There are meal kits for every taste, diet and budget, including affordable meal kits that are about the same price as if you'd bought the groceries yourself. Don't believe me? Well,. While a handful of services land in the budget-friendly category, takes the top (bottom?) spot as the cheapest meal kit service in 2022. We love a deal here at CNET, but not at the expense of quality, so I put the most wallet-friendly meal kit in 2022 to the ultimate test. A taste test, of course.
From an initial look at the menu, it's clear that EveryPlate focuses on comfort food with a healthy twist and it comes at an even more comforting price. EveryPlate costs just under $6 per serving and just $5 per serving if you order a meal plan with recipes for four. And if you're looking to try it for the very first time, you can get your first few deliveries for just $2 per serving. Other meal kit services cost as much as $13 per serving, so we're talking a big difference.
With a price that seemed too good to be true I had to try the service for myself. It turns out that EveryPlate isn't just budget-friendly, but also delicious, easy, fresh and satisfying. It's the best budget meal kit service I've yet to try and the one I'd recommend for anyone seeking an inexpensive meal kit service to help lighten your weekly cooking load.
Here's a full breakdown of how my week of EveryPlate meal kits went and what you can expect if you sign up.
- Simple, unpretentious meals at the lowest price per serving in the category
- You can swap proteins and sides if you want
- Uses less packaging than other meal kit companies
- Not as many plant-based or healthy options as other meal kit companies
- The box of ingredients was a little disorganized
- $9 for shipping
How EveryPlate works
EveryPlate is an offshoot of Green Chef, which was recently acquired by HelloFresh, for anyone who's keeping track. While Green Chef offers a more gourmet approach to preprepped and portioned recipes, EveryPlate aims to be the most affordable meal kit service and has seemingly succeeded.
Signing up for EveryPlate is simple: You simply plunk in an address and contact information and then select a plan and payment option. For plans, you can choose either three, four or five meals per week with either two or four servings per meal. The price per serving stays the same no matter which plan you choose, so there is never any is-this-a-better-deal calculus to perform. Just order what you think you'll need.
Next comes the fun part: You pick meal kits from a menu of roughly 13-16 recipes. The meals change weekly with favorites popping back into the rotation often. There is loads of information available about each one including calories, nutrition and the time it takes to make. You can also substitute proteins and side dishes on most EveryPlate meal kits just in case you absolutely loathe green beans or have had way too much chicken lately. You can even view the next two weekly menus in advance.
Shipping and delivery
EveryPlate delivers to most of the continental US with boxes arriving on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays (your choice). Meal kit deliveries come sealed with large ice packs and are meant to stay cold for up to 48 hours, just in case you're not home to receive them on a particular day.
What are EveryPlate meals like?
EveryPlate is big on comfort food. On any given weekly menu you'll find options for meatloaf, pork chops, chicken pot pie, tacos and pasta recipes. Sides are equally hearty, including lots of mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, white rice and noodles. There are a few -- but not many -- plant-based options per week, and you won't find many trendy ingredients or superfoods in EveryPlate meal kits. The recipes were all mostly familiar to me, although the culinary team will mix things up with a hoisin (Japanese BBQ sauce) glaze on an otherwise traditional meatloaf or a sweet apricot and Dijon sauce to liven up a chicken dish.
EveryPlate has only a few seafood or steak options (one or two per week) and most of the ones available are considered "premium" and cost an extra $3 per serving. There are really only lunch and dinner meal kits and no breakfast or snack options, although you can select a protein pack of chicken breasts and ground beef for meal-planning purposes.
How easy are EveryPlate meal kits to prepare?
Of the meal kit services I've tried, EveryPlate meals are some of the easiest to prepare. The most complicated recipe I made was meatloaf and even that took just 30 minutes. There are very few, if any, overly complicated recipes that require advanced skills or fancy kitchen equipment, making EveryPlate a good option for new or amateur cooks.
EveryPlate support materials
Each meal kit comes with a comprehensive recipe card fit with glossy images and directions to help you through the cooking process. Each card also clearly states what you'll need that isn't provided -- cooking oil, butter, ketchup -- so you're not caught flat-footed without. If you've chosen to swap a side or protein, there are little addendums up in the corner to address any slight changes to the recipe. For example, "Did you choose chicken instead of pork? Follow the recipe as written but in step 4, simply cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side."
What makes EveryPlate different from other meal kit services?
Besides being the cheapest meal kit service, which is EveryPlate's biggest differentiator, it is also one of the simplest and most straightforward. There aren't a lot of decisions to make, starting with the meal kit plan itself. There are also only 15 or so menu selections every week which, for me, is enough to find new and interesting recipes without feeling overwhelmed the way I did with other services I've tried.
Who is EveryPlate good for?
EveryPlate is perfect for anyone looking for a boost to their cooking routine, learn to cook or inject some new recipes into their rotation without breaking the bank. Busy people, too, since it's also a time-saver, eliminating trips to the store as well as time spent ruminating over what to make. If you like comfort foods and carbs, EveryPlate has them in spades but there are a few healthier options, too.
Who EveryPlate meal kits are not so good for
EveryPlate recipes are on the simple side so I wouldn't recommend it for very experienced chefs looking to further hone their skills. There are also fewer "healthy" options and even fewer plant-based meals on EveryPlate, so I also wouldn't recommend this meal kit service for vegans and vegetarians. As a way to keep prices low, EveryPlate doesn't cater to diet plans either such as keto, paleo or low-sugar.
How much does EveryPlate meal kit service cost?
EveryPlate is $5 a serving if you choose meal kits for four and closer to $6 a serving if you only order recipes for two. By my count, it is the cheapest meal kit company available and it's even cheaper when you bag a special promotion like the one running now (just $2 per serving). Keep in mind, "Premium" meals like salmon and steak do incur an upcharge of $3 per serving and each box costs $9 to ship.
What I cooked and how it went
Hoisin pork meatloaves with wasabi mashed potatoes: This was my favorite of the meals I cooked. It was simple to make but interesting and also very satisfying. Putting wasabi in mashed potatoes is definitely my new default.
Sweet potato and pepper quesadilla with fresh salsa and chipotle sour cream: This was a perfect hearty lunch, especially when you feel like you've been eating too much meat. The fresh salsa made it for me and I'll put sour cream on anything.
Spicy umami pork chops with ginger rice and roasted carrots: Another very simple-yet-flavorful dinner. The hoisin and ponzu made good on the promise of umami and the fresh ginger made the rice really pop.
EveryPlate packaging and environmental friendliness
EveryPlate is the most eco-friendly meal kit service I've tried, to date. The company puts all your produce and other ingredients in one cardboard box, whereas others individually package each meal creating more plastic and waste. Most of the packaging, including the cooler box and ice packs, are also curbside-recyclable.
My final verdict on EveryPlate
As someone who reviews meal kits for a living, I often feel like I'm splitting hairs trying to find the nuance but with this one the distinction was very clear: EveryPlate is the most affordable meal kit service but still delivered very enjoyable recipes that were both interesting and satisfying.
While EveryPlate turns down the gourmet dial just slightly, the meals I tried were all very solid and didn't look or taste "budget." At just five bucks a serving, I also felt like I was getting a genuinely great deal, and that's probably because I was. If you've never tried a meal kit before and want to see if it's a good fit, I would absolutely recommend EveryPlate. (In fact, I just recommended it to my sister and her family over Thanksgiving). EveryPlate is low-cost, low-risk and fully delicious.
Even more on meal delivery
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.