Easy to prepare and cook meals
Environmentally friendly focus
Editing, selecting meals can be a bit confusing
Some meals are a bit bland
Dinnerly offers easy, affordable meals ideal for cooks on a budget, but the meals may lack flavor.
Calling itself "America's affordable meal kit,” Dinnerly creates quick and easy meals starting at $1.79 per person. It’s geared toward adults who love to cook but do not have a ton of time to prepare elaborate meals on weeknights. Dinnerly utilizes digital recipe cards, rather than printed ones, to cut down on environmental waste, and pared-down ingredients to keep meal preparation at a minimum—requiring just five steps or fewer.
With so many meal kits on the market, we were curious to see how Dinnerly’s affordable and non-fussy meals would be. We tested four meals for two adults for a week, ranging from meat to vegan options. Read on to learn more about our cooking and tasting experience.
We spent months researching, ordering, testing, eating, and writing about 40 different meal delivery services. Our testers wrote in-depth reviews and filled out detailed surveys about each company, which we used to assign an overall score to each one.
Learn More: Read Our Full Methodology
How It Works: Multiple Meal Options
Dinnerly offers two meal plans: a two-person box or a family box for four people. Both allow you to select three to six meals per week. The two-person box starts at $9.03 per portion and the family box begins at $7.13 per portion, with $11.99 shipping included for both. During the meal plan selection process, Dinnerly offers two options: a traditional plan with meat or a vegetarian option.
Once a plan is selected, you can choose from five delivery dates based on your ZIP code, and an 11-hour delivery window (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) is automatically generated. Depending on the day of the week chosen for the delivery, Dinnerly identifies the date of the first delivery.
Once signed up, Dinnerly asks you the types of recipes and foods you prefer, such as beef, pork, and shellfish; then, based on an algorithm, it selects a few meal options, which you can amend and edit.
Dinnerly offers about 100 meals per week, which can be found on its homepage navigation under “View Menu,” without having to log in or subscribe, which is a nice feature. Dietary tags are included under each recipe, which helps identify choices right off the bat. You can even preview each recipe and learn about ingredients, see what’s included in the box, and read instructions for preparing the meal, step by step.
The day before your delivery, Dinnerly sends an email summary of what’s to come with clickable recipe cards and guidelines for when you should cook and eat your meals. For example, Dinnerly suggests that you enjoy all seafood dishes within one to two days of delivery; meat within two to three days; and vegetable dishes within three to five days. We found this guidance to be helpful as we planned our meals and cooking for the week.
Choosing Meals: Mostly Straightforward
When it comes to meal selection, Dinnerly has about 100 meals each week and a few extras, such as cookies, muffins, and some additional protein combinations like chicken breasts and grass-fed ground beef, and pulled pork and chicken strips. However, it’s important to note that if you want the extra protein or the dessert, you must include it as part of your meal choices. For instance, if you select the five meals per week plan, you’d have to select the additional protein option as one of your five meals. Dinnerly does not offer add-ons for an additional cost.
The meals are more focused on dinner, but they can be used for lunch. Dinnerly offers limited breakfast and dessert options and occasionally will include snacks or specials to align with particular holidays, such as Thanksgiving or Mother’s Day. It does not offer ingredient omissions; so if you have an allergy, you must consult the company's allergen list and select a different recipe.
After signing up, Dinnerly asks you what kind of recipes or dishes you prefer, such as vegetarian, beef, lamb, shellfish, or an option of “I’ll eat anything". Dinnerly asks you to rate your preferences on recipe styles using a sliding toolbar: quick or relaxed; traditional or adventurous; hearty or light; and mild or spicy. If you’re not in love with the choices, you can click on “Edit Recipes” at the bottom of the page and select from the recipes and other specials offered for that week. At the top of the page, a banner reminds you of how many days you have to make changes to your meal selection and the day of delivery.
Recipes are organized by links at the top of the page to sort: All, Healthy, Vegetarian, Family Friendly, Fast, and Special. When using the Dinnerly app, you can filter recipes by All, Fish, Meat, and Veggie, and even drill down further with taste profiles or dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free, low carb, under 30 minutes, and spicy.
When editing recipe choices for the week, it’s a little tricky as you can only select the exact number of meals you’re signed up for, and the meals that are selected are highlighted very faintly. Each recipe icon has a plus and minus feature below it, so you can use that tool to deselect or select which recipes you want, but we found ourselves scrolling up and down quite a bit as we adjusted our five choices.
When choosing your recipes, you can click on the recipe icon to see an introduction about the dish, the creator of the dish (with a link to their mini bio page), serving time, level of difficulty to prepare, nutritional values, allergens, ingredients, and a list of any household items and utensils that you will need when cooking. The instructions are also provided in a simple numbered graphic format, which allows you to prepare and understand the meals in advance.
What We Made
Dinnerly offered a bevy of cuisine choices for our week, including American, Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexcian, Middle Eastern-inspired dishes, as well as family-friendly and lots of vegetarian options. We selected a variety of cuisines and tried meat, vegan, and seafood dishes:
- BBQ Cheeseburger with Sautéed Onions & Smashed Potatoes
- Low-Cal Veggie Drunken Noodles with Broccoli, Peppers & Cilantro
- Grass-Fed Ground Beef & Cheddar Quesadillas with Corn
- Caramel Chicken Stir-Fry with Snow Peas & Jasmine Rice
Support Materials: Digital Only
In an effort to lower its carbon footprint, Dinnerly does not include printed recipe cards. Rather, all recipes can be found on the Dinnerly app and in your online account. The company's website provides downloadable PDF recipe cards to print if you prefer to have a paper version.
Dinnerly remains very conscious of the environment and has a page on its website dedicated to recycling delivery materials. Dinnerly’s cardboard box contained 31 pieces of packaging in total. Most of the ingredients were in plastic packages that could be recycled at a specialized facility (27 in total).
Dinnerly remains very conscious of the environment and has a page on its website dedicated to recycling delivery materials.
There was a plain piece of cardboard separating the vegetables and dry goods from the chilled proteins , which was eligible for curbside recycling. At the bottom of the box was a Fidelity Freeze ice pack, which gave instructions on how to empty contents and recycle the outer packaging.
The Cooking Process: Clear and Simple
Even though we knew Dinnerly did not include printed recipe cards, it did seem a bit overwhelming to open up a box full of ingredients and not have a sense of organization as we put our items away, so having your computer or the app nearby is helpful when it comes to unpacking and making a plan for your meals.
The recipe instructions are pretty clear—they show small photos of each ingredient included and a list of household items you need, such as olive oil and salt, and basic cookware like baking sheets and saucepans. The instructions are listed in just five steps with a sixth “extra credit” note for more ways to enjoy the dish. There are standard numerical graphics for each step, so don’t plan on seeing unique, step-by-step photography for your recipe preparation.
We found the cooking process very smooth and simple to comprehend, making this a great meal service for novice cooks or people who don’t want to fuss, though overall we found many of the recipes to be a bit bland and in need of more seasoning.
Dinnerly prides itself on creating quick and easy weeknight meals, and we found that all of our meals matched the approximated cooking time. Most meals were ready in 30 minutes or less.
Basic information such as calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates are clearly labeled on each recipe page with helpful tags and allergens. We weren’t able to find cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fat info, and when we inquired with the chat bot, they weren’t able to assist. Dinnerly has a lot of vegetarian options and offers meals that are gluten-free, low carb, dairy-free, and low calorie.
Dinnerly Is Good For
Dinnerly is good for quick and easy weeknight meals for families or adults without a lot of fuss or clean up, People who like to have a physical recipe in front of them when cooking (hello, greasy hands) or who love to eat more balanced meals with lots of fiber from vegetables or fruit may not enjoy this service as much.
Dinnerly does not offer add-ons at the moment, but customer service told us it is working on “developing a more user-friendly and tailor-based platform” for the future.
Customer Service: Several Avenues
Dinnerly’s customer service includes email, an online submission form, chat bot, phone, and an FAQ section, organized by account management, payments, delivery, and vouchers for friends and family.
The day before your delivery, Dinnerly sends an email summary of what’s to come with clickable recipe cards and guidelines for when you should cook and eat your meals.
We found the chat bot hard to use and ended up reaching out via Dinnerly's submission form and direct email. The submission form response took well over the advertised 72 hours, but we received a direct email response within 24 hours. We also called Dinnerly's phone number and were connected with an agent immediately. The customer service agents are very polite, but we did receive conflicting emailed responses to our question regarding the protein combination add-ons; we had better luck calling by phone.
Making Changes and Canceling: Very Easy
Changes to your subscription, such as delivery date, meal plan type, and pausing and canceling your account can be done under the Settings tab. You can pause on a particular date or decide to cancel without having to reach out to customer service. When canceling, Dinnerly will prompt you to answer a few questions before you officially stop your subscription. If you do cancel, Dinnerly will send a follow-up email, providing contact details for its chief customer officer, in case you wish to reach out with feedback.
In terms of making other changes, if an order is in progress, you cannot skip that particular order. You can also make changes to your recipes up until five to seven days before the box ships and pause your subscription up to six days before the upcoming box ships.
Making changes to your taste profile or food preferences can be done as well, but you will have to wait until the following week if your order is in process.
We liked the price, simplicity, ease of making the meals, and efficient cleanup involved with Dinnerly. Some of the recipes we tried lacked flavor or excitement, but the service seems to prioritize making its meals affordable—an effort we support.
Our testers ordered from, cooked, and rated 40 different meal delivery services. We carefully scored each one based on meal selection, nutritional information, sustainability, and customer service, as well as the flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient. Our Spruce Eats tester panel includes dietitians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.
- Product Name Dinnerly
- Starting Price $4.99 per serving
- Delivery Area 48 states
- Products Arrive Fresh
- Customers Can Choose Delivery Date? Yes
- Free Shipping? No