Chinese Balloon Shot Down Galaxy S23 Ultra: Hands-On Netflix Password-Sharing Crackdown Super Bowl Ads Google's Answer to ChatGPT 'Knock at the Cabin' Review 'The Last of Us' Episode 4 Foods for Mental Health
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you
Accept
Why You Can Trust CNET
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

Want to Get Groceries Delivered? We Found the Cheapest Option

We did the math to compare how much it costs to get groceries from Amazon Fresh, Target or Walmart delivered to your door.

grocery bag in front of door
We scoured the web to find the absolute cheapest place to order groceries online in 2023.
encrier/Getty

Nope, you're not imagining those bloated grocery store prices. Eggs are up nearly 60% from last year, although that's mostly due to an outbreak of avian flu. Even so, the majority of grocery prices have remained stubbornly high despite inflation cooling in many other consumer categories. So where can you find cheap eggs, produce, meat, cheese and other staples? You might consider an online grocery delivery service and save yourself a bit of time and gas while you're at it. 

We Do the Math badge

If you prefer to pick your peppers in person, we did some prior math to find out how much you can save shopping at Trader Joe's or Costco. But if you'd rather stay home and let the groceries come to you, there are excellent budget-friendly grocery services available online. To find the cheapest online grocery service, I analyzed a shopping list from Amazon Fresh, Target and Walmart, three of the largest US retailers with grocery delivery available to most ZIP codes. 

After we tallied a typical grocery list from all three, Walmart grabbed the top spot as the cheapest place to buy groceries online -- about 10% cheaper than Target and 18% cheaper than Amazon Fresh. (And just a note: On Feb. 28, Amazon Fresh will start charging a service fee on orders under $150 even for Prime members, raising the total price even more.)

Read on for a full breakdown of online grocery costs at Walmart, Target and Amazon Fresh including how I got these numbers.

Amazon, Target and Walmart compared


Walmart Target Amazon Fresh
Total before extras $137.10 $153.34 $165.66
Monthly membership fee $13.00 $11.00 $15.00
Total: $150.10 $164.34 $180.66

What is the cheapest store to buy groceries online?

walmart-plus
Walmart

Walmart is well-known for having some of the lowest prices of any national retail chain. In this analysis of the cheapest online grocery delivery operations, its budget-friendly reputation held up. Walmart pretty much swept the field with the lowest total cost in every grocery subcategory except one -- pantry staples -- for which Target has the lowest total by about $2. Many of Walmart's cheapest items come courtesy of its in-house brand, Great Value. Target has an in-house brand of its own called Good & Gather, while Amazon sports a number of generic brands including Amazon-branded groceries along with Happy Belly and 365 by Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon.

How I found the cheapest grocery delivery services

To find the cost of buying groceries online at these three retailers, I first generated a list of 37 popular grocery items -- some name brands, some generic -- on the same day and in every grocery category including bread, snacks, dairy, produce, meat, fish, beverages and pantry staples. I mostly avoided specialty items and organic ingredients for this exercise. For each product, I chose the cheapest available option from all three retailers: Amazon Fresh, Target and Walmart.

If an item wasn't available at one retailer, I selected the next closest thing, since that's what a shopper would likely do. In some cases, a product was only available in a larger or smaller size. In those instances, I prorated the amount and price to ensure it was an even cost comparison.

Cheapest online grocery delivery services


Walmart Target (Shipt) Amazon Fresh
Eggs/dairy:


Brown eggs (12) $4.87 $5.19 $2.98
2% milk (1 gallon) $3.08 $3.89 $4.39
Almond milk (1/2 gallon) $2.44 $2.99 $4.00
Block Cabot cheddar cheese (8 oz.) $2.98 $3.19 $4.29
Plain yogurt (32 oz.) $2.36 $3.79 $3.29
Subtotal: $15.73 $19.05 $18.95




Bread and snacks:


Loaf of 7-grain bread $2.38 $3.99 $4.00
Thomas' English muffins (pack of 6) $3.48 $3.49 $4.69
Club crackers (13.7 oz.) $3.38 $3.99 $4.79
Subtotal: $9.24 $11.47 $13.48




Produce:


Broccoli head (1 lb.) $1.38 $4.11* $1.99
One pound bag red potatoes (1 lb.) $1.18 $1.30 $1.00
Package of mixed greens (5 oz.) $2.98 $3.69 $4.14
Hass avocado (1) $0.88 $0.99 $0.99
Bag of carrots (1 lb.) $1.24 $1.29 $1.00
Bag of yellow onions (1 lb.) $1.05 $1.30 $0.93
Subtotal: $8.71 $12.68 $10.05




Pantry:


Bottle of Heinz Ketchup (32 oz.) $4.28 $4.99 $4.28
Jar Hellman's Mayo (20 oz.) $5.48 $6.29 $7.49
White rice (2 lb.) $1.62 $0.95 $1.99
Chicken stock (32 oz.) $1.33 $1.99 $2.79
Ground Starbucks coffee (12 oz.) $14.92 $10 $8.90
Peanut butter (16 oz.) $1.84 $1.69 $3.19
Seltzer (8) $3.28 $3.99 $4.49
Barilla penne pasta (16 oz.) $1.84 $2.19 $1.99
Prego pasta sauce (24 oz.) $2.24 $2.89 $3.69
Canned dog food (12.5 oz.) $1.88 $1.79 $1.67
Subtotal: $38.71 $36.77 $40.48




Snacks:


Box of Cheerios (18 oz.) $4.78 $5.49 $4.78
Bag of cape cod potato chips (8 oz.) $3.68 $3.99 $4.59
Corn chips (11 oz.) $2.48 $2.29 $2.49
Chewy granola bars (box of 8) $2.44 $2.99 $3.98
Breyer's ice cream (1 quart) $4.97 $5.79 $5.99
Simply Orange juice (52 oz.) $3.98 $4.59* $5.29
Subtotal: $22.33 $25.14 $27.12




Meats/fish:


Ground beef (1 lb.) $3.98 $6.29* $4.66
Atlantic salmon (1 lb.) $10.98 $10* $12.00
Bone-in chicken (3 lb.) $3.96 $5.07 $6.96
Organic chicken breast (1 lb.) $6.68 7.49* $13.79
Bacon (16 oz) $4.24 $4.89 $5.99
Plant-based beef (1 lb.) $7.96 $9* $6.79
Morningstar Veggie burgers (4 pack) $4.58 $5.49 $5.39
Subtotal: $42.38 $48.23 $55.58




Total before extras: $137.10 $153.34 $165.66
Monthly membership fee: $13.00 $11.00 $15.00
Total: $150.10 $164.34 $180.66




*Denotes item not available for shipping


Why I chose these online grocery services

amazon fresh pickup grocery shopping

Amazon Fresh offers free delivery for members or in-store pickup, depending on your location.

James Martin/CNET

While there are other places to order groceries online, Amazon Fresh, Target (via Shipt) and Walmart are three of the most popular US grocers with a national presence and the option for online delivery. Other discount grocery chains like Costco and Aldi can be delivered using third-party apps such as Instacart, but Instacart marks groceries up about 10% so it's not typically going to be your best budget option. (That said, shopping in bulk and in person at Costco can save you as much as $1,000 over the course of the year, potentially more if you become a Costco Executive member.)

How much is unlimited delivery for Amazon Fresh, Walmart Plus and Target?

All three retailers offer cost-effective monthly memberships that include unlimited free deliveries on orders of about $35 or more. Amazon Prime is $15 per month and includes free delivery for all Amazon products as well as Amazon Prime Video and some other perks (however, that price will go up soon). Walmart Plus is $13 per month or $98 for the year for unlimited free deliveries. Target's Shipt is the cheapest of three memberships at $11 a month with no minimum delivery total to hit. All three offer free in-store pickup in some form, although Amazon has fewer locations than Walmart and Target.

Target doesn't deliver all types of groceries

shipt shopper in produce aisle

Target-owned Shipt will send groceries to your door in a matter of hours but there are some staples, including meat, not available for delivery.

Shipt

While I tried to use only items that were available for delivery, it wasn't always possible. Target and its national shipping partner Shipt don't have every grocery staple available for shipping, particularly fresh meats and some produce. If you want to shop for your full list of groceries at Target, you're likely going to have to visit a brick-and-mortar location.

Are online grocery prices cheaper than at the store?

In general, Walmart and Target offer the same prices online as they do in brick-and-mortar locations, but not always. Sales items, in particular, are not always coordinated between online and in-store. Amazon Fresh is mostly online-only save for a few locations, although many products on Amazon Fresh can also be found at Whole Foods. 

hungryroot box of groceries

Hungryroot is a cross between a grocery delivery service and meal kit company and encourages you to go rogue from the recipe.

Hungryroot

Other options for grocery delivery

Instacart is a popular national delivery service and functions as a third-party shopper and delivery outfit that allows you to order groceries from a selection of local supermarkets. You'll essentially be paying the same prices as if you visited the store yourself, plus a $4 delivery fee and tip. 

Fresh Direct is another popular grocery delivery service and one of my favorites. It's currently only available in the Northeast. The prices here are a bit higher than the three retailers I analyzed above, but the grocery selection and customer service are both excellent. 

Hungryroot is a quirky grocery delivery operation that functions differently than the others. With a subscription, you'll get weekly deliveries of curated groceries based on your preferences and eating habits. Hungryroot also populates recipe ideas when ordering and will send you the ingredients to make them if you so choose. 

Thrive Market is yet another members-only grocery service. Thrive has lots of high-quality and organic meats but no produce or dairy products. 

Boxed.com is a good place to find dry goods, pantry items and paper products at low prices but it's not a full substitute for a grocery store since it lacks the fresh foods you would typically buy at a market. 

If you don't mind getting your various groceries from different vendors, we've tested to find the best produce delivery servicesbest meat delivery services and even the best online fish and seafood markets for 2023.