We all love good food, but creating a delicious meal doesn't start with kitchen prep. Instead, the home cook also needs to embark on the great task of grocery shopping. Not so with those who receive a grocery subscription box to their door.
Cooking subscription boxes enhance the joy of cooking and baking by providing you with unique and unusual angles on your daily dishes and desserts. Get a weekly or monthly box delivered straight to your door without the detour to the grocery store.
But, what is the best subscription box for you? Do you want a standard kitchen box, a meat-based box (like Butcher Box), or a specially curated box designed to tickle your taste buds? Below, I'll take you through some of the services box subscribers can pay for. I'll also look at some of the specifications you should look for before subscribing.
Our Top Cooking Subscription Boxes
1. Blue Apron (Editor's Choice)
- Best Match For: People wanting to up their cooking game with chef-designed recipes and meal kits with pre-measured responsibly sourced non-GMO ingredients.
- Commitment Level: Subscription with weekly delivery
- Availability: The contiguous US (No Alaska or Hawaii)
- Value: $8.99-$9.99/serving; Free shipping for orders of 3 recipes per week (each serves 2 people) or 2 recipes for Signature for 4 meal plan (each serves 4 people); $7.99 shipping fee for orders that don't match the criteria.
- Type: Meal kits with responsibly sourced fresh ingredients (needs to be cooked), delicious wines paired with selected recipes, exotic spice blends, and top-quality cookware
Did you know that Blue Apron refers to the cloth piece used for chefs worldwide while in training?
This company's philosophy is to make everyone rediscover the joy of cooking through easy-to-follow recipes requiring less than 30 minutes to prepare.Plans are flexible, and vegetarians, allergies, and diets are taken care of.
Blue Apron is on a mission to build a more sustainable food system. They have more than meal kits on their plate – such as Market, where you can buy cool kitchen utensils, a wine program with delicious drops perfectly matching your meals, and Premium Recipes teaching you advanced cooking techniques.
Read our full review of Blue Apron.
2. Piquant Post
- Best match for: Nomadic souls wanting to take a taste trip around the world without leaving their kitchen.
Few things invoke memories like smells and tastes. With spice blends that transport you to the local taqueria in a small Mexican village or a sunny Jamaican beach bar, Piquant Post sends you fresh ground spices that will make you discover new flavors and taste sensations. Perfect for spicing up your life and broadening your taste horizons!
This monthly subscription service lets you order select boxes of spices to take your meals from bland to bountiful in taste. The herbs and spice mixes are free from salt, letting you enjoy dishes with full flavor without your health taking a toll. You get three to four spice blends per month.
Sign up for 6 months or 12 months to get a discount, or choose the month-by-month subscription. Cancel anytime.
3. Martha & Marley Spoon
- Best Match For: Anyone looking to cook delicious meals with carefully selected ingredients from small farms and Martha Stewart’s 6-step recipes.
- Commitment Level: Weekly subscription
- Availability: Most of the contiguous US (No Alaska or Hawaii)
- Value: $6.99-$10.99/meal; $8.99 shipping fee
- Type: Fresh meal kits (ready in 30 minutes or less)
Martha & Marley Spoon is co-owned by star chef and celebrity Martha Stewart. They deliver weekly meal kits full of fresh, crisp ingredients that are in season. And you have a generous selection – no less than 22 weekly recipes to choose from! Recipes are approved by their in-house nutritionist to guarantee that you get your nutrients on fleek.
Martha & Marley Spoon even have special categories on the menu, such as dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and less than 30 minutes. Plus, you can choose what weekday you want your meal kits delivered!
Order as many meals as you want every month or week – no commitment.
Take a closer look at Martha & Marley Spoon with our full review.
- Best Match For: People looking for bite-size organic sweets, baking mixes, and baking kits with less sugar and no artificial ingredients.
- Commitment Level: One-time orders; Subscription (5% off)
- Availability: The continental US
- Value: $5.99-$29.99/item; $7.99 shipping fee; Orders over $80 receive free shipping
- Type: Ready-to-eat mini donuts, muffins, and brownie bites; organic baking mixes and exclusive baking kits
Foodstirs is the junk-free bakery. Each week, they deliver purposeful ingredients with 25-50% less sugar than ordinary baking kits.
All ingredients are certified organic and non-GMO, and their chocolate is Fair Trade. If you can't pronounce it, it doesn't go into their baking kits! You'll recognize your childhood favorites – only that the Foodstirs version takes out the things that are not good for your body.
They have even developed their own sweetener made of natural ingredients. Perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without the 3PM slump! You can even find keto kits with fewer net carbs per serving.
Check out our full review of Foodstirs treats.
- Best match for: The kitchen aficionado wanting a unique cooking experience beyond meal kits.
CrateChef is different from your go-to food subscription service.
Every other month, you receive a subscription box containing 5-7 items from the chef of the month: be it a well-renowned chef, food blogger, cooking show star, or cookbook author.
The box contains pantry items with long shelf life (so no rush to cook!), kitchen utensils and gadgets, and sometimes even a cookbook.
You can sign up for 3 boxes, or try out a box and see what you think. We say yes to Christmas six times a year!
6. EatTia Mo
- Best match for: Lovers of Italian food (in other words: everyone) wanting to turn their kitchen into an Italian trattoria.
Eat Ti Amo specializes in subscription boxes with Italian food. Every month, you get a box of products delivered directly to your doorstep with the best from the legendary kitchen of this Mediterranean shoe-shaped country.
The box contains 6-7 exclusive delicacies from the month's featured region and easy-to-follow recipes. You can sign up for anything between 1 and 12 months, with boxes getting cheaper the longer your subscription.
Eat Ti Amo takes the popular Google search term "best Italian food near me" closer than ever – into your own kitchen! Buon appetito.
7. Ben to Table
- Best match for: The foodie feeling for traveling the world from their dinner table.
Ben to Table has an exciting concept: each month, subscribers receive a box with unusual, unique ingredients from a selected country.
Widen your horizons and discover the kitchens of countries like Cambodia, Spain, and Peru.
They describe themselves as a "personal styling service for your pantry", filling your shelves with sustainable and delicious treats you won't find in your local Walmart.
Ben to Table is on a mission to get back to the roots and revert the highly commercialized food approach.
They work with small, responsible farmers and producers searching to create a better world through your dinner table.
Founder Ben worked with social justice and environmental protection before creating Ben to Table.
It depends on what you want from it. There are boxes for healthy baking, spice blends, Italian food, and overlooked gems from international cuisines.
The cheapest meal subscription box is Dinnerly, priced at $4.99 per meal. However, in my opinion, all the meal subscription plans I've listed offer value for money, which is just as important as affordability.
Considering the amount of time you save on planning, grocery shopping, and prep work, delivery of ingredients straight to your door are worth it and can be a life-saver!
They also make excellent gifts and come in an array of different formats. Whether you have dietary restrictions, or just want to eat a healthy diet, there's a subscription plan that will meet your needs.
We love Piquant Post for taking spices to a new level, and Ben to Table for their rare, international products you won't find elsewhere. Ultimately, it depends on what you're after.
What To Look For in a Kitchen Subscription Box
While researching and trying boxes for this review, I sometimes scrolled past boxes that didn't meet my requirements. But, how do you know whether a box is right for you? How do you choose a great box subscription? Below, I'll share some things you can look for when choosing a subscription box.
- The Type of Box - Kitchen boxes come in a broad array of types. A few of the options include the following:
- Kitchen Gadget Subscription Box - A subscription option focusing on kitchen gadgets.
- Meat-based Subscription Box - subscription services like Butcher Box specialize in sustainably-sourced meat, fish, and seafood.
- Cooking (Meal & Recipe) Kitchen Box - This type of box subscription (Blue Apron, for example) provides limited quantities of pre-measured ingredients to help you make meals according to provided recipe cards. In this article, I'll focus on this type of box.
- Readymade Meal Box - This is an excellent first-box subscription for people who struggle to cook. The service provides the meals, you simply need to heat them and eat.
- The Subscription Option Sizes - Not every kitchen box caters equally well to every type of customer. Some companies have only very large orders, making them inconvenient for single people or young couples. Others only offer meals in small sizes, which isn't convenient for larger families.
- Catering to Special Needs - Many people who take a monthly subscription have dietary restrictions. If you're one of them, you need to choose a box that caters to that. Whether it's gluten-free, dairy-free, or keto, you're sure to find a service that works for you.
- Shipping Fees - Some subscription services offer free shipping on your first box or the first new box of a subscription season. While this can be tempting, it's important to look at the general shipping fees as well. If the prices are low, and the shipping is high, it makes a difference to the overall cost of every meal.
- Value For Money - One of the most essential aspects of any kind of subscription service is value for money. But, that doesn't necessarily mean cheap. After all, you get what you pay for. I look at what you pay for the quality and size of the subscription.
- Diversity - Most people don't want to eat the same thing every day, especially not for weeks or months on end. For this reason, you want to find a provider that offers plenty of options, and maybe something like a meal of the month club. This will allow you to ensure that you don't keep repeating the first box, but have access to a new box every month.
Kitchen Subscription Boxes Pros and Cons
Any sort of service has advantages and disadvantages, and this type of meal box service is no different. Below, I'll point out some of the potential highlights and disadvantages of kitchen subscription boxes.
Cooking Subscription Box: Advantages
They make an excellent gift for busy people
Many services offer free shipping on the first box
Most services have a subscribe today, send tomorrow type policy
This type of service frees up time and removes the effort from meal planning and grocery shopping
Thanks to pre-measured ingredients and well-planned recipe cards, you don't have to do much meal prep
Many of these services pay careful attention to nutritional value, as well as to obtaining high-quality, sustainably-sourced ingredients.
Your meal ingredients get shipped to your door freshly every week
Cooking Subscription Box: Disadvantages
Some subscription services don't offer a sufficient variety or many new products
In some cases, the box subscriptions are targeted at young couples or small families, which can mean some families and individuals fall through the cracks.
Unlike buying groceries at a shop, you can't see the quality of the produce, and have to rely solely on the supplier's discretion.
The meal options are often limited and even if companies cater to dietary restrictions, the restricted menus are often quite small.
In the end, finding the right subscription box is almost entirely about knowing how to choose the appropriate service. Different companies have pros and cons, but you can avoid those if you know what you're looking for. Whether you want to send a box as a gift, or just want to spice up your meal plan, the advantages far outweigh the potential disadvantages.
Cooking subscription boxes help spice up the cooking habits of home cooks on all levels. There are delivery services catering to everything you can imagine – healthy baking, exotic spice blends, kits from celebrity chefs and food bloggers, and much more!
If you want to get out of the cooking rut and join the team of home cooks enjoying dishes and flavors from faraway cultures, or just healthier versions of your everyday favorites, a cooking subscription box might be just what you need.
The services I've listed above are some of the best on the market, and each has something to recommend it. A few make great gifts, while others allow you to eat healthy food, taking care of your body without spending time you don't have. Bon appetit!
Our #1 Recommendation