100% free of gluten, peanut, and soy
Little to no added sugar
Responsibly sourced ingredients
Mostly seasonal menu
Selections often out of stock
Dishes sometimes lackluster in looks and flavor
Vegetarian dishes low on protein
Unresponsive customer service
The Good Kitchen
The Good Kitchen is all about food that's good for you and the planet. The company offers 35 fully prepared, heat-and-eat frozen meals each week built on mostly seasonal and primarily organic ingredients, and responsibly raised or harvested meat and fish. You won’t find any grains, gluten, soy, or refined sugar, and there's very little dairy, making it a great option for those who want to eat clean, reduce their consumption of inflammatory foods, or have
Some prepared meal delivery services have a single set menu that doesn’t change, but The Good Kitchen’s meals rotate weekly. The company also allows customers to subscribe for weekly, biweekly, or monthly deliveries, or just order one-off shipments whenever they need. We wanted to know if The Good Kitchen’s meals were more than just good in name, so we ordered a week’s worth to try out. Read on to see what we thought.
How It Works: Healthful Meals With Zero Effort
The Good Kitchen offers fully cooked single-serving meals that require zero prep. They’re shipped frozen via overnight delivery and require just a few minutes in the microwave to heat through. And the site makes it easy to shop around before you commit. The current week’s full menu is easily accessible, so we could scroll through the options and click on each one to review the ingredients and nutrition information. We could also filter the selection according to dietary preferences, so we could see at a glance which meals were vegetarian, keto, Whole30 approved, or even pork-free.
All of the meals are free of gluten, peanuts, and soy. Many options are Whole30 approved and ingredients are responsibly sourced, including pasture-raised meats, sustainable fish, and produce from independent farms. According to the site, most ingredients are organic and the company follows the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 guidelines when sourcing.
We had the option of ordering a la carte or subscribing. A la carte meals are priced according to the protein, but they generally cost $13.49 to $14.99. The minimum a la carte order is six meals or $115, and shipping costs $6.99 for any orders less than 10 meals; otherwise, it’s free. Subscriptions start at five meals but we could select as many as 35.
To go the subscription route, we first had to select any dietary preferences and allergies and then indicate if we wanted breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. We liked how we could see immediately how the number of meals and the frequency affected the pricing, so we knew what we were getting into before we went through the work of selecting our meals.
In addition to the single-serving meals, The Good Kitchen also offers bulk orders of its proteins and sides, like beef barbacoa and spiced cauliflower. Each one serves four so you can serve your meals family-style or mix and match the items with other ingredients at home. And for active folks who want to eat like pro football player Tom Brady, The Good Kitchen offers heat-and-eat single-serving meals for his TB12 brand, all inspired by Brady’s eating regimen.
Choosing Meals: Nearly 3 Dozen Seasonal Options
Each week there are 35 single-serving meals to choose from, and the selection rotates to keep things interesting as well as take advantage of what’s in season. Two of the options are usually breakfast, like a vegetable frittata with Yukon gold potatoes. The rest are appropriate for lunch or dinner.
We could scroll through the options and see pictures of each dish, then click on the photo to get in-depth information like ingredients, nutrition information, and a little note about flavor. When we wanted to zero in on a type of food, we could use the previously mentioned filters, as well as indicate our preferences and allergens like dairy, eggs, nuts, nightshades, and even garlic.
Meals are recognizable to anyone familiar with a paleo or Whole30 diet—think bowls of lean proteins and vegetables with some kind of sauce, no simple carbs, and no bread. Rice comes in the form of riced cauliflower. Spaghetti squash stands in for pasta. Even the vegetarian dishes don’t default to some variation on pasta and cheese. Although, since the meals are all soy-free, this means there’s no tofu or soy sauce either. Not only are Asian dishes not well represented, but many of the vegetarian dishes were also light on protein, aside from the one that incorporated eggs.
The meals are strongly influenced by classic Americana, the Mediterranean, or Mexico, with lots of tomatoes, chilies, herbs, and spices. Think chicken cacciatore with spaghetti squash, beef pot roast with sweet potato mash, chile-lime chicken with fajita vegetables, and cilantro-lime cauliflower rice.
New customers can select their meals up until 8 p.m. ET on Sundays for delivery by Wednesday. Any orders after the cutoff will ship the following Wednesday. Returning customers and those with subscriptions can choose their meals up until 5 p.m. ET on Thursdays and they arrive a day or two later.
The meals are strongly influenced by classic Americana, the Mediterranean, or Mexico, with lots of tomatoes, chilies, herbs, and spices.
What We Made
We aimed for variety when selecting our dishes, including a vegetarian option, so we could try as many proteins and preparations as possible. Several times, the items we selected ended up being out of stock even though they weren’t labeled as such when we were shopping. It wasn’t until we were checking out that we were alerted and had to start the process over, only to find the new dish we selected was out of stock too. It was both annoying and disappointing. In the end, we chose:
- Mushroom soffrito with cauliflower risotto, which included broccoli florets
- N.C.-style pulled pork with collard greens, flavored with smoky bacon bits and tangy vinegar
- Chimichurri chicken thighs with fingerling potato hash
- Pork loin with peach BBQ sauce and bacon jalapeno cauliflower risotto
- Barbacoa beef with black beans and cilantro cauliflower rice
- Barbacoa beef hash with red peppers
Support Materials: Not Needed
There’s no prep needed with these meals. An adhesive label on each tray includes the ingredients list, nutrition information, and heating instructions. It also has an expiration date, but it’s slightly confusing. The date is six months from the date it was packaged, which assumes the meals have stayed frozen. The fine print says thawed meals must be consumed within 72 hours. If you let the meals thaw and don’t read the very tiny print, you might think the shrink-wrapped meals will stay good in the refrigerator for months.
Packaging: Mostly Recyclable
Considering that the frozen meals have to be kept cold and shipped overnight, we expected them to be packed with lots of styrofoam. Instead, we were happy to find the cardboard box was insulated with Green Cell Foam; because it dissolves in water, it was wrapped in plastic to keep it from getting wet. Gel packs kept the contents cold and our meals arrived still frozen hard. We were able to recycle the box, and the plastic from the gel packs and the liners, in our curbside recycling, and the Green Cell Foam we popped in our curbside yard waste bin.
The meals themselves come packed on a single-serving microwave-safe plastic tray and vacuum sealed. The trays are curbside recyclable, depending on where you live.
The Cooking Process: 5 Minutes Tops
We didn’t need to even poke the plastic film; all we did was take off the label and pop it in the microwave. As the meals heat, the plastic wrap balloons up with steam. The meals we had were all ready in 5 minutes: 3 minutes on high and a minute of resting before digging in.
Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Fresh but Bland
Most of us eat with our eyes first. When a dish looks good, we want to dig in. The dishes we tried didn’t look appealing—lots of brown and orange mush. Flavorwise, the dishes we tried tasted middle of the road. None knocked our socks off. Some dishes needed more salt, whereas one was over-the-top salty.
The pork with collard greens was by far our favorite, and one we’d happily order again. Combining bits of bacon, moist pulled pork, and tender collards, it was smoky, savory, and tart with vinegar. Coming in second was the barbacoa beef with black beans and cilantro cauliflower rice. It was like a fresher, healthier version of something we might get at Chipotle, and when we added guacamole and salsa, it was quite good. We expected the barbacoa beef hash to have a similarly Mexican flavor profile. Instead, it tasted like pot roast and potatoes. It was comforting and savory, if a bit boring.
The vegetarian mushroom soffrito with cauliflower risotto tasted like a pile of watery vegetables, even though the ingredients list included coconut cream and clarified butter. Even the mushrooms had no flavor; there was barely enough food to fill someone up, and only 9g of protein. The most disappointing dish was the pork loin with peach BBQ sauce and bacon jalapeno cauliflower risotto. It sounded so promising, but someone went way overboard with the salt and liquid smoke.
Overall, the dishes we tried weren’t stunners in looks or flavor, but they were mostly satisfying. Big eaters will likely still be hungry, but those with smaller appetites will find them filling. Aside from the vegetarian dish, they each included a decent amount of meat, so we didn’t feel hungry for hours, but also didn’t feel stuffed or bloated.
Nutritional Value: Very Healthful
The Good Kitchen is a great go-to for those who want to limit their intake of wheat, dairy, sugar, and soy. And customers can even filter their choices further for things like nightshades, nuts, and eggs.
It’s also great for those eating paleo or Whole30. You won’t find simple carbs or added sugar, just lots of protein and vegetables. If you have diabetes, are active, or are looking to lose weight, these meals are great options.
The dishes we tried weren’t stunners in looks or flavor, but they were mostly satisfying.
The servings weren’t skimpy but weren’t generous either. Still, we never felt hungry after eating. Calories usually hovered around 350 to 400 per meal. The pork and collards was the highest calorie option out of the 35 choices that week, and for the 11-ounce serving, it offered 650 calories, 38g of fat, 20g of carbohydrates, and 58g of protein. The chicken, pork loin, and beef hash all clocked in at around 400 calories, 25g of fat, 30g of protein, and 20g to 30g of carbohydrates.
The Good Kitchen Is Good For
The Good Kitchen works best for singles or couples who want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, want to avoid certain foods for allergy or inflammatory reasons, and care about where their food comes from.
The Good Kitchen Is Not Good For
Even though The Good Kitchen offers family-size bulk portions, the selection is more limited than their single-serving meals and, for the price, a little too basic. Who wants to pay $12.99 for four servings of cooked brown rice? It’s just not the best service for feeding a crowd. Also, vegetarians don’t have many protein-rich options.
Add-ons: Bulk Portions
There aren’t any snacks, desserts, broths, and smoothies to add on as some other services offer. But customers can add bulk servings of several prepared proteins and side dishes under the family-style menu. It’s a great way for big eaters and athletes to add extra meat or veggies to their meals.
Customer Service: Mixed Reviews
The Good Kitchen’s e-blasts are helpful. For example, when our order shipped, we got an email with the UPS tracking number. We received another email recapping the cooking, freezing, and recycling instructions. And when it was time to select our meals again, we got an email on Monday, giving us several days before the cutoff to choose our meals for the next shipment.
However, at one point we received an email about menu changes with 243 other customers CC’d rather than BCC’d, making everyone’s email address available to each other. Not a good look. The message was also a bit confusing. We were very relieved that no one hit “reply all.”
There’s no chat service, but customers are encouraged to reach out via email and phone during business hours. However, we emailed a simple question during business hours and never received a response. When we called during business hours we got voicemail. Even after leaving a message we still never got a response.
Making Changes and Canceling: Fast and Easy
To select meals, change your address, payment info, delivery frequency or cancel completely, customers just log into their account online. The cancel button isn’t hidden and hard to find; it’s just part of the delivery frequency options. You’ll get a request to tell them why and an email asking for feedback, but otherwise customers aren’t guilted or made to jump through hoops to cancel.
The Competition: The Good Kitchen vs. Methodology
Both The Good Kitchen and Methodology center their menus on vegetable-heavy meals, and both put an emphasis on responsible sourcing and sustainable packaging. However, they’re ultimately very different. Methodology only delivers to the San Francisco Bay Area and parts of Southern California, while The Good Kitchen delivers anywhere in the U.S. In addition, Methodology is subscription only, whereas The Good Kitchen allows a la carte orders. You can even order it on Amazon and Walmart.com. And shipping is free with orders of 10 meals or more, while Methodology charges a flat rate of $9.95 no matter what.
Even the meal selection is really different. The Good Kitchen offers just breakfast and lunch/dinner, plus bulk proteins and sides, but none of the snacks, juices, broths, and other add-ons that Methodology provides. It also focuses on the macros that appeal to Whole30 and paleo eaters, with familiar dishes built on animal proteins and vegetables, rather than Methodology’s plant-based wellness focus, with dishes sporting adaptogens and superfoods.
Busy singles and couples who struggle to find the time to cook healthful meals that adhere to paleo or Whole30 diets can benefit from The Good Kitchen. The meals are nutritious, responsibly sourced, and take just minutes to heat up. Flavorwise, they could use some help from a few pantry additions. At around $14, they’re pricier than a homemade meal or frozen dinner from the supermarket, but on par with takeout and a lot healthier too.
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 included:
- 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
- Product Brand The Good Kitchen
- Lowest Price Per Serving $14
- Number of Diets Served 4
- Number of Recipes 31
- Delivery Area 50 states
- Serving Sizes Available 1, 4