Sunday, May 19, 2024

For $5 a Serving, I Assumed EveryPlate Meal Kits Would Suck. I Was Wrong


8.8

EveryPlate

Score Breakdown

Taste/results 8Value 10Ease of recipes 9Recipe variety 8Healthiness 7

See at EveryPlate

Like


  • Simple, tasty meals at the lowest price per serving in the category

  • You can swap proteins and sides if you want

  • Uses less plastic than other meal kit services

  • Everything I made tasted great and was easy to execute

Don’t like


  • Not many low-carb or plant-based options

  • Some boxes of ingredients arrive a little disorganized

  • $9 extra for shipping

Product details

  • Pricing

    Starts at $5/serving

  • Type

    Meal kits

  • Recipes per week

    25+

  • Good for

    Healthy, family-friendly, comfort food, picky eaters, quick and easy

If you haven’t checked in on meal kits in a minute, these fun and convenient subscriptions have gotten way more affordable than when they first hit the scene. In fact, I crunched the numbers and found that meal kits are often about the same cost or less than buying the groceries yourself. The cheapest service is EveryPlate with meal kits starting at around $5 per serving. It’s also one of the best of the dozen or so services I’ve tried.

EveryPlate has topped my hand-tested list of the best cheap meal delivery services for three years running. In the spirit of quality control — something we take seriously here — I took EveryPlate for another spin in 2023. The service’s affordable offerings hold steady as the best cheap meal kits to buy, doling out simple and satisfying recipes for good, homemade meals that often cost you less time and money to make than doing it from scratch.

Below is a full breakdown of my most recent round of testing EveryPlate meal kits went and what you can expect if you sign up.

How EveryPlate works

EveryPlate is meal kit service so keep in mind that you’ll have to cook your meals. (If you prefer not to cook, I suggest trying a service like Fresh N Lean, Mosaic Foods or CookUnity for fully premade food delivered each week.) This budget-friendly service is an offshoot of Green Chef, which was acquired by HelloFresh in 2018. While Green Chef offers a more gourmet approach to meal kits, EveryPlate aims to be the most affordable meal kit service. 

(If you’re curious about EveryPlate’s sister brands, I also tested and reviewed Green Chef and HelloFresh in 2023.)

website page for picking meal plans

The more meals per week you pick, the cheaper they get.

EveryPlate/Screenshot by CNET

Signing up for EveryPlate couldn’t be simpler. First, you’ll plunk in an address and contact information and then select a plan (number of meals) and payment option. For plans, you can choose either two, three, four or five meal kits per week with either two, four or six servings per meal. The more meals you pick, the cheaper the per-serving price gets. The plans start at $5 per serving and go about to $7.49.

EveryPlate recipes from website

EveryPlate recipes are simple and good.

EveryPlate/Screenshot by CNET

Then comes the fun part: You pick meal kits from a menu of roughly 13 to 16 recipes. The meals change weekly with favorites popping back into the rotation often. There is loads of information available about each one, including calories, nutrition and the time it takes to make. You can also substitute proteins and side dishes on most EveryPlate meal kits just in case you despise green beans or have had way too much chicken lately. You can even view the next two weekly menus in advance.

Shipping and delivery

ingredients for three meal kits in box

EveryPlate uses less packaging than other services by lumping most of the ingredients together in one box. You’ll have to separate items before starting a recipe but it doesn’t take long and didn’t bother me at all.

David Watsky/CNET

EveryPlate delivers to most of the continental US with boxes arriving on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays (your choice). Meal kit deliveries come sealed with large ice packs and are meant to stay cold for up to 48 hours, just in case you’re not home to receive them on a particular day.

What are EveryPlate meals like?

hand holding three recipe cards

EveryPlate’s recipe cards will guide you carefully through each meal kit.

David Watsky/CNET

EveryPlate is big on comfort food. On any given weekly menu you’ll find options for meatloaf, pork chops, chicken pot pie, tacos and pasta recipes. Sides are equally hearty, including lots of mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, white rice and noodles. There are a few — but not many — plant-based options per week, and you won’t find many trendy ingredients or superfoods in EveryPlate meal kits. The recipes were all mostly familiar to me, although the culinary team will mix things up with a hoisin (Japanese barbecue sauce) glaze on an otherwise traditional meatloaf or a sweet apricot and Dijon sauce to liven up a chicken dish.

EveryPlate has only a few seafood or steak options (one or two per week) and most of the ones available are considered “premium” and cost an extra $3 per serving. There are really only lunch and dinner meal kits and no breakfast or snack options, although you can select a protein pack of chicken breasts and ground beef for meal planning.

steak with green beans and potatoes

Most steak and seafood recipes incur an upcharge of a few bucks per serving. 

EveryPlate

How easy are EveryPlate meal kits?

Of the meal kit services I’ve tried, EveryPlate meals are some of the easiest to prepare. The most complicated recipe I made was meatloaf and even that took just 30 minutes. There are very few if any, overly complicated recipes that require advanced skills or fancy kitchen equipment, making EveryPlate a good option for new or amateur cooks. 

Each meal kit comes with a comprehensive recipe card fit with glossy images and directions to help you through. Each card also lists what you’ll need that isn’t provided — cooking oil, butter, ketchup — so you’re not caught flat-footed. 

If you’ve chosen to swap a side or protein, there are little addendums up in the corner to address any slight changes to the recipe. For example, “Did you choose chicken instead of pork? Follow the recipe as written but in step 4, simply cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side.”

What makes EveryPlate different from other meal kit services?

img-2683

Fixings for hoisin meatloaf ready to go.

David Watsky/CNET

Besides being the cheapest meal kit service, which is EveryPlate’s biggest differentiator, it is also one of the simplest and most straightforward with simple recipes that take under 30 minutes to make. There are also only 15 or so menu selections every week which, for me, is enough to find new and interesting recipes without feeling overwhelmed the way I did with other services I’ve tried. 

Who is EveryPlate good for?

EveryPlate is perfect for anyone looking for a boost to their cooking routine, learn to cook or inject some new recipes into their rotation without breaking the bank. Busy people, too, since it’s also a time-saver, eliminating trips to the store as well as time spent ruminating over what to make. If you like comfort foods and don’t mind a few carbs, EveryPlate has them in spades but there are some healthier options, too. 

Who EveryPlate meal kits are not so good for

EveryPlate recipes are on the simple side so I wouldn’t recommend it for very experienced chefs looking to further hone their skills. There are also fewer “healthy” options and even fewer plant-based meals on EveryPlate, so I also wouldn’t recommend this meal kit service for vegans and vegetarians. As a way to keep prices low, EveryPlate doesn’t cater to diet plans either such as keto, paleo or low-sugar.

EveryPlate pricing

every plate meal kit box next to piggy bank

EveryPlate is the cheapest of the major meal kit delivery services.

EveryPlate

EveryPlate is $5 a serving if you choose meal kits for four and closer to $6 a serving if you only order recipes for two. By my count, it’s the cheapest meal kit company available and it’s even cheaper when you bag a special promotion like the one running now (just $2 per serving). Keep in mind that “Premium” meals like salmon and steak do incur an upcharge of $3 per serving and each box costs $9 to ship.

What I cooked and how it went

Barramundi with chimichurri saucemashed cauliflower and green beans: This was the one premium recipe I made, which means it’ll cost you extra. It was simple, healthy and really good. The fish smelled and tasted very fresh, and didn’t really even need the punch of chimichurri. I doused the filet in it anyhow. 

barramundi dish on plate

A simple spiced barramundi with mashed potatoes and roasted green beans.

David Watsky/CNET

Chicken sausage flatbread + tomato pasta: This unique meal kit is designed to be made as a pizza one night, then a portion of extra cooked pizza sauce and toppings are turned into a pasta dish the next day, for lunch or another dinner. The meal kit has all the ingredients for both recipes. I liked both meals and found this to be a rather clever idea.

flatbread on cutting board

This meal kit starts as a rustic flatbread for dinner. But then…

David Watsky/CNET

pasta dish in bowl on table

…on Day 2, the extra pizza toppings you put aside can be turned into a hearty pasta dish in about 7 minutes.

David Watsky/CNET

Sweet umami beef bowls: This is one of my favorite types of meal kits. It takes very little time or mental energy to prepare and is highly satisfying. It wasn’t overly heavy but plenty hearty, with lots of complimentary flavors and textures.

umami beef bowl

This simple umami beef bowl with cucumbers and carrots was one of my favorites.

David Watsky/CNET

Hoisin pork meatloaves with wasabi mashed potatoes: This was my favorite of the meals I cooked. It was simple to make but interesting and still really satisfying. Putting wasabi in mashed potatoes is definitely my new default. 

img-2688-1

The meatloaf was my favorite of the recipes, but all of EveryPlate’s meal kits passed the ultimate taste test.

David Watsky/CNET

Sweet potato and pepper quesadilla with fresh salsa and chipotle sour cream: This was a perfect hearty lunch, especially when you feel like you’ve been eating too much meat. The fresh salsa made it for me and I’ll put sour cream on anything.

Spicy umami pork chops with ginger rice and roasted carrots: Another simple yet flavorful dinner. The hoisin and ponzu made good on the promise of umami and the fresh ginger made the rice really pop.

Final verdict on EveryPlate

As someone who reviews meal kits for a living, I often feel like I’m splitting hairs trying to find the nuance, but with this one the distinction was very clear. EveryPlate is the most affordable meal kit service but still delivered enjoyable recipes that were both interesting and satisfying. In three rounds of testing — that’s nine total meal kits — EveryPlate recipes have not produced a single meal I didn’t like. 

While EveryPlate turns down the gourmet dial just slightly compared with Blue Apron or Green Chef, the meals I made were all very solid and didn’t look or taste “budget.” At just $5 or $6 a serving, I also felt like I was getting a genuinely good deal. Plus, most boxes of ingredients from EveryPlate use less shipping materials than many of its competitors. 

If you’ve never tried a meal kit before and want to see if it’s a good fit, I would absolutely recommend EveryPlate. In fact, I’ve been recommending EveryPlate to just about anyone looking to try meal kits, especially at those wildly cheap new-customer prices of just $1.50 per serving. 





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