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Article updated on January 31, 2024 at 2:24 AM PST

Cheapest Meal Delivery Services of 2024

Meal kits and prepared meals for under $6 a serving? It's true. We tested dozens to find the best budget meal delivery for 2024.

Our Experts

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Written by 
David Watsky
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
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David Watsky Senior Editor / Home and Kitchen
David lives in Brooklyn where he's spent more than a decade covering all things edible, including meal kit services, food subscriptions, kitchen tools and cooking tips. Since earning a BA in English from Northeastern in Boston, he's toiled in nearly every aspect of the food business, including as a line cook in Rhode Island where he once made a steak sandwich for Lamar Odom. Right now, he's likely somewhere stress-testing a blender or researching the best way to make bacon. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.
Expertise Kitchen tools, appliances, food science, subscriptions and meal kits.
Why You Can Trust CNET
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Prepared Meals

What to consider

Cost

Meal kit or prepared meal delivery

Healthiness

Number of meals per week

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Our Picks

See at EveryPlate
Every Plate meal delivery service
Best cheap meal kits overall
EveryPlate
(8.8/10)
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See at Fresh N' Lean
Fresh n' Lean meals
Best cheap prepared meal delivery overall
Fresh N Lean
(9.2/10)
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$20 off first box with code:
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See at Dinnerly
plated dinner from dinnerly meal delivery service
Best cheap meal kits for picky eaters
Dinnerly
(7.8/10)
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See at Mosaic Foods
mosaic foods.png
Best cheap vegan meals
Mosaic Foods
(9.2/10)
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See at Blue Apron
blue apron steak dinner
Best cheap meal kits that include steak and seafood
Blue Apron
(8.2/10)
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$110 off first 5 boxes
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See at Daily Harvest
several daily harvest meals in glamour shot
Best cheap meal delivery for breakfast and lunch
Daily Harvest
(8.8/10)
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40% off first box with code:
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See at HelloFresh
hello fresh meal delivery service
Best cheap meal kits for diet and weight loss
HelloFresh
(8.0/10)
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First box ships free + 3 surprise gifts
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every plate box and two meals
EveryPlate

What's the best cheap meal delivery service?

While everything else has got more expensive, meal kit subscriptions seem to be getting cheaper. There are now meal delivery services for every budget, including options for as cheap as $5 per serving. The absolute cheapest meal kit isEveryPlate, and with consistently tasty meals -- we've tested it three times now -- that take as little as 20 minutes to cook, it's an easy pick for the best cheap meal service for 2024.

Read more: Are Some Meal Kits Cheaper Than Buying Groceries? I Did the Math

If you're looking for inexpensive vegan meals by mail or an affordable meal kit service that includes steak and seafood in the standard plan, we have picks for those, too.

The takeaway? Being budget-friendly certainly doesn't mean the food has to suck. If you're looking to eliminate a few weekly tasks -- grocery shopping, meal planning, prep, cooking -- without squeezing your budget, we tested more than 10 top wallet-friendly services to find the best cheap meal delivery for 2024.

Cheapest meal delivery services for 2024

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Showing 7 of 7 Results
Editors' choice
See at EveryPlate

Best cheap meal kits overall

EveryPlate

The bottom line: EveryPlate's meal kits were all solid and easy to make. This is also the cheapest meal kit, with plans as low as $5 a serving. EveryPlate meal kits are easy to prepare and I loved everything I made in multiple rounds of testing.

EveryPlate is the overall cheapest meal kit service, with recipes starting at $5 a serving -- sometimes less if you snag a sign-up offer. I tested EveryPlate and was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked the meals. You won't find a lot of foofy, upscale cuisine or complicated recipes, but you will get a lot of satisfying comfort food, such as hoisin meatloaf with mashed potatoes, cheeseburgers, umami pork chops and sweet potato quesadillas. 

Editors' choice
See at Fresh N' Lean

Best cheap prepared meal delivery overall

Fresh N Lean

$20 off first box with code:

Having tested all of the leading prepared meal delivery service options, Fresh N Lean ran away from the competition, ticking more boxes than any other. The food is healthy, thoughtfully prepared, tastes fantastic, looks appetizing and is fairly affordable, depending on the plan you select.

Fresh N Lean has five meal plans to help keep folks on track with their specific nutrition goals, including low-carb, vegan, paleo and protein-plus options. The food I tried was all made exceptionally well, made from simple, whole ingredients. 

See at Dinnerly

Best cheap meal kits for picky eaters

Dinnerly

The bottom line: Dinnerly has an enormous selection of easy recipes, more than 60 in a given week, and plans starting at under $6 a serving. This is the perfect service for families with picky eaters trying to eat well on a budget.

Clocking in at a comparable $5.59 a serving is Dinnerly, another great cheap meal kit. Much like EveryPlate, Dinnerly has a lot of comfort foods such as ravioli with spinach and parmesan sauce, carne asada tacos and chicken pad thai. Dinnerly has an enormous menu of recipes -- typically more than 60 to choose from in a given week.

Editors' choice
See at Mosaic Foods

Best cheap vegan meals

Mosaic Foods

The bottom line: This plant-based meal delivery service had some of the best, healthy prepared meals of any service we tried. Meals are also affordable, with some costing as little as $6 a serving.  

I sampled about nine of Mosaic Food's plant-based prepared meal offerings and the vegetarian prepared meal delivery service had an astoundingly high hit rate. Mosaic uses bold and interesting global flavors and employs creative use of meat substitutes such as tofu, jackfruit, cauliflower and vegan sausages to create tasty and satisfying vegetarian meals -- even for this omnivore. There are some vegan meals, but many of them use dairy products, so vegans must choose their Mosaic meals more carefully.

See at Blue Apron

Best cheap meal kits that include steak and seafood

Blue Apron

$110 off first 5 boxes

The bottom line: Blue Apron is a classic example of a quality meal delivery service. One of the original providers of this service, it also stands out for eco-friendliness.

Blue Apron is one of the original meal kit services and it's also one of the best. In fact, Blue Apron topped our list of best meal delivery services for 2023 with a wide range of excellent recipes, all for an affordable price. It's true, you can order bistro steaks and roasted trout dinners with Blue Apron's standard plan, where many services charge extra for those premium proteins. In addition to solid meal kits, Blue Apron is the most eco-friendly service of the major players, according to a recent study.

See at Daily Harvest

Best cheap meal delivery for breakfast and lunch

Daily Harvest

40% off first box with code:

The bottom line: For simple and healthy breakfasts and lunches with almost no fuss, Daily Harvest has loads of superfood-packed smoothies, soups, snacks and bowls to stock the fridge, many of them costing under $10.

Daily Harvest isn't a traditional meal kit company but rather sends healthy, plant-based smoothies, soups and grain bowls to your door, starting at $7 a meal. When I tried Daily Harvest, I loved the interesting smoothie combos such as a chocolate blueberry smoothie with greens, banana and almond butter. The heartier meals are great too, like the cauliflower rice and pesto harvest bowl with cashews and spinach. You won't need more than a saucepan, toaster or blender to prepare most of the meals, and most can be made in as little as 5 minutes.

See at HelloFresh

Best cheap meal kits for diet and weight loss

HelloFresh

First box ships free + 3 surprise gifts

The bottom line: It doesn't get much easier than HelloFresh. This service has tons of cheap meal kit options, more than 50 per week, and allows you to add proteins or extra servings to keep the whole crew fed and happy.

HelloFresh is a bit more per serving than EveryPlate or Dinnerly -- $9 a serving if you order meals for four -- but this budget-friendly meal delivery service affords you more recipe options and I'd contend the recipes and ingredients are of a higher caliber too. HelloFresh has as many as 25 dinner meal kits per week, so it is nearly impossible not to find something you'll like. HelloFresh also has five or six plant-based recipes a week, making it the best cheap meal kit service for vegetarians. 

Cheapest meal kits compared

ServiceRecipes per weekDiets good forAverage price per servingShipping per boxCNET rating
EveryPlate 21Vegetarian, gluten-free$5$108.8
Dinnerly 50+Vegetarian, keto, paleo, gluten-free, diabetic, pescetarian$6$107.8
Home Chef 28Keto, low-calorie, gluten-free, pescetarian$10Free on boxes over $408
HelloFresh 50+Vegetarian, keto, paleo, gluten-free, diabetic, pescetarian$9$98
Blue Apron 16Vegetarian, low-calorie, gluten-free, pescetarian$10$108.2

Cheapest prepared meal services compared

ServiceSubscription onlyMeals offeredMeals options per weekDiets good forPrice per servingShipping per boxCNET rating
Mosaic Foods YesLunch, dinner80Vegan, vegetarian$6-$12$89.2
Daily Harvest NoBreakfast, lunch, dinner100+Vegan, vegetarian, low-calorie, Whle30, paleo$7-$10Free8.8
Fresh N Lean YesBreakfast, lunch, dinner18Keto, paleo, Whole30, gluten-free Mediterannean, vegan, vegetarian, high-protein$11-$15Free over $409.2
Home Chef Oven Ready YesLunch, dinner7None$9Free on boxes over $408

How we test meal kits and meal delivery services

blue apron steak dinner

We cooked our way through dozens of meal kits from all of the most popular services.

David Watsky/CNET

Over the past few years, we've tested nearly every meal kit delivery and prepared meal delivery service we could get our oven mitts on, and that includes the best budget meal delivery services. Many of the menu options for the meal delivery services we've listed include nutritious plant-based food or high-protein recipes with lots of veggies and lean meats. 

To test each cheap meal delivery service, I tried at least four and sometimes as many as 10 meals from any given service. I always choose a range of meals from the various menu and meal plan offerings. For instance, if a meal subscription service offers vegan or vegetarian meals I was sure to try at least one. I also mixed up the cuisine types to include pasta, meat dishes, bowls and other various styles offered by the brand.

To test the best cheap meal kits, there was another set of standards and protocols to adhere to. Here's more on how we test meal kits at CNET.

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Factors to consider when choosing a meal delivery service

Cost

After you've picked between meal kits or meal delivery, you'll want to find a service within your budget. There are meal kits with recipes for as cheap as $5 a serving with basic menus and no-frills recipes. More expensive services include recipes with more exotic ingredients, high-end cuts of meat and organic produce, but can cost as much as $15 or $20 a serving. 

Meal kit or prepared meal delivery

The first big decision you'll make is whether you want meal kits, which require some prep and cooking, or a prepared meal service that sends fully cooked meals ready to heat and eat. Meal kits will demand more of your time and energy but they'll also cost a little less per serving. Prepared meals require almost no time and energy, other than what it takes to actually eat the food, but typically run a few dollars more per serving.

Healthiness

While most meal delivery services have healthy options, some are much healthier than others. If you're keen on eating low-calorie, low-carb, plant-based or pescatarian food, certain meal kits and meal delivery services are better than others. Our list of the healthiest meal delivery services for 2023 is a good place to find the most nutritious options. 

Number of meals per week

With almost every service, the more meals or servings are in your order per delivery, the cheaper it becomes per meal. Ideally, you'll want to determine exactly how much food makes sense for your household. If you can't imagine yourself cooking more than twice per week, don't order more than two meal kits because they typically won't last more than a week in the fridge. 

Most prepared meals either arrive frozen or can be frozen after unboxing. That means it's less of an issue if you order too many meals on your first go-around. Most services allow you to change the number of meals or servings in your plan even after you've started. 

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Why you should trust us

Our meal delivery experts have logged more than 5 years of cooking more than 75 meal kits and tasting more than 100 prepared meals from various services to help land on our list of the best healthy meal subscriptions in 2023. 

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Cheap meal delivery FAQs

What is the cheapest meal delivery service?

EveryPlate and Dinnerly are the cheapest meal kits with most plans clocking in at under $6 per serving. HelloFresh and Home Chef are in the next tier with portions for $7 or $8 per serving.

With family meals clocking in at $5 a serving and single meals around $9, Mosaic Foods is the cheapest prepared meal service we've tested. Fresh N Lean also has prepared meals for around $9 or $10 each, depending on how many you order. Services like Daily Harvest and Splendid Spoon have meals for similar prices but are focused more on grain bowls and smoothies and might be better for breakfast or lunch versus dinner.

What is the best meal delivery service for weight loss?

When it comes to meal kits, your options are many, and most services provide weekly recipes that are low on calories but still filling. HelloFresh has the most recipes per week of any meal kit service, so that might be your best bet for finding consistent meals that keep your diet goals on track. But all services list the calorie content for each recipe, along with carbs, protein, sugar and sodium. 

Depending on your weight loss goals, a healthy prepared meal delivery or meal kit service can help. Fresh N Lean, Pete's Real Food and Daily Harvest all have low-calorie meals to choose from. 

What's the difference between meal kits and premade meal delivery?

Some of the services listed here are healthy prepared meal delivery services, sending fully cooked meals -- often frozen or partially frozen -- and ready to eat when you receive them. Others include health-focused meal kits with premeasured ingredients all boxed up and ready for easy weeknight cooking. There's a stark difference between meal kits and meal delivery, but both make dinnertime easier and can translate into healthier eating choices for you in 2023. Plus, we sussed out the best healthy meal services for those on special diets like keto or paleo or for those who wish to eat organic prepared meals and meal kits.