On-demand dining apps such as UberEATS and BiteSquad have saved me from succumbing to day-old office doughnuts.
Now, a slew of meal delivery kits—complete with dinner recipes and fresh ingredients, often chopped and premeasured—take it a step further for folks who still want to cook but are short on time. Add to that the onslaught of monthly subscription boxes of everything from small-batch coffee roasters to artisan chocolate and the whole digital dining revolution makes one thing clear: I may never have to leave my house again.
Here’s a breakdown of the keepers.
Four favorite weekly fresh-meal (i.e., never frozen) delivery services and ready-to-cook kits promise to make dinner easier—with portion control and less food waste.
Best for Time-pressed home cooks
Instacart + Allrecipes (allrecipes.com)
The lowdown: Downtown’s Allrecipes.com and San Francisco–based Instacart, a retail delivery service with personal shoppers, partnered so that you can order ingredients for an Allrecipes dish and have them delivered within one hour from the grocer (Metropolitan Market, Safeway, QFC and Whole Foods). Look for recipes connected to Instacart.
On the menu: From carne asada tacos to World’s Best Lasagna.
What it costs: Price per meal depends on what you have in your pantry. Wine pairing suggestions and reviews from more people than you could ever want (9,587 and counting for World’s Best Lasagna) are included, too.
Summer squash polenta skillet
The lowdown: San Francisco–based Gobble claims you can use its gourmet kit to make dinner in 10 minutes or less. How? No prep. Its staff has shopped and chopped ingredients for you, so the meal can be made in one pan in less time than it takes to agree on takeout.
On the menu: Michael Mina protégé Thomas Ricci designs dishes ranging from Thai green curry to kid-friendly squash and polenta skillet. Three meals a week for two or four diners.
What it costs: Meals start at $11.95 a person. Store them in the fridge for up to five days.
Related: 4 Local Monthly Subscription Services to Try
Purple Carrot (thepurplecarrot.com)
Kabocha apple shawarma
The lowdown: Plant-based ingredients for meals with no meat, eggs or dairy and with the blessing of former New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman, who left the Times in 2015 to co-navigate this clean-eating option on the meal-kit scene.
On the menu: Healthy but flavorful dishes, such as kabocha apple shawarma with cilantro-parsley zhoug, caught our eye, as did the additional treat (lemon-kissed blondie bites) that’s big enough to keep in the fridge and snack on all week.
What it costs: $68 feeds two people three times a week; $74 feeds four twice a week.
Smokey sweet potato pita pockets
The lowdown: British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver backs this monthly meal delivery site, whose boxes include a recipe and premeasured ingredients. All you do is specify if you’re feeding two or four people, if they’re omnivores or vegetarians and how many meals a week. Cooking times rarely exceed 40 minutes, and the key here is the simplicity of the meals.
On the menu: A wide variety of dishes, from lemony salmon and linguine to pork and apple burgers with rosemary potatoes.
What it costs: Starts at $8.75 per person.