Want the best recipe boxes to recreate restaurant food in your own home? Looking for DIY meal kits? Check out our pick below, then try our favourite vegetarian meal kits and dream about where you want to eat out next.
These recipe boxes vary from simple snacks to gourmet pub food and fine-dining, so you can choose which to get depending on how much you want to get involved. There are also plenty of occasions covered, whether you want a burger, a showstopping dessert for a crowd, baking kits or cocktail recipe boxes. We’ve chosen some romantic meal ideas for Valentine’s Day weekend, too, so you can treat yourself and your special person at home.
Valentine’s Day meal kits
Spending Valentine’s Day with a loved one, your bubble or want to send a special gift to friends in lockdown? A meal kit could be just the ticket. Here are three of the best to choose from.
Traditional with a twist, from £165 for two, tomkerridge.com
Prepared by the chefs at the Hand and Flowers, Tom Kerridge’s With Love box is a very hearty kit and a good option if you like to do some of the work yourself. Preparing it together is fun. First up, three easy-to-assemble canapés: lobster and avocado tartlets, Tunworth gougères, and cider-slicked pork belly skewers with black pudding and crackling. A starter of gravadlax comes with celeriac remoulade, avruga caviar and sea salt crackers. Tom’s famous beef wellington with onion and truffle purée, and Hispi cabbage with caesar dressing (a winning combination) or truffled Cotswold White chicken, gnocchi and morels fricassee are the choice of mains, both substantial – the former is the slightly easier-to-prep option. Sticky toffee pudding, clotted cream and petit fours make a very special end. A microwave is suggested for some dishes but not 100% necessary.
Effortless restaurant cooking at home, from £95 pp, simonroganathome.co.uk
A true restaurant menu without any faff or need to juggle too many pans, including a bottle of Exton Park English sparkling wine as a treat. A gougère canapé requires warming though and easy injection of its salmon cream cheese filling. The flavour-packed starter is tiny heritage potatoes which taste as if they’ve been freshly dug up, with a luxurious champagne and oyster sauce with smoked roe, all in sealed pouches for easy reheating in boiling water on the stove. Aged shortrib of Dexter beef with caramelised Jerusalem artichoke sauce with a cep mushroom requires a little more effort – but not too much: heat the beef on the stove before roasting, and frying the ceps. Baked meadowsweet (wildflower) rice pudding can be warmed through gently, sprinkled with almond crumb and served with rhubarb compote. A very intuitive kit with clear video and written instructions.
Scandi fish and seafood dining, £90 for two, aquavit.slerp.com
Fish fans will love this Scandi fusion menu to share – with minimal prep. Gravlax, mustard and dill sauce is an easy assembly job. Next up, microwave or pop bao buns in the oven, briefly fry langoustines and stuff the bao with coleslaw, pickles and the langoustine. There are two more fish courses that require just around 15 minutes in the oven – spring trout with a creamy sauce dotted with trout roe; cod papillote with smoked mussels, prawns and samphire to add a little greenery. A very simple, straightforward, all-savoury kit with delicate flavours.
Restaurant meal kits
Elite Bistros- at-home kits
Reacting to the ever-changing operational environment that came with the Covid-19 pandemic, Gary Usher, owner of the Elite Bistros group of restaurants (which includes the beloved Burnt Truffle and Hispi, located in the North West), launched Elite Bistros at Home during the summer of 2020. The pre-prepared restaurant kits come with a QR code that links to online recipe cards that show you how to finish off the dishes at home. Delivery is available nationwide, and the 16-item menu features classic Elite Bistros offerings, such as braised octopus and the signature eight-hour braised featherblade of beef. There’s free delivery for orders over £80, and bottles of wine can be ordered with the kit, starting at £12 for a bottle of vermentino white wine.
Arabica Feast for Beirut – Middle Eastern feast
Get involved with this generous Lebanese feast. Assemble your own beautiful meze dishes to start – top silky hummus with sweet peppers and roast chickpeas, sprinkle pomegranate over smoky baba ghanoush, fry squeaky halloumi pieces in Turkish dried mint and pop spiced squash pumpkin kibbeh (Lebanese croquettes) in the oven to warm and crisp up. Diners are encouraged to enjoy this spread as a starter before moving onto mains – slow-cooked beef short rib in a spiced red pepper stew served with crunchy, toasted vermicelli noodles and fragrant rice. The feast is finished with a dinky plate of buttery baklava and a pack of mint leaves to brew a refreshing mint tea. 5% of sale proceeds from this box will be donated to Red Cross Lebanon to support the city by which it’s inspired.
Libertine burgers – next-level burgers
Libertine has two outlets in the Midlands and has something of a cult following. Its home kit is far from average, featuring four beef patties made with flank, chuck and brisket with a deeply meaty flavour. Instructions are on the nice side of bossy, explaining exactly which order to load up each sesame seeded brioche bun with Heinz ketchup, French’s mustard, pickles (all provided) and iceberg lettuce. Cook burgers for four minutes on each side, add seasoning, American cheese slices, crispy bacon and boom. Dedicated burger flippers can supplement the kit with tools such as Hell’s Kitchen Grill Scarper (£25), also sold online. £25 for four people, libertine-burger.myshopify.com
Asador 44 – Spanish asador experience
Support this South West-based independent restaurant group by ordering one of its meal kits showcasing Spanish ingredients and restaurant-prepared dishes. In the Asador box, a friendly note from the owners encourages you to recreate northern Spain’s ‘Asador’ experience as closely as you can. Pop open a bottle of Estrella Galicia lager and the jar of gobstopper-sized Andalucían olives to enjoy while you prepare the main event: a 1kg chuletón steak on the bone. The restaurant works with farmers in northern Spain’s lush green regions of Galicia and Asturias, where rare native mountain cattle graze freely for eight to ten years. The meat is then dry-aged for 50 days in the Cardiff restaurant to create beautiful marbling and intense flavour. Follow instructions to cook over a high heat and slice from the bone to result in a centrepiece of perfectly pink steak with charred, caramelised edges. Sides to warm up are equally thought-out – buttery potatoes ‘a lo pobre’ and red peppers blackened over oak coals to make smoky-sweet. There’s also a generous portion of vibrant romesco sauce for dipping and a thick slice of jamón ibérico butter to slather over the steak or onto crusty bread.
Home by Nico – themed tasting menus
Six by Nico’s kit reflects the concept of the restaurants where tasting menu themes change every six weeks. We tasted a four-course Bangkok-themed menu. There is very little prep to do, just reheat a garlic-forward hot and sour tom yum soup with prawn dumplings. Roast the chicken legs of panang red curry while warming through its sauce of sweet potato, baby corn and pak choi, finished with a sprinkling of roasted peanut, crispy shallots and Thai herbs. Serve with sides of jasmine rice and crispy pork pad Thai, eaten cold, with a punchy prik nam pla (fish sauce) dressing. The swish brochure suggests dessert before cheese: cardamom and toasted coconut rice pudding, with little pots of delicious salted bean curd caramel and exotic fruit compote. And finally, delicious Dutch cheese Landana 500 with pineapple chutney and crackers (it’s not clear what the Bangkok connection is here). A bottle of picpoul-style wine is also included. A very smart kit for the price, we look forward to trying the Burgundy themed kit, including ham terrine, beef bourguignon, pommes boulangère and Langres Petit cheese. £60 for two people, home-x.com
Aktar – curry box from award-winning chef
Aktar Islam’s Opheem restaurant in Birmingham was the first Indian restaurant outside London to be awarded a Michelin star, and now you can enjoy the creations of the former Great British Menu-winning chef in your own home for £60. Each week Aktar develops a menu of 10 dishes – more than enough for a banquet for four, several meals for two, or a whole week of dinners for one. The box we tried contained a spectacular sikandari raan (spice-marinated smoked leg of lamb), accompanied by an array of veggie curries and sides. The dishes come vac-packed, ready to cook, with a menu and step-by-step instructions. Great value.
The Yan Untethered – polished Cumbrian comfort food
Nestled on a sheep farm in the heart of the Lake District, this bistro with rooms is all about home-cooked comfort food with a polished edge. Now you can enjoy Will Manley’s fresh, lovingly-prepared dishes at home with The Yan Untethered. The shepherd’s pie is the must-order – slow-cooked Herdwick lamb falls into a veg-packed gravy, topped with creamy mash, bubbling cheese and crisp ham, plus a side of parsley peas. Rolled Cumbrian pork belly is perfectly crisp, and comes with spring onion mash, garlicky green beans and a moreish cider gravy. Treat yourself to a three-course meal and add on ham hock scotch eggs or beetroot-cured salmon to start, and traditional date-speckled sticky toffee pud, warmed up in the microwave until the rich toffee sauce forms a silky puddle. Order by Tuesday for delivery on Fridays.
Mortimer House – porchetta Sunday feast
Mortimer House has done the impossible: challenged the traditional Sunday roast to a fight – and won!
A whole burrata makes a simple starter, arranged on top of a plate of capocollo (thinly sliced cured pork) and dotted with picked onions. The main event is porchetta which roasts in just over an hour yielding the fantastic crackling everyone loves. It comes with roasties, broccoli to be sautéd with garlic, chilli, pork and mustard jus, and a punchy salsa verde. A huge slab of tiramisu is spectacularly good. For four there will be leftovers, so the kit also includes ciabatta and onion jam for sandwiches the next day. £120 for four.
Bubbledogs – food and drink boxes
Recreate an authentic Bubbledogs night out at home with these loaded chilli cheese, mac daddy, reuben or Mexican dogs. The hot dog kits (£20) come with four dogs, buns, all the toppings and a generous portion of tater tots. For the full Bubbledogs experience (£50) add in a bottle of fizz from founder Sadia Chang’s brilliantly curated list. Sandia prides herself on knowing all her champagne suppliers personally, and her goal with Bubbleshop is to make grower champagnes a more accessible drink to all.
Kolamba – Sri Lankan feasting
Kolamba is Aushi and Eroshan Meewella’s vibrant culinary hymn to the dishes they grew up eating in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, and you can now enjoy the Soho restaurant’s aromatic, complex spicing at home, with multi-dish meal kits available (from £36 for two people). Choose between a Ceylon chicken curry feast and a vegan jackfruit curry feast (you can also order extra curries, pickles, chutneys, sambol and rice). We tried the latter, which arrived sleekly packaged and easy to prepare – dishes simply needed to be warmed for a few minutes in a pan on the hob, or in the microwave (apart from the aromatic rice, which needs to be cooked but comes with easy to use instructions).
A curry of meaty hunks of young jackfruit with fried onion and cinnamon is comforting yet boldly flavoured, while a red lentil dahl is soothingly creamy, and a green bean curry comes in a delicately spiced, coconut milk broth. Trimmings include a poky toasted pol sambol with coconut that delivers a punchy hit of heat, as does a Malay pickle, while date and lime chutney is deliciously sour and almost fudgy in texture.
You can find this meal kit on Restokit, a platform offering meal deliveries from top restaurants such as Brigadiers, José Pizarro and Gymkhana.
Willy’s pies – pie delivery service
Will Lewis is taking his expertise from cheffing in some of London’s best restaurants such as Brat and Rochelle Canteen to a fresh pie delivery service. The handmade, ready-to-bake pie menu changes weekly but always includes one meat, one veggie, one sweet and the (permanently on the menu) treacle tart. We tried the smoked ham hock chicken and sage pie for two (£10) – crisp pastry packed with generous chunks of roast chicken and smoky ham in a creamy sauce and a slice of the treacle tart (£3) which was deliciously rich, sticky and dense. Pie fans can also sign up to a monthly subscription service for reduced delivery costs.
Sambal Shiok – Malaysian laksa and meal sets
Mandy Yin grew up in Kuala Lumpur and has been sharing her Malaysian dishes with Londoners since 2013. She started on a street food stall, then progressed to a supper club and eventually opened her bricks-and-mortar restaurant; and now you can try her fragrant laksas at home. Order the special laksa – a rich coconut broth filled with plenty of plump prawns, chicken pieces, spongy tofu and slippery egg noodles. Or try a meal set from Mandy’s sister company, Nasi Economy Rice. Choose between five-spice ragu, assam prawns and soy-braised chicken, all served with fluffy rice, yellow veg curry and sweet ’n’ sour greens, as well as potato curry puffs to start and delicate cardamom chocolate cake for pud. Click and collect, or delivery within 12km via Slerp, and nationwide via pezu.com
Burger & Beyond – burger meal kits
Sure, we could make burgers at home without any help. But they wouldn’t turn out like this Shoreditch restaurant’s bacon butter burger. With shiny, sesame-seed topped brioche buns, 35-day-aged minced beef, pancetta bacon, American cheese slices, burnt butter mayo and diced pickled onion, this feeds-four kit (£25) is great value – not to mention straightforward to cook. New kits for the likes of fried chicken burgers and truffle tots have just been launched, and the London restaurant is now back open to customers.
Wilsons – bistro at home boxes
During lockdown, this popular neighbourhood bistro’s recipe kits were different each week, reflecting what was available from the restaurant’s farm and suppliers. Now chef and co-founder Jan Ostle has handed over the reins to Bristol Hospitality Network (BHN), which looks after refugees and asylum seekers, while he prepares for the restaurant to reopen this month. The first box in collaboration with BHN was inspired by Thilini Jothimuni from Sri Lanka, who shared her recipes for pineapple curry and mushroom curry (and starred in a live cook-along video on the Wilsons Instagram page). Kits are for local pick-up in Bristol only.
The Black Swan – fine-dining recipe boxes
Chef Tommy Banks, of The Black Swan, is the man behind Made in Oldstead Food Boxes. Choose a standard or celebration box, and expect dishes such as beef wellington made with local salt-aged beef fillet. Locals can collect from either The Black Swan or sister restaurant Roots, and there’s also a national delivery service. Roots has reopened its doors with amended opening times, and The Black Swan plans to reopen in August.
Passyunk Avenue – comfort food meal kits
Go full USA at home with a Philadelphia-inspired feed. Fill a thick, sub-style roll with prime rib-eye steak, oozy cheese sauce and onions; gnaw on wings with tangy, spicy buffalo sauce and blue cheese dip; and don’t forget the deli-style hoagie sandwiches. The kits (from £19.99) are called LOVEbundles, and we can’t think of a better way to deliver some love and culinary comfort to friends, family and, of course, yourself right now. Passyunk Avenue’s Cleveland Street branch reopened in July.
Pleesecakes – DIY dessert kits for a celebration
Pleesecakes, famous for its fun, fully loaded cheesecakes, has created the DIY kit (from £28) that sweet-toothed home cooks have been waiting for. It’s new Build Your Own at Home (BYOAH!) range contains a ready-to-rock base with pre-made filling, along with a cake board, ganache and those signature decorations (choose from chocolate bars or pick ’n’ mix). A great shout for a friend with a celebration – you can get it delivered straight to them, wherever they live in the UK.
Guerrilla Kitchen – bao bun recipe boxes
Once upon a time, Guerrilla Kitchen founder Jay Scrimshaw headed up the kitchens at Bibendum and Chez Bruce in London. Now he and his wife, Taffeta, cook novel, seasonal takes on the bao bun from their base in Cambridgeshire. Guerrilla’s DIY kits (£20) include six buns, fillings, sauces and garnishes – plus they come frozen, so you can stash in the freezer for a rainy day, or defrost and cook within 48 hours. How about pork belly with sticky gochujang sauce, or teriyaki panko-coated tofu? You can even add a bamboo steamer to your order, if you need it.
The Vurger Co – vegan meal kits
This fast-food joint is a contender for London’s best vegan food. Now you can make one of its signature stacks, the New York melt, at home. Each kit (£18.95) feeds two and includes vegan brioche buns, Beyond Burger patties, vegan cheese, lettuce, gherkins, tomato, a jar of The Vurger Co’s house burger sauce, and fries. The Vurger Co outlets in Shoreditch, Canary Wharf and Brighton are currently open for takeout.
Limewedge – cocktail recipe kits
If you’re looking to expand your boozy horizons, or are hunting for a birthday gift that can be sent straight to the recipient, then this drinks delivery service is for you. Created by a former bartender, Limewedge has a range of themed cocktail boxes (from £27.99), including boozy brunch, dinner party, and desert island drinks. Expect well-loved classics such as the piña colada, as well as lesser-sipped libations including a breakfast martini. Cocktail-making starter kits are also available, and if you like what you taste, you can turn your order into a regular subscription.
Boom Kitchen – curry recipe boxes
This curry-kit brand encourages cooks to experiment with new flavours, but also teaches them how to recreate curry house classics at home. From ayubowan Sri Lankan curry to mellow Moroccan tagine, tikka tarka masala and jalfrezi heatwave curry (£3.75 each), the small range is varied, imaginative and great value. Kits include pre-measured ingredients (think base stock, spices and the like) and a list of any fresh produce required.
The Shore – seafood recipe boxes
Bruce Rennie, chef-owner of this Cornish restaurant, recently launched a range of Distant Shore kits (£35). They’re packed with near-finished, seafood-focused meals, and ingredients sometimes come from Bruce’s own allotment. In the instructions, helpful images show you how to plate your feast like a pro. Dinners include the likes of sashimi black bream with cucumber and sesame, and spider crab bun with kimchi. Lucky locals can enjoy them right now, although Bruce hopes to roll out national delivery soon. The Penzance restaurant reopened (at a reduced capacity) on 10 July.
Hobbs House – DIY baking kits
By the look of anyone’s Instagram feed, there’s been a lot of sourdough action of late. For those that are yet to relent, this handy sourdough baking kit (£37) from West Country family bakery Hobbs House will get you off to a flying start. The 65-year-old sourdough culture and Shipton Mill organic rye flour are joined by a proving basket, so you can get professional results and that trademark spiral in your crust. There’s even a loaf of organic wild white sourdough included, so you can see (and taste) what you’re aiming for.
Hame by Adam Handling – fine-dining recipe kits
Named after the Scottish word for ‘home’, Hame comes from the chef and restaurateur behind The Frog Hoxton, among other culinary hot spots. Promising a taste of fine-dining luxury at your own dinner table, its kits contain near-ready-to-eat dishes (mains start at £20) for finishing off at home, with guidance from video instructions. If you fancy going all out with the likes of cod with brown shrimps and pickled kohlrabi, as well as pre-made cocktails and matching wines, you know who to call. Adam’s restaurants are due to reopen this month.