Meal kit delivery services are a great way to introduce new dishes into your weekly meal rotation without driving yourself crazy with meal planning or shopping. Meal kits allow you to enjoy tasty, healthy meals at home, even if you’re on a tight schedule, and cooking is usually the first thing to get sacrificed. Home Chef and Dinnerly are two meal delivery services that can make your life easier and more delicious!
About Home Chef Vs. Dinnerly
Home Chef and Dinnerly are two popular meal kit delivery services that offer their customers tasty, easy-to-prepare meals without the fuss and stress of looking for recipes, meal planning, or making yet another trip to the grocery store.
Home Chef was founded in 2013, just a short time after some of the other big names in meal delivery hit the market. Their goal has always been to provide meal kits that taste wonderful and are packed with the freshest ingredients. Over time, Home Chef has evolved to include more sophisticated recipes in their weekly menus and also a selection of meals that are ready to heat and eat by just popping them in the oven.
Compared to Home Chef, Dinnerly is a much younger player in the game. Dinnerly was founded in 2017. This was right about the time that it became obvious that there was a demographic that was extremely underserved in the meal delivery market. That demographic was individuals and families that desperately wanted to try meal delivery, but the costs just didn’t fit into their budget. Today, Dinnerly is one of the most budget-friendly options for meal kit delivery services.
Table of Contents
Anyone who is following a special diet or is living with a food allergy understands how difficult it is to find convenient meal options that are also compliant. The same issue applies to eating out, with very few restaurants truly being able to accommodate a range of dietary needs. Both Home Chef and Dinnerly offer convenient meal kits that are designed to rival some restaurant meals, but do they stand up to your dietary preferences?
Home Chef offers meal kits that fit into several special dietary categories, including carb-conscious, vegetarian meals, and calorie-conscious low-calorie meals. If any of these categories fit your dietary needs, Home Chef makes it easy for you to just click on your option to bring up a menu of weekly meal choices.
For calorie-conscious and carb-conscious meals, Home Chef offers a decent selection of five to ten meals, on average. Their vegetarian options are honestly a little dismal, offering only a couple of options plus a few snacks, desserts, and drinks.
Home Chef does clearly mark all of their meal kits if they contain any of the main allergens, so you can choose meals that are gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free. However, all of these meals are prepared in the same facility, so there is a strong potential for cross-contamination.
Dinnerly doesn’t offer special menus as Home Chef does. However, within their regular weekly menu, you’ll find more vegetarian options that are actually delicious meals rather than snacks and treats.
Dinnerly also tags all of their meals with dietary details so you can easily spot the meals you want to enjoy and the ones you want to avoid. Dinnerly tags meals with descriptions such as gluten-free meals or with no added gluten, dairy-free, healthy, low-carb, and nutritious meals.
Like Home Chef, Dinnerly meals are all prepared in the same facility, so there is always a risk of cross-contamination. You might want to avoid both of these meal kit companies and look for other options if you have a severe food allergy.
Meal Prep & Variety
There are a couple of main reasons that people choose to subscribe to meal delivery services. The first is the convenience factor. We’re not just talking about saving time with grocery shopping and meal planning but also saving time and stress in the kitchen by providing delicious dinners that keep away the temptation of easy, fast food.
The second most common reason that people choose meal kit delivery services is to avoid the boredom that comes from trying to plan meals week after week, only to end up eating the same thing repeatedly. Both Dinnerly and Home Chef do a good job of offering easy-to-make meal kits, with a wide variety to choose from.
Home Chef averages more than two dozen meal kits to choose from each week, with an added selection of extras to fill in the gaps between mealtimes. Home Chef meals take an average of 30-45 minutes to prepare, with a few outliers on either end of the spectrum.
If you’re looking for super convenience, Home Chef does offer a few easy-to-prepare meal kits, including 15-minute meal kits and a few that take just a bit longer. There might not be enough in this category to fill out an entire week of meals, but they are nice for those days when you’re super short on time. Home Chef also offers a smaller selection of oven-ready meals. With these, all you need to do is pop them in the oven and wait. They’re zero fuss and zero mess.
Dinnerly offers a larger selection of weekly meals than Home Chef. On average, you’ll find close to forty meal kits on the menu, plus a small handful of extras for breakfast, desserts, and snacks.
Dinnerly doesn’t list how long each meal takes on their menu page, which means you have to do a little digging around to find the quickest meal kits if you’re on a tight schedule come dinnertime. However, if you look closely, you’ll see that Dinnerly does offer simplified meal kits. They include selections that are one-pot meals, sheet pan meals, zero slicing, dicing, or other knife skills required.
Healthy meals start with great, fresh ingredients. When you order a box from a meal delivery service, you’re trusting that the ingredients included are top-notch. Dinnerly and Home Chef both strive to provide their customers with the best quality they can provide for the price point that they offer.
If you’re looking for organic ingredients, that isn’t really a priority for either of these meal kit delivery services. Home Chef is committed to providing the absolute best and freshest ingredients by working with trusted partners that are respected for their quality reputation. Home Chef doesn’t guarantee that their ingredients are organic or non-GMO, but they do commit to them being of superior quality. Home Chef is also a responsible partner in the humane treatment of animals.
Likewise, Dinnerly also doesn’t focus on organic or non-GMO ingredients with their meal options. However, Dinnerly has great customer satisfaction for the quality of their ingredients, which is impressive considering the economical price point of their meals.
Dinnerly says that they only source their ingredients from trusted partners. However, there isn’t a lot of transparency on their website about who those trusted partners are.
Taste & Sample Meals
A meal kit delivery service is only as good as the taste and quality of their meals, so how does Home Chef Vs. Dinnerly stack up?
Home Chef offers a good variety of meals in flavors that lean toward classic but with a bit of uniqueness to make them stand out. Home Chef meals like their Pretzel Crusted Chicken, Salmon with Dill Butter, and Garlic Ginger Shrimp with Coconut Risotto are flavorful and perfect for picky eaters or families who are looking for kid-friendly meals options.
Home Chef also offers a category of what they call their Culinary Collection. These meals are elevated in taste and presentation, resembling dishes you’d find at your favorite restaurant. These meals typically take a little longer to prepare, averaging around 40-45 minutes for each meal kit. A few examples of these Home Chef meals include Seared Salmon with Pickled Ginger Scallion Sauce, Steak with Porcini White Wine Sauce, and Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi with Sweet Chili Sauce.
Dinnerly meals are a little less varied in tastes than Home Chef. They tend to stick to familiar, comfort food style dishes, with most meals being well-liked across American dinner tables. If you have a picky eater in your dinner crowd, there’s a good chance you won’t have trouble finding something they’ll enjoy on the Dinnerly menu.
Dinnerly’s weekly menu is larger than Home Chef’s, so there is no shortage of choices for your weekly box. A few favorites that we spotted on Dinnerly’s menu include their French Onion Seared Pan Steak, Lemony Chicken & Broccoli, and the Spring Fettucine Alfredo with Asparagus.
There are also usually a few selections to satisfy your sweet tooth with Dinnerly. The Black & White Cookies or Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars are always a hit.
|Type of Meal||Cost Per Serving|
|Culinary Collection||$12.95 to $13.95|
|Protein Packs||$4.37 to $9.99|
|Meals Per Week||2-person Box||Family Box|
In order for a meal kit service to work for you, it has to fit into your budget. Both Home Chef and Dinnerly are in the category of more economical meal delivery options.
Home Chef is affordable, but its pricing scale falls more toward the center of the spectrum for meal delivery. Most meal delivery subscriptions structure their pricing so that the larger the meal plan you choose, the greater your savings. Home Chef generally offers the same pricing across the board, no matter the size of your order. This is advantageous for singles and couples who don’t want or need a huge box of meal kits each week.
Home Chef gives their customers the option of choosing a six, four, or two-person box. You can also choose how many meals per week you want to order. Home Chefs offers the choice of two, three, four, five, or six meals per week.
When you order from Home Chef, you’ll pay around $8.99 per portion (prices subject to change). The one bit of their pricing structure that does change is how much they charge for shipping. Larger orders benefit from a lower flat rate shipping charge, while the shipping fee for smaller orders is a few dollars more.
Dinnerly is one of the most affordable meal services on the market today. They follow the sliding scale with their pricing, offering larger orders a per serving discount. Even at the highest end of Dinnerly’s price range, you’re going to pay a couple of dollars less per serving than you will with Home Chef.
Dinnerly offers you the choice of choosing a meal kit that’s designed for two or four people. From there, you choose if you want to receive three, four, five, or six meals per week. The smallest box, which serves two meals for two people, costs in the ballpark of $6.39 per portion. The largest box, which is six meals for four people, is only $4.99 per portion. These are healthy meals for less than even a fast food meal.
Dinnerly also charges a flat rate shipping charge, that’s the same no matter how small or larger your order is.
Packaging & Recycling
It’s important for your meal boxes to be packages to maintain freshness during transit, but most people also don’t want to deal with a bunch of packaging that they feel guilty about throwing away instead of recycling. Here is how Home Chef and Dinnerly Stack up in the packaging department.
Home Chef attempts to minimize its packaging without sacrificing the quality and integrity of its meal kits. However, they still use quite a bit of plastic packaging compared to other meal kit delivery services. Home Chef does offer easy-to-follow instructions on their website on how to best recycle or reuse their packaging, including their ice packs which are both reusable and recyclable.
Dinnerly really streamlines their packaging as much as possible without sacrificing the quality of your delivery. One way that Dinnerly is able to offer such low prices is that they minimize packaging as much as possible. This is great from a waste standpoint. There are fewer resources going into the packaging, and there’s also less to dispose of.
The downside to Dinnerly’s streamlined packaging is that things aren’t always clearly labeled, and there can sometimes be a bit of guesswork as to which ingredients go with which meal.
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to deal with customer service departments at all, but this is often not the case. For the most part, the main area of customer service that customers are concerned with is how easy it is to manage their accounts online without having to actually contact the customer service department.
Home Chef makes it easy to skip weeks, pause or cancel your subscription. This can all be done from the customer’s account page on their site. It’s also easy to reactivate your account without having to go through the entire process of signing up again if you decide you want to enjoy more Home Chef meals in the future.
Likewise, Dinnerly also makes it easy to manage your account, and you’re never going to feel like you’re stuck with a subscription service you don’t want. The one downside to Dinnerly regarding customer service is that their customer service reviews seemed to take a bit of a nosedive over the past year or two.
In the battle of Home Chef Vs. Dinnerly, we give the grand trophy to Home Chef for being one of the best meal delivery services in the industry. Home Chef pretty much nails it in most categories, especially the most important ones like the taste, variety, and convenience.
That said, both companies have a lot to offer, and it’s hard to deny the importance of Dinnerly for offering the most affordable meal kits for those working with a budget (and who isn’t these days!).
The meal delivery service you feel is best for your household might not match our choice for the best meal kit delivery. Here are some things to consider when making your choice.
Choose Home Chef if you:
- Like the option to order oven-ready meals along with your meal kits
- Are Interested in elevated meal kit options to enhance your cooking skills
- Like the idea of not being penalized by paying more for a smaller order
- Appreciate super fresh, super high-quality ingredients
- Have picky eaters in your group but don’t want to sacrifice unique flavors
- Want large, colorful recipes cards that make meal preparation easy and fun
Choose Dinnerly if you:
- Are interested in trying new cooking techniques
- Like the idea of also having the option of heat & eat meals
- Are looking for meals that are full of flavor and seek an elevated taste
- Customer service is a priority for you
- Enjoy super fresh ingredients and generous portions