If you’re looking for quick and easy ways to cook dinner every night, recipe boxes might be the convenient solution. Recipe subscription services let you pick your meals before delivering direct to your door with ingredients portioned up and ready to get cooking, minimising food waste and saving you on shopping. We’ve tested out a range of delivery services, from the most well-known to bespoke organic, nutritionally balanced or restaurant-inspired options.
A fan of having things delivered direct to your door? Read our reviews of the best coffee subscriptions to start your mornings right, or treat yourself to an afternoon tea delivery for a special occasion. If a one-off meal delivery would suit you better than a regular subscription, take your pick of our favourite restaurant kits, from DIY burger kits to the best vegetarian meal kits and boxes.
Founded in 2012, Gousto’s premise is to ‘make it joyfully simple to create delicious meals at home’. Boxes can contain two to four recipes and arrive with pre-measured, fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes that should suit any skill level.
Choice: Gousto offers an impressively wide choice of over 50 recipes in its weekly changing menu, making it an easy long-term meal-planning solution without repetition. From a speedy 10-minute stir-fry to an hour-long stew, there are options for busy midweek meals as well as more relaxed weekend options. Recipes can be easily filtered by healthy choices, dietary requirements and number of servings.
Occasion: Although there are a range of recipes to suit various occasions, Gousto mainly focuses on everyday wholesome meals, useful for busy professionals and families looking for convenience. It is also ideal for beginner to intermediate cooks who are looking for new recipe inspiration to liven up their culinary repertoire.
Quality: All the ingredients are high-quality, especially the British-sourced meat and seasonal veg. Refrigerated components are kept fresh in an ‘eco chill box’ – the first of its kind in the UK. Ingredients are clearly labelled and recipe card instructions are easy-to-follow, with pictures for guidance. We enjoy all finished recipes; our favourite is a flavourful vegan chickpea curry. Portion sizes are generous and the extra herb and seed garnishes are a nice touch.
Packaging and delivery: Recipe box deliveries are managed by the Yodel service, which sends regular text updates and allows you to choose a safe place for the box to be left. You can customise the chosen delivery day as well as frequency (weekly, fortnightly, monthly or temporary halt).
Gousto state that ‘most of the packaging’ used in its recipe boxes is ‘fully recyclable, or biodegradable’. All cardboard originates from FSC-certified sustainable sources, while other recyclable elements include the plastic pots, tins, recipe cards and ice packs. Although there is still quite a lot of plastic around smaller food items, Gousto is continually updating packaging; in the last year, its amount of plastic for sauce packets was reduced by 50 per cent and for herbs by 25 per cent.
Value for money: Gousto is affordable and the more you order, the better value it is per portion – for example, a box of four meals for four people is the lowest price at £2.98 per serving, compared with £6.25 for two meals to feed two.
Since 2015, Mindful Chef has been delivering healthy recipe boxes (think minimal sugar and refined carbs) across the UK. The name ‘Mindful’ applies to both its approach to healthy eating and its values – it uses only ethically sourced produce, is a certified B-Corporation, and donates a school meal to a child living in poverty for every meal it sells.
There’s an impressive variety of meals to choose from (with plenty of vegan and pescatarian options), and you can add up to five recipes per box (plus whether to serve two or four). Meals feature 100 per cent grass-fed, free-range meats and sustainably sourced fish, and produce from ethically minded small farms and independent producers. Everything in our recipe box is fresh and high-quality, and perishable ingredients are kept chilled with eco-friendly cotton insulation and ice packs. Recipes are easy to follow and the end results are delicious and heartily portioned.
These are recipe boxes for those who want interesting, varied healthy meals that don’t compromise on quality. Pricing is reasonable and not much more than you’d pay for a supermarket ready meal.
Read our full review of Mindful Chef recipe boxes here.
A giant in the recipe box industry, HelloFresh is one of the leading recipe box brands, delivering simple meals with quality ingredients.
HelloFresh has a large selection of recipes to choose from and a variety of ways to customise your delivery to suit your tastes, including vegetarian, quick or family boxes. You can customise the portion size from two to four people and the number of recipes from three to five – requiring a higher commitment than some of the other services, which let you start at just two boxes.
The ingredients are top-quality and perfectly fresh. Cooking is simple and stress-free, with detailed instructions suitable for beginners. We enjoy the variety of dishes and flavour combinations that we wouldn’t necessarily think to put together ourselves, with the only ingredients not included being oil, salt and pepper.
The ingredients arrive perfectly chilled in insulated packaging, which was mostly recyclable. It’s worth noting that not all the ingredients recommended for the fridge come in the chilled pack, so be sure to double-check all the packaging for anything else that needs to be refrigerated.
Overall, HelloFresh is great value for money, particularly for novice chefs or busy families.
Read our full review of HelloFresh recipe boxes here.
This chef-led recipe box subscription, launched in autumn 2020, is an upmarket option that brings seasonal ingredients from restaurant suppliers into your home, along with tips from some of the UK’s most influential chefs. These boxes are all about recreating restaurant-quality meals at home for a weekend treat or special occasion, complete with thoughtful extras.
The stylish site offers a simple choice between a rotating meat, fish and vegetarian option, that include the likes of caramelised rabbit legs, steamed pollock or wild spring mushroom spelt crêpes. Deliveries are every fortnight and each box is created for two diners.
Ingredients come from restaurant suppliers, so fresh market produce is guaranteed. Portions are extremely generous, and each element of the dish (meat/fish, sides, sauce, dressing) is given the same attention. All ingredients are provided and cooking instructions are thorough, with extra chefs tips.
Though at the top end of the price range, this is a restaurant-quality meal that’s designed to make an evening of it, and the little extras make it extra special.
Read our full review of the Wild Radish recipe box subscription here.
Guy Singh-Watson’s organic farm in Devon has long been supplying fresh fruit and veg boxes direct from the farm to your doorstep. Recently, the business has gone one step further and now offers seasonal recipe boxes for a true farm-to-plate experience.
Riverford’s boxes are ideal for two people or families who want to eat seasonally, while being adventurous and healthy. Though there aren’t many recipes to choose from, the dishes are diverse. There are three vegan and three vegetarian options, plus two meat, one prime-cut meat and two family meal choices (the latter serves four, whereas all others serve two). You can select if you want a one-off delivery or opt in for every week, fortnight or month.
Portioned out pieces of meat and high-quality organic veg are kept cool until arrival, nestled beside bespoke Riverford pots of the exact amount required of oils, seeds, pulses and other dried goods. The cooking instructions, complete with clear images, are clear to follow and portion sizes are very generous. Due to environmental commitments, the boxes are delivered on specific days depending on your postcode. There is minimal packaging, and, as with its veg boxes, Riverford collects the boxes the following week when in the area to recycle and reuse.
Though at the more expensive end of the scale compared to other recipe boxes, the portion sizes are generous and the quality of produce is very high, making this a great-value recipe box.
Read our full review of the Riverford Organic recipe box subscription here.
Kurami is a premium meal delivery service offering eclectic menus that are nutritionist-approved (with a focus on gut health), chef-crafted and freshly prepared.
We try the ‘signature mealpath’ which offers everything you need for a full day of eating: breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack and drink. This option comes in at around 1,600 calories, or there’s an alternative calorie-controlled plan (1,300 calories). All of Kurami’s meals are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugars.
Each meal offers an enjoyable variety of grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. If you’re eager to try some new flavours such as sorghum, teff and turmeric milk, you’ll certainly find them here. While the meals are satisfying – we especially recommend the teff pancakes – the calorie count is on the low end, and we do find a few extra snacks are needed to keep sustained throughout the day.
Meals are delivered every morning, and the beautifully crafted box feels luxurious. All of Kurami’s packaging is 100 per cent recyclable and the company is certified plastic neutral. The signature mealpath is £39.40 per day, but you can reduce your number of meals for a less expensive option. Kurami is certainly a more premium service, but for those who might be struggling with certain food intolerances or gut health issues, the Kurami meal plans could be a great way to explore new flavours while learning how to manage your health requirements.
Read our full review of the Kurami meal delivery service here.
Planty is a meal delivery service providing 100 per cent plant-based, chef-prepared meals designed to help their customers to eat more plants. Customers build their own Planty box, choosing six, eight or 10 plant-based meals from its online menu. Meals are fresh-frozen and delivered to your door on your chosen date. They can then be stored in your freezer and simply reheated in the oven or microwave as desired.
The company offers a good range of meal options, including classics like shepherd’s pie to more unusual combinations like butternut mango madras or BBQ banana blossom burrito (one of our favourites).
The meals are simple, tasty and we appreciate the clear nutritional signposting. Quite a few of the meals are on the spicy side, which we enjoy but might not be to everyone’s taste. It’s also worth nothing that for a main meal, some of the options are on the lower protein end, so it’s important to be aware of this within the context of your daily requirements.
All of Planty’s packaging is 100 per cent recyclable, compostable or reusable, and the company allows you to return packaging free of charge so that it can be reused. Prices start at £4.95 per meal as a subscription or £5.45 per meal as a one-off purchase.
Read our full review of the Planty meal delivery service here.