun Basket. I especially liked that the recipes were very easy to follow (even for me), and that there were dietary plans for paleo, vegan and other diets. I also liked the free shipping on my first order - that was a nice touch.
The overuse of plastic upset me, as did the $6.99 shipping afterwards. I’d still say Sun Basket is well worth the cost, but if it could throw in free shipping once, why not throw it in over a certain order amount, like Home Chef does, too?