Winter is here, and the pandemic still is too, which means that meal delivery services are now perhaps at their most useful. Since they can send you anything from gourmet ingredients to premade meals that can be ready in three minutes in a microwave, they can be a true treat if you're hunkering down for the next few months.
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M Kitchen World Spatula Set
We've rounded up seven of our favorite meal kit delivery services, perfect for a variety of needs. Whether you're feeding hungry kids, watching your carb count, going vegan or working on your chef skills, there's a service for you. For more meal delivery ideas, check out our roundup of keto-friendly meal delivery, vegetarian-friendly meal delivery and meat delivery services too.
Who it's for: The busiest beginner cook you know.
The basics: With your dietary restrictions or preferences — no meat, no gluten, pasta lover and more — in mind, Hungryroot loads your fridge with delicious groceries and helps you cook them. Along with the items, you get a variety of recipes that suit your taste and are super easy. Like, done-in-10-minutes-or-less easy. And did we mention they're delicious? Think feta turkey burgers and tomato black bean enchiladas.
What makes it unique: You can either personally choose every single item that comes in your box, or have the company shop for you, though of course Hungryroot sends you an email making sure you're OK with the items before shipping and lets you swap as many as you'd like. In addition to the ingredients, Hungryroot has a variety of delicious snacks you can add into your box.
Plan options: Choose a plan for one, two or three or more people, with two- or four-serving recipes. You can skip a week or cancel anytime.
Pricing: Plans start at $59 per delivery.
Who it's for: The single eater who doesn't exactly love to cook.
The basics: Freshly sends microwaveable meals that can be ready in three to four minutes, with various diets in mind. You can choose from vegetarian, gluten-free, low carb, high protein or soy-free options and more.
What makes it unique: Freshly is one of the few services that sends completely ready-for-microwave (or oven) meals that truly taste fresh. No icy vegetables or half-frozen pastas to be seen. And if you don't want to eat it within a week of your shipment, just pop the food in the freezer.
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Oxo Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press
Plan options: You can choose from four meals per week to 12 meals per week, starting at just $8.49 per meal.
Who it's for: The healthiest eater you know.
The basics: Approachable, delicious and certified organic, Green Chef offers home cooks sustainably sourced, premium ingredients and recipes curated by chefs.
What makes it unique: Practicing healthy eating or on a special diet? Choose from plans including Keto, Paleo, Balanced Living, Plant-Powered and Family, to tailor your meals to your needs. Keto lovers will approve of roasted garlic-butter trout, served with roasted broccoli with Parmesan cheese, and a kale and grape tomato salad. On the Balanced Living plan? Expect recipes for dishes like a Moroccan chicken quinoa bowl with kale, carrots, tomatoes, currants and green goddess dressing. And with premeasured and premade sauces, marinades and spice blends, you'll spend less time in the kitchen and have more time to devote to your wellness routine.
Plan options: Choose from a two-person plan (each box contains three dinners for two people, six servings total) or the family plan (each box contains two dinners for a family of four, served family-style, eight servings total). Sign up for weekly subscriptions and pause or cancel orders for no charge.
Pricing: The two-person box ranges from $9.99 to $12.99 per meal, depending on the plan, while the family plan starts at $10.99 per meal. Check site for discounts.
Who it's for: The all-things-organic lover.
The basics: Not farmers market season? No problem! Capay Organic, a second-generation family farm in California, works with local farms and artisans to deliver certified organic produce and handcrafted farm products to your doorstep. What's inside? A small Mixed Fruit and Veggie box might contain two Valencia oranges, one Hass avocado, two Fuji apples, a head of red leaf lettuce and one bunch each of spring onions, lacinato kale, Nantes carrots and red beets.
What makes it unique: Farm Fresh allows you to customize each order — add or remove produce or change your box type, size and delivery frequency. Hate beets? Just put them on your "never send" list. You can also choose to add grocery and artisan basics like eggs and dairy, honey and jam, or fresh flowers and hand lotion to your box. Need recipes? You'll find them here.
Plan options: Select your style (Mixed Fruit and Veggie, No Cooking, Fruit Only, Traditional CSA, Veggie Only or Snack Pack), size (small, regular, more or monster) and frequency of delivery (weekly, every other week, every three weeks or every four weeks). Before each delivery, add any extra items if you choose to customize your order. Skip or cancel at any time.
Pricing: Small boxes start at $27.50.
Who it's for: Families and picky eaters.
The basics: Simple, quick and yummy recipes make HelloFresh a fave of busy parents. Helping to ease that dinnertime stress, the step-by-step instructions and premeasured ingredients allow you to whip up dishes that the whole family will love in just 30 minutes — all with little cleanup and waste.
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What makes it unique: You customize your meal plan by selecting protein settings (e.g., no beef, no pork, just seafood or just veggie), and meal choices are clearly labeled to help make choosing them a breeze. Now, about those picky eaters? With 20 recipes available each week, you'll be feeding them creamy Parmesan chicken spaghetti, griddled onion cheeseburgers or pork carnitas tacos.
Plan options: Opt for Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly or Low Calorie, and choose your plan size (two or four servings per meal) and delivery frequency (two, three or four meals per week). Skip a week or cancel at any time.
Pricing: Starting at $7.49 per serving, plus $7.99 for shipping.
Who it's for: The beginner on a budget.
The basics: EveryPlate is all about super simple recipes with six steps or less, making this an easy pick for someone who's just beginning to cook every day for themselves. Rather than focus on specialty diets, the company focuses on keeping prices low.
What makes it unique: Especially good for extremely busy people and families. The recipes range from chicken dishes to burgers and tacos.
Plan options: Choose two to four dinner servings per meal, and delivery frequency can be anywhere from three to five times a week. You can cancel at any time.
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Cuisinart 3 Piece Mixing Bowl Set
Pricing: Starting at $3.99 per meal, plus $8.99 for shipping.
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Who it's for: The wannabe gourmet chef.
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Cuisinart Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers
The basics: With a rotating weekly menu, you have 17 menu items to choose from, including five-minute lunches, and the option to customize — whether you choose an upgrade, swap or want to double your protein on certain recipes.
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Farm Fresh To You
What makes it unique: Home Chef really listens to what its customers are saying: The company combs through the 100,000-plus reviews and 50,000-plus comments it receives each month to inform its upcoming menu planning. Want to create a meal that would cause even Gordon Ramsay to break into applause? Order from the Premium meal options. It'll cost you more — $19.95 per serving — but when you're dining on a bistro filet and truffle frites in the comfort of your own home, we don't think you'll mind.
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Hamilton Beach 14-Ounce Single-Serve Blender
Plan options: Choose two, four or six servings per meal; delivery frequency starts at two meals a week. Skip or cancel at any time.
Pricing: Most dinner meals are $9.95 per serving; five-minute lunches are $7.99 per serving; and smoothies and the fruit basket are $4.95 per serving.
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Who it's for: The vegan or plant-based eater.
The basics: Whether you're looking to test out a plant-based diet or have been eating vegan for years, this convenient meal kit delivery service sends you all the ingredients you'll need to make delicious meat-free dishes at home. Sweet and sour seitan with charred cherry tomatoes and udon, anyone?
What makes it unique: Yes, there are plenty of dinner options, but for those who want more, there's the option to add two-serving breakfast (how about vanilla chia puddings with dried blueberries and cashews?) and lunch meals (dibs on the stuffed avocados with tofu salad and crispy onions), as well as snacks (like protein bites or dark chocolate "seed'nola"), to your order.
Plan options: Choose from High-Protein, Gluten-Free, Quick & Easy or Chef's Choice, or customize your plan every week. Choose from a two-serving plan (includes three dinners per week, each serving two people) or a four-serving plan (includes two or three dinners per week, each serving four people).
Pricing: The two-serving plan starts at $71.94 per week (each serving is $11.99); the four-serving plan starts at $79.92 per week (each serving is $9.99). Add breakfast for $4.49 per serving (comes in four-serving portions) or lunch for $8.99 per serving (comes in two-serving portions). Snacks start at $3.99 apiece.
You've got the food. Now, do you have the proper tools? Here are a few items to add to your cart to make cooking at home a snap.
Cuisinart 3-Piece Mixing Bowl Set ($25.90, originally $33.32; wayfair.com)
This three-piece set, in blue, green and yellow, includes 1.5-quart, 3-quart and 5-quart bowls that are perfect for all your meal kit recipes. When you're done mixing, throw them in the dishwasher and then nest them for easy storage.
Oxo Good Grips Soft-Handled Garlic Press ($16.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
If "too much garlic" is a phrase that has never passed your lips, you'll definitely want a good garlic press on hand. This model has plenty of room for large cloves and a built-in cleaner that pushes out the garlic peels.
Hamilton Beach 14-Ounce Single-Serve Blender ($15.29; target.com)
To help make things like sauces and dressings, a small blender can be really useful.
Cuisinart Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers, 3-Pack ($12.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Perfect for straining pasta but also great for sifting dry ingredients, this set of three stainless steel mesh strainers will get tons of use in your kitchen.
M Kitchen World Spatula Set ($14.99; amazon.com)
When you're baking, icing, mixing, stirring, flipping or folding? You need a good spatula. This four-piece set includes a nice variety of styles in flexible, nonstick and heat-resistant silicone.