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We took on two of the most budget-friendly meal kits to find out which was worth the money. Coming up with a winner between Dinnerly and EveryPlate was not easy as they’re nearly an even match in almost every category.
While neither would truly please the adventurous eater, ultimately we found Dinnerly would be the better choice for those looking for dietary accommodations and variety, especially if you’re willing to doctor up the recipes on flavor. Read on to find out more about why we chose Dinnerly and what EveryPlate has to offer.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Price
At its least expensive, Dinnerly comes in at $4.69 per serving, but you can only unlock this price if you’re buying the maximum number of meals offered per week at six nights for four servings. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re purchasing the minimum, you’ll get two servings for three nights per week at $5.89 per portion.
EveryPlate is a steady $4.99 per serving regardless of the quantity—you can order for two or four, and three to five meals per week. While this isn’t standard among meal kits, it is a nice option that ordering less isn’t necessarily a disadvantage price-wise.
Both kits charge $8.99 for shipping, which is partly what helps keep the cost per meal down.
While shipping costs may be equivalent, you’re only getting a better overall deal from Dinnerly if you order for four servings, at five or six meals per week. If you’re ordering less, EveryPlate is the less expensive choice.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Meal Choices
Both Dinnerly and EveryPlate have similar approaches to their base offerings in terms of quantity and variety in their menu mix. Neither company has a real advantage here, though they do have some differences worth considering, especially if you desire a bit of customization or add-ons.
EveryPlate offers 14 meals to choose from each week, plus two standard protein packs of chicken or chicken plus steak. Dinnerly has 16 meal choices per week, plus protein variety packs that include beef, pork, and chicken. However, for those looking to eat vegetarian, Dinnerly does cater to this group a bit better with five meal choices per week compared to EveryPlate’s two or three.
Menu options are very similar across both meal kits as well; both companies don’t stray too far from the protein-and-a-side formula. Both kits feature hearty recipes like burgers, pasta, and some rice-based dishes.
Neither offers much variety across ingredients either, so you’ll see a lot of inexpensive vegetables used over and over. Week to week it seems like similar combinations of flavors make up the menus, just with slight variations on a theme. Dishes also take a similar amount of time to prepare—generally between 20 and 40 minutes—and nothing out of the ordinary seems required for prep.
The only real distinction between the companies in their menu offerings is in customizations and add-ons, and this is fairly weak on both sides. While EveryPlate offers no add-ons besides the protein pack, you can customize certain weekly meals by swapping the vegetables or the proteins for an added price. Dinnerly, on the other hand, has absolutely no customization, but it does give you one breakfast and one dessert each week if you want to add on.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Creativity of Dishes
Dinnerly and EveryPlate both offer meals for mass appeal that likely wouldn’t scare off the picky eater. Unfortunately, neither kit is winning any awards for variety and least of all for authenticity, but with slightly more variety and creativity, we’re giving the upper hand to Dinnerly.
Both kits also seem to be writing menus from a similar playbook, staying inside the box of comfort food flavors. Most meals for both companies offer a “meat and side” situation, with a sauce or dressing to jazz it up. You’ll see a lot of repeated starches in the form of pasta, grains, potatoes, or a burger bun, as well as repeated vegetables that are likely chosen for their price point. Broccoli, green beans, carrots, and cucumbers are all on the menus nearly every week, with specialty vegetables like cauliflower occasionally thrown in.
As noted, Dinnerly may have a few more options in the category of vegetarian items, with a bit more thought given to these. But aside from that, we consider both the creativity of the menus and the variety across them to be very similar.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Flavor, Freshness, and Quality
Neither company wowed us with flavor in everything we tried, but overall we did think EveryPlate was slightly superior and didn't need as much extra seasoning to boost flavor. Perhaps that's because the company's chefs are pulling on recipes from its owner HelloFresh, but several of the dishes we had from EveryPlate were quite tasty, and while we didn’t love some of the gloppy sauces or overuse of certain spices, we couldn’t say they were lacking in flavor.
Dinnerly, on the other hand, had some dishes that were tasty, but others definitely had an issue. It felt like flavor was sometimes sacrificed for ease of preparation, and we would have been happy to add a 5-minute step here or there if it meant a more satisfying meal in the end.
Freshness and quality were also fairly equivalent across the board with neither company standing out. We would consider both to be “fair” but not great. However, we did have one particular issue with Dinnerly that didn’t come up with EveryPlate—low-quality, pre-cooked meats.
Dinnerly offers a few “no-prep” meals, which means you simply open packages and assemble. While this may seem like a good idea, in theory, the presence of pre-cooked meats was not something we enjoyed or would repeat. The texture and flavor left a lot to be desired and ultimately made us not want to eat that dish. Thus, EveryPlate won this category.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Recipe Clarity/Difficulty
Dinnerly boasts that it will give you dinner in five steps or less, while EveryPlate claims a maximum of six steps. The difference here is basically irrelevant—both kits provide a similar level of instructions, ingredients, and equipment that are appropriate for all levels.
While both kits provide clear and easy-to-follow recipes, neither goes above and beyond to teach techniques or skills. However, if you’re looking for ease, Dinnerly does include some recipes each week that are marked as “no-prep,” which is the bare minimum of effort—no cooking or chopping—and would be appropriate for first-time cooks. However, it doesn’t mean these recipes are easier to follow or simpler in general.
If you’re ordering less, EveryPlate is the less expensive choice.
Both kits will also expect you to have a certain level of pantry and fridge staples available for use, such as milk, flour, butter, hot sauce, and vinegar. Similarly, the equipment required by both brands is what we would consider common for most kitchens.
Dinnerly and Everyplate keep it as simple as possible—there are no frills and no extras—and they stack up very evenly in this category. If you’re looking for the easiest possible option, we might choose Dinnerly for the “no-prep” kits, though we wouldn’t necessarily consider them better.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Supporting Material
Both companies take a minimal approach to support materials with their services. EveryPlate provides an informative recipe card while Dinnerly does not—so if you’re after a physical recipe to use while you cook, EveryPlate is the better option.
However, both of these services also have apps and websites where recipes for the week can be easily viewed and utilized and if you’re more digitally inclined, Dinnery has a bit more to offer.
Dinnerly not only has the basics of kit recipes, but it also has a blog with some off-kit recipes and tips, as well as the “ingredient hub,” a place where you can take a deep dive into the allergens and ingredients in each recipe.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Types of Diets Served
Dinnerly and EveryPlate each offer certain diet-related labels at the point of meal selection as well as allergen information, but this looks different across the two. While they both label which items are vegetarian, EveryPlate’s only other label is “spicy,” while Dinnerly goes a bit farther to label which type of animal protein is present, whether items are “dairy-free,” “no added gluten,” “low calorie,” and “keto-friendly,” as well as simply “healthy.” While there is some limited information on how they define some of these, the term “healthy” was not defined anywhere.
As far as allergen information, both companies put it forward, but while Dinnerly only provides it for the recipe, EveryPlate offers this plus the previously mentioned “ingredient hub." While it takes a bit of navigating, if you really need to know exactly what’s in your miso paste, you can find it there.
Neither service would be a great option for someone who needs to avoid a specific ingredient or has other dietary needs, but if we had to pick one winner in this category, it would be Dinnerly.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Nutritional Value
Dinnerly may also have a slight advantage in this category as well, although it is not doing much above the minimum level of effort to provide nutrition-conscious options. Both companies offer full nutrition breakdown, but Dinnerly offers a few helpful nutrition labels and seems to make more of an effort to offer a range of nutrient profiles.
While EveryPlate typically offers meals at or above 600 calories, Dinnerly’s range is a touch wider and includes some lower-calorie options. This also creates some variety among other nutrients, in terms of carbohydrates and fats as well, which may be useful for those with certain dietary restrictions.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Customer Service
Both services offer a botchat feature and an email form, however, EveryPlate has a wider range of times when you can call—Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Plus, EveryPlate's chat feature is available 24/7. Dinnerly also has a phone number but it's unclear when it is staffed.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Making Changes and Canceling
Both companies make it easy to change delivery, alter meal selections, and change your profile settings via app or website. The policies are simple and straightforward, and the changes allowed are similar for both.
Dinnerly vs. EveryPlate: Additional Features
Neither service has additional features on offer.
Managing a tight food budget and a busy life is no easy task, and both of these kits could simplify that with their low-cost options that are quick and filling. If you’re looking purely for flavor, consider EveryPlate, but if it’s diet accommodations and a touch more variety you’re after, we recommend Dinnerly. With a few more options each week, Dinnerly may help keep you from ordering takeout enough to stick to your budget.
We spent numerous hours looking through 48 meal delivery services’ websites, ordered meals and cooked them at home, photographed the process, spoke with customer service representatives from the companies, filled out detailed surveys about each company and their meals, and wrote in-depth reviews and comparison articles. Our expert panel includes dieticians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.
The criteria we used to evaluate each company inluded:
- The ordering process
- Meal selection
- Packaging and support materials
- The cooking process
- The flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient
- Nutritional information
- Customer service