- Best for unfussy, budget-conscious eaters
- Less waste than other companies
- Fast, simple, kid-friendly meals
- Low-cost meal kits
- Not best for discerning palates
- No customization options
- Not organized by meal
- Charge for shipping
Meal kit delivery services are such a great idea for people who want to save time and cook healthy, tasty meals at home. Too bad they’re so expensive.
But not all meal kit companies will break the bank! Dinnerly is the most affordable meal delivery services out there.
If you’ve wanted to try one out, but didn’t want to drop the cash, this review is just for you. Find out how Dinnerly’s recipes, variety, service, environmentalism, and value compare to other meal kits and see if it’s worth your hard-earned dollar.
Recipe Quality / Taste
What good is an inexpensive meal if you don’t want to eat the food? Luckily, that’s not an issue with Dinnerly. It’s not for the foodie (or connoisseurs of any kind) but if you’re looking for a simple, tasty meals that are inexpensive and easy to get on the table, this is exactly what you need. Each recipe is made with quality ingredients, has good flavour, and will keep your belly–and your wallet–full.
While there was once only six meal choices in a given week, Dinnerly has recently upped their game. Now you can choose from 14 different dinner recipes on each order. Meals like Stir-Fried Turkey Chow Fun with Snow Peas & Chili Oil and Crunchy Chinese Chicken Salad with Fried Almonds & Snow Peas are familiar but have an interesting, mouth-watering twist. Each of the meal options are labeled with qualities that help you easily choose which recipe to add to your box.
Meals are labeled with the following applicable qualities:
- One-Pot Meal
- Under 30 Minutes
- Low Carb
- No Added Gluten
Difficulty and Reliability
Part of Dinnerly’s appeal is that it’s so simple. There are only six ingredients in any recipe and minimal steps to prepare, making every recipe very beginner-friendly. They won’t steer you wrong on the listed cooking times, either. Many dishes take less than 30 minutes. Most time will be spent chopping and waiting for your meal to cook, everything in between is a breeze.
Variety of Meals and Plans
Staying true to its testament of simplicity, Dinnerly has two plans to choose from; the Two-Person Box and the Family Box. On either plan, you can have 3, 4, or 5 meals delivered each week.
Dinnerly aims to feed the masses. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be room for special dietary considerations in that mission. While Dinnerly is vegetarian-friendly, there are no plan options for more niche dietary needs like allergies, low-calorie, gluten-free, or others. You can’t choose a plan specifically for your diet, but all meals are labeled to help you understand what type of eater they’re best suited for.
What’s Inside The Dinnerly Kit?
Unlike other meal kit delivery companies, which package ingredients for each recipe separately, in the Dinnerly kit, all ingredients are mixed together in the insulated delivery box. This saves on time and packaging, which helps keep affordable.
You’ll find the following in a typical kit:
- Fresh produce
- Vacuum sealed proteins
- Seasonings and sauces
- Ice packs
What you won’t find in the Dinnerly kit is a printed recipe card. In another effort to reduce waste and cut costs, they’ve opted to keep the instructions strictly in digital format. You’ll receive an email prior to your delivery with a link to each of your meal’s cooking details, which you can view on your phone or laptop while preparing your meal.
The (Digital) Recipe Card
For some people, the lack of paper instructions is an inconvenience they’re not willing to deal with. For others, it seals the deal.
The online instructions have a ton of details about your meal. The recipe page lists nutrition values per serving (i.e. calories, fat, proteins, carbs) and contained allergens like wheat, soy, milk, and nuts. You’ll also find the level of difficulty and serving time here to help you plan which days to tackle each recipe, depending on how your evening schedule looks. Most importantly, the digital recipe card lists included ingredients, ingredients not included, required cookware, and cooking instructions.
One common complaint of Dinnerly customers is that the non-included ingredients can push the boundaries of what a “staple” is considered. These typically include oil, salt, and pepper, but sometimes more obscure items make this list too. Requirements like red wine vinegar may call for a hasty trip to the shops.
While the step-by-step instructions are thorough enough to make a meal happen, they’re missing complementary images. With the digital format, it would be great to have videos of each recipe as it’s being made or another visual assistant.
More On the Ingredients
The fresh produce included in the Dinnerly kit is unchopped, but of fairly high quality. Unfortunately, quality isn’t everything. Sometimes the lack of packaging can mean there’s more bruising or blemishing in transit than other tightly-packed kits.
Sometimes the quality ingredients never make it in the box. Many customers have reported receiving Dinnerly deliveries with missing ingredients. When there are only six ingredients to begin with, a missing item will generally ruin the meal.
Extra Dinnerly Services
Dinnerly sticks to one simple product: dinner. Don’t expect a marketplace of kitchen essentials, dessert, wine, or lunches.
When they say dinner, they mean only dinner. Thankfully, other than a few hiccups with delivery, they generally do dinner well.
Delivery / Service Level
Dinnerly originally only delivered to the western United States. Thankfully for us, they now deliver to almost all of the contiguous US for one low cost.
To keep costs as low as possible, Dinnerly charges a small delivery fee $8.99 for every order. Your delivery options depend on what Zip Code the kit will be delivered to. Most zip codes give you two weekdays to choose your delivery day from and have a relatively large delivery window; between 8am and 9pm. Thankfully, the large window means the deliveries do typically happen on time.
The limited delivery options may require a bit of pre-planning to make sure you can receive your Dinnerly kit. If you need to make any changes to your order, make sure you give up to 6 days notice prior to your order delivery date.
How Convenient is Dinnerly?
Dinnerly cuts costs by keeping things simple. While this is better for your wallet and the environment, it does hurt the convenience.
All the ingredients are packed into the box together, rather than being grouped in bags by meal. That makes it a little more challenging to locate the correct items for each recipe than other boxes. Also, the lack of printed recipe cards means you need to pull the recipe up on your phone or laptop to get cooking instructions. One more point of frustration is that you have to make changes to your order nearly a week in advance of your delivery day.
The good news is, if these inconveniences are deal-breakers for you, the service is easy to cancel. You just go into your account settings and select “stop subscription”. They really do even make, “goodbye” simple.
Dinnerly customers have repeatedly reported missing items and aged produce, which is a mark against the company. But, their customer service is there to (slightly) soften the blow of an unsatisfactory experience. They’ll typically reimburse you for missing items–but not for the entire meal. That might ruin your appetite for Dinnerly.
There’s not much information available about the source of Dinnerly’s ingredients themselves, so the jury’s out on the sustainability of their food products and their animal welfare concerns. But they’ve paid attention to the materials they package their ingredients with, at least.
All materials used for packaging and cooling are thoughtfully sourced and generally recyclable. The insulated boxes, which the ingredients are delivered in, are SFI certified. That means they’re made from paper that’s sourced from sustainably managed forests. The boxes can be recycled in any curbside paper recycling bin.
They seem to support their claim of being earth-friendly and working to minimize their environmental impact.
Value for Price
Dinnerly claims to be the most affordable meal kit on the market. And as far as we can tell, that seems to be true.
But is it good value?
They offer two different meal plans, a Two-Person Plan and a four-person Family Plan. Costs start at $4.49 per serving for 5 meals per week on either plan. That cost is before the additional $8.99 shipping charge, which bring it up to $4.94 to $6.49 per serving including shipping.
Here’s a breakdown:
|Two Person Box cost with shipping||Family Box cost with shipping||Price per serving (before shipping)|
Is Dinnerly Worth It?
If you’re not looking for exotic and exciting meals, but want something simple and cost-effective, Dinnerly is totally worth it.
You get what you pay for and paying less than $6.50 for a delicious, healthy meal kit delivered straight to your door is a bargain! Sure, you might have to deal with some minor inconveniences, but you’ll be saving dough and eating well.
Conclusion: Is Dinnerly Worth It?
Dinnerly isn’t the company for someone who wants a flawless, luxury experience. When you choose this service, you’re choosing simplicity – in all its forms.
If you’re someone who wants a tasty meal that you don’t have to be a chef to prepare (and who doesn’t mind sacrificing a few conveniences to save a buck) this meal kit is worth a try. Why not place your first order today?
Do you agree with our review of Dinnerly? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Fast Facts: Dinnerly
|Dietary Plans Available:|
Two (Couple), Four (Family)
|Price per Plate|
Less than $5