Gobble's 15 Minute Meal Kits Are a Beautiful Thing on a Busy Day
Meal kits that require less actual cooking with precooked meats and prechopped veggies. We cooked a week of Gobble recipes to see how the speedy service holds up in 2023.
Updated Oct. 31, 2023 10:40 a.m. PT
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David WatskySenior 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.
ExpertiseKitchen tools, appliances, food science, subscriptions and meal kits.
Most continental US states except MT. Limited availability in KS, NM, and NE
Number of Meal Options per Week
Menu Options/ Diet Types
Meat, fish, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free
Taste/results8/10Value7/10Ease of recipes8/10Recipe variety8/10Healthiness8/10
Many ingredients are prepped or precooked for faster execution
Meals were mostly great and take less than 20 minutes to Good steak and seafood options
Expensive unless you order a lot of servings
Some produce wasn't the freshest
I'm a bona fide meal kit enthusiast who's cooked his way through the best of them. Gobble caught my attention with claims of 15-minute kits that taste as good as any other. Meal kit services like Blue Apron are helpful for those who want to cook but don't care to spend hours each week meticulously planning meals, making grocery lists and shopping but there's still a fair amount of cooking. For those who don't want to cook at all, prepared meal services such as Fresh N Lean and Mosaic Foods are two favorites that need only heating and eating.
But then there are those of us who like the idea of homecooked meals but really don't care to spend all that time in the kitchen, mincing, mashing, prepping -- ya know, cooking. Gobble meal kits are the fastest in the business and the convenient service is somewhere between meal kits and prepared meals with key elements of each recipe having already been completed or cooked by the time they reach your hands. But homecooked meals in under 20 minutes still sounds a little too good to be true, so I chose six Gobble recipes to cook myself and find out.
For all the bragging rights of homecooked dinner with about half the effort, Gobble earns big points on my scorecard after two weeks of testing, but the bloated price for the smaller meal plans keeps it off CNET's best list. Here's everything you need to know about Gobble including pricing, menu options, who it's good for and my final verdict on the meal delivery subscription.
How Gobble works
Gobble works much like most others in the category. There are three plans to choose from classic which includes the full menu of more than 15 recipes or Lean & Clean, which filters your options to only meals with 600 or fewer calories per serving, more lean protein and no grains. No matter which you choose, you can still select meals from the full plans for no extra charge so don't labor over this decision for long. The only other choices you have to make are whether you'd like meals for two or four people, and how many recipes per week, three or four. It's worth noting that some other meal services allow you to order only two recipes per week.
When it's time to choose meals, Gobble makes it easy. You'll have a dozen or so standard recipes but have the option to level up with one of two premium meals or add sides, breakfast meals or soups for an additional charge. For this test, I stuck to the standard recipes included in my plan.
Your box filled with everything you need to make your chosen recipes (except for cooking oil and salt and pepper) is delivered once a week -- unless you cancel or skip a week, which is easy to do. You'll also choose either a Wednesday or Thursday delivery. it should arrive between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
How much does Gobble cost?
Gobble meal kits have seen a big increase in the past few years and meal plans for two people now cost between $12 and $17 a meal, plus shipping, depending on how many you order. Plans with meals that have four servings are more affordable at about $12 per serving, plus shipping. Shipping is an extra $7 on every order.
To look at it another way, four meal kits per week that have enough to feed two people (eight servings total) will cost you about $110 a week (price includes shipping). Not totally outrageous, but you can definitely cook eight servings from scratch for much less money than that.
Recipes per week
*Meals for 2
*Meals for 4
*Price per serving
What Gobble meals are like
Most of Gobble's meals are healthy with a protein, vegetable or salad and a starch of some sort. There are several pasta dishes, burgers and other comfort recipes if calorie counting isn't your thing or you want to splurge on occasion. Most of the dishes borrow inspiration from some global cuisine with a lot of Thai-inspired recipes but also Japanese, South and Central American and Italian fare. There are typically one or two seafood (mostly salmon or shrimp) recipes and about four meatless options each week.
Most meals are customizable which means you can swap equal proteins for free as in shrimp for chicken or upgrade to a premium protein as in from chicken to a cobia filet or prime steak. You can also go from non-organic meat to organic. These upgrades cost a few dollars and vary depending on the exact swap you're making.
Many Gobble meal kits really do take only 15 minutes to make
These meal kits are easy to prepare. While some take longer than the 15 minutes promised, none of the six I made took any longer than 25 minutes and they don't require any laborious prep. Of the six, three of them took significantly less than 20 minutes and that proved to be a big boon on a busy night. Whenever Gobble can take a step out of the equation such as dicing carrots or shredding cabbage, it does. Of all the services I've tried, Gobble's meal kits were easily some of the easiest and fastest, overall.
What I made and how it went
Pan-roasted vegetables over seared polenta cakes: I love a meal kit that's out of the ordinary and easy to prepare. I probably wouldn't have thought to make this. The sauce was premade and polenta cakes only required searing, which meant this meal was on my table in well under 20 minutes.
Pulled pork tacos with red cabbage slaw: Since the pulled pork came precooked, this was another meal that took almost no time to make. I had juicy pork tacos for me and a friend ready in about 15 minutes.
Seared steak with bearnaise sauce, garlic snap peas and sous vide potatoes: This recipe took the longest of the three but since it included potatoes that were already cooked and a premade bearnaise sauce, it was still a breeze to make. All that had to be done was sear the steaks and saute the peas with a heavenly jar of garlic confit.
Cilantro pesto salmon with cauliflower couscous: This was tasty and quick to make. The pesto had great flavor although the sides needed a good hit of salt and pepper. The salmon was fresh both in smell and taste.
Sweet chili shrimp with coconut rice and Thai slaw: I wanted to love this one and it wasn't terrible but the sauce was heavy with way too much mayo. I wish I hadn't used the whole package of sauce. But I did, and there was really no going back.
Vegetarian tofu noodle bowl with peanut sauce: A tasty meal and one I threw together in under 20 minutes. The tofu was super tender and the flavors all worked wonderfully. A nice easy Thai takeout-style dinner.
What makes Gobble different from other meal kit services?
Gobble meals are easy to execute, many can be done in as little as 20 minutes and none take longer than 30 minutes, in my experience. But just because they're fast doesn't mean they're basic: They can include interesting global dishes like pad Thai, Peruvian steak with Aji Verde and Japanese bento bowls.
Who is Gobble good for?
If you want speedy meals that don't taste like they were quick-fire, then this is a good service. Many of Gobble's meals take just 20 minutes to prepare but don't taste like it. Because you can customize a lot of the meal kits it's also a solid choice for picky eaters or folks with kids. Gobble also has a lot of seafood options -- as many as five per week -- which is great for someone trying to introduce more healthy fish recipes in their dinner routine.
Because the large meal plans are much less expensive, this could also be a good option for singles or couples looking to meal plan or consistently have leftovers for lunch the next day.
Who is Gobble not so good for?
Because you have to choose at least three meals a week, this is not a good option for someone who can't commit to cooking most nights. There are also just three plant-based offerings per week so I wouldn't recommend this service for vegans or vegetarians (see these better plant-based options). It's on the expensive side so this is also not a great meal service for people on a budget (see out list of the cheapest meal delivery services).
Gobble support materials
The recipes were all clear and concise with glossy images of both the finished product and some of the keys step along the way. There was also a clear list of what cookware and tools to have handy as well as detailed nutritional information for each recipe.
Changing, skipping or canceling your meal kits
Between the website interface and a mobile app, Gobble spoon makes it easy to skip weeks, change out recipes or pause your subscription. The deadline to skip or customize your Gobble box is Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. the week before your meals are scheduled to arrive.
The final verdict on Gobble
I was skeptical when I read Gobble's promise of satisfying homemade meals in 15 minutes but the speedy meal kit service delivered. Most of what I made took less than 20 minutes with much of the most labor-intensive work having been completed before the box arrived at my door. All six recipes I made were more than satisfactory.
On the flipside, my Gobble kits came with the occasional piece of produce that seemed past its prime. A package of green snap peas could have been greener, for instance, but they still had plenty of snap. Gobble is also expensive unless you order meals for four. That makes it a better pick for families but not such a good one for singles or couples.
If your goal is to make more meals at home but spend less time on the making part, Gobble will give you all the glory and bragging rights of a serial home cook with around half the effort. Seriously, some of these meal kits were ready in what felt like no time at all and with very little mess to clean up after. To sweeten the deal, Gobble offers a rock-bottom new subscriber deal -- the first six meals for $36
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.