The Best Meal Kits
They’re cropping up everywhere—but which really deliver? Real Simple staffers ordered and cooked from 15 national services to find out.
Best for Beginners
Recipes from many of the services tended to be long and complicated, but Blue Apron consistently provided streamlined, unfussy instructions that explained cooking techniques, like exactly how to zest a lemon. The website also gives you the option to order kitchen tools you might not own.
To buy: Meals start at $9 a serving, blueapron.com.
Fastest to Prepare
Ingredients come in a mini refrigerator (FedEx picks it up from your door the next day) and are fully prepped—no chopping, grating, or peeling. Love Real Simple recipes? Our food staff helps develop the lineup.
To buy: Meals start at $5.25 a serving, freshrealm.co.
Testers praised the minimal ingredients and the easy instructions for the regular weekly meals. But you can also upgrade with add-ons, like specialty seafood, meat (herbed lamb chops), and dessert (flourless chocolate cake).
To buy: Meals start at $12 a serving, plated.com.
Most national services focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, but this one also delivers certified organic. Each meal takes about 30 minutes and includes a premade sauce (like romesco or honey buffalo) that jump-starts flavor.
To buy: Meals start at $10.50 a serving, greenchef.com.
How ‘Bout a Drink?
Convenient for family breakfast on the go, this subscription delivers five weekly smoothie recipes that go beyond banana-strawberry. (Think Matcha Apple Pie.) Also included: super-cute straws. All you need to do is add ice.
To buy: Smoothies start at $4 a serving, greenblender.com.
This Atlanta-based company delivers southern-inspired meals from prominent chefs (Steven Satterfield, Virginia Willis). Yes, there are grits—but also bright Baby Beets with Sweet Potato Greens and Tomato–Vidalia Onion Pie.
To buy: Meals start at $11.25 a serving, peachdish.com.