Kitchen & Cooking

This meal kit is super affordable—but is it any good?

EveryPlate meals cost less than a latte.

This meal kit is super affordable—but is it any good? Credit: Getty / Mizina / EveryPlate

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More people are cooking at home than ever before—at least in recent months. Some have embraced isolation as an exciting time to try new recipes, learn new techniques, and really dive deep into the experience. But for many, the regular grind of working, living, and eating at home has given them cooking fatigue. Combine that with the stress of having to shop in bulk or order groceries online, and you’ve got a recipe for disappointing dinners.

Meal kits, ideally, fill that gap. We’ve tested a dozen of the best meal kits on the market, many of which claim to save you time, money, and stress when it comes to preparing dinner (and sometimes lunch) each day. But some kits aren’t as affordable as advertised—we’ve seen meals climb to $13 or more per serving, which starts to rival take-out prices. And during lean times, it can be hard to justify that investment.

Enter: EveryPlate. The HelloFresh-owned meal kit brand prides itself on affordability, with most meals priced at just $4.99 per serving. But is “the affordable meal kit for everyone” too good to be true? I tested a box in my own kitchen to find out.

How does EveryPlate work?

EveryPlate Stuffed Peppers
Credit: EveryPlate

EveeryPlate's meals, like their spicy stuffed peppers, only cost $4.99 per serving.

EveryPlate is a meal kit subscription service like most others—once you register for an account, you’ll have a plan with a fixed number of recipes and ingredients delivered straight to your door every week. Currently, EveryPlate offers two-person and four-person plans. Two-person plans can choose to have three, four, or five meals delivered per week, while four-person plans can only have three meals per week. Users can change their plan at any time, and skip weeks they don’t want shipments.

EveryPlate is focused on no-frills affordability and not specific diet plans, which means their meals may not suit everyone. Their weekly menu has 12 rotating options to choose from, with one or two “premium” options included. When tested, EveryPlate offered two vegetarian meals per week, but with no promise of vegan meals.

Many of the more established meal kits we’ve tested offer upwards of 20 meals per week, many for meat-free and other specialty diets, so EveryPlate can’t yet compete with their meal variety. However, EveryPlate did promise very quick cook times, claiming most meals take just 30 to 35 minutes to prepare.

How much does EveryPlate cost?

The main draw of EveryPlate is its competitive pricing, with the lowest average cost of any meal kit we’ve tested. Most EveryPlate meals cost just $4.99 per serving, with some premium meals closer to $6.99. For a couple ordering three, four, or five meals per week, they would pay $29.94, $39.92, or $49.90, respectively, as well as an additional $8.99 for shipping. For a family of four, the standard cost is $59.88 for three dinners, plus shipping.

Although shipping is included past a certain price point for many other meal kits, the average cost of EveryPlate meals means they still have competitors beat on price. The top-performing meal kits we’ve tested cost anywhere from $7.99 to $11.99 per serving for two-person meals, with an average weekly cost of about $60 for three meals. Compare that to EveryPlate’s $39 weekly cost including shipping, and the winner is obvious.

I cooked with EveryPlate for a week—here’s what happened

EveryPlate box upon delivery
Credit: Reviewed / Cassidy Olsen

I was happy with my EveryPlate box delivery—except for the split zucchini.

To see if EveryPlate’s meal quality was actually as good as their pricing, I ordered a week of dinners for myself and my partner to cook at home. I chose Hibachi-Style Steak Rice Bowls with Zucchini, Onion, and Spicy Special Sauce, Apricot Dijon Chicken Legs with Roasted Carrots and Lemon Garlic Couscous, and Creamy Peppercorn Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots. Including shipping, the box came out to $38.93.

I couldn’t choose my meals until after I had already subscribed, which I thought was a little odd—the EveryPlate menu is otherwise available to anyone on their website. There were also a lot of carrot and chicken recipes on that weekly menu (hence my chicken-heavy selections), but I didn’t mind. I ordered, waited for the delivery, and got to cooking.

My box was delivered right on time via FedEx, and it arrived intact and undamaged, with the freezer packs still well-frozen. I was pleased to see that there wasn’t a lot of wasteful packaging inside—the vegetables were packaged in a sort of half-carton made of cardboard, and the loose ingredients were kept in one plastic bag. There were three cardstock meals cards with images for every step in the recipe.

However, this did make it harder to figure out what I needed for each meal, as some other meal kits package everything besides meat in special meal bags. (It’s hard to balance sustainability with usability).

EveryPlate meat
Credit: Reviewed / Cassidy Olsen

The meat came packed separately, closest to the freezer packs.

The meat was packaged separately, closest to the freezer packs. While I was pleased with the quality of most ingredients, the zucchini for the rice bowls was split in half and looked dried-out and inedible. It went in the trash, while the rest of the ingredients went in the fridge.

Here’s how each of the meals actually turned out. Full disclosure: Because of my weird quarantine schedule, I opted to prepare these meals for lunches instead of dinners.

Creamy Peppercorn Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots

EveryPlate Peppercorn Chicken
Credit: EveryPlate

Creamy Peppercorn Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots.

I began with the creamy peppercorn chicken recipe because it seemed straightforward enough for a weekday lunch. Every step of the recipe was familiar to me—roasting vegetables in the oven, pan-frying chicken, and making a pan sauce were all easy as pie. It took 40 minutes to make exactly, which is the same time listed on the card.

The only step I got caught up on was crushing the peppercorns for the sauce. The recipe advised smashing them in a bag with a rolling pin or mallet, and this was much harder than I anticipated. I didn’t have the patience to crush the peppercorns as finely as was probably recommended, so my sauce was much too peppery and crunchy to fully enjoy.

EveryPlate Peppercorn Chicken
Credit: Reviewed / Cassidy Olsen

I didn't love the peppercorn sauce on this chicken dish.

I also would have opted to bake rather than fry the chicken, as the oven was on anyway and pan-fried plain chicken tends to dry out. Yes, I know the searing was important for the pan sauce, but that’s how I would have done it were it my own recipe.

I was also disappointed by the small portion sizes on the chicken. Ultimately, I rated this meal 6 out of 10 stars, while my partner gave it a 7 out of 10.

Apricot Dijon Chicken Legs with Roasted Carrots and Lemon Garlic Couscous

EveryPlate Apricot Dijon Chicken Legs
Credit: EveryPlate

Apricot Dijon Chicken Legs with Roasted Carrots and Lemon Garlic Couscous.

Unlike the middling peppercorn chicken, I was really blown away by this balanced, yummy recipe. Because bone-in chicken tends to stay much more moist than breasts, these chicken legs weren’t dry at all, and the couscous was really flavorful. It took about 40 minutes to make altogether.

I also loved apricot-dijon dressing that added sweetness and depth to an otherwise simple meal. I didn’t struggle with any of the steps, either, save for my oven not getting quite hot enough to fully brown the chicken (I don’t have a top-broiler, unfortunately).

EveryPlate Apricot Dijon Chicken Legs
Credit: Reviewed / Cassidy Olsen

This apricot chicken dish (sans carrots) was my favorite meal of the box.

I don’t make couscous much on my own, but I think I will more now! My one complaint is that, like the other meals, the portion sizes here were small. They suited lunch well, but if I were making dinner, I would want leftovers. Otherwise, 9 out of 10 stars for both of us.

Hibachi-Style Steak Rice Bowls with Zucchini, Onion, and Spicy Special Sauce

EveryPlate Hibachi Rice Bowls
Credit: EveryPlate

Hibachi-Style Steak Rice Bowls with Zucchini, Onion, and Spicy Special Sauce.

My partner was the least excited about this recipe, so we saved it for last—but I think we were both pleasantly surprised by the results. I wasn’t sure what “hibachi-style” really meant before cooking, but it referred to everything being pan-fried over high heat.

This recipe called for the zucchini we had to toss upon opening the box, so I doubled the onion instead (in the future, I would probably replace it with carrot or another hearty vegetable). It was a lot of chopping—so you’ll need patience or a food processor.

EveryPlate Hibachi Rice Bowls
Credit: Reviewed / Cassidy Olsen

These rice bowls were the most filling meal of the box.

The final bowls (which took about 35 minutes to make) were a bit oily for my liking. However, the flavors were strong and the portions were better than they were for the other meals in this box. I was also happy with the quality of the beef, which is something meal kits tend to skimp on. Overall, we both gave this recipe 7 out of 10 stars.

Is EveryPlate worth it?

If you’re looking to dive into meal kits for the first time or just take a break from your usual dinner routine, EveryPlate is a solid option—especially if cost is your primary concern. Other meal kits can become prohibitively expensive, and EveryPlate’s affordable, no-frills approach is certainly refreshing.

Each meal we tested had high-quality ingredients, and the company has flexible plans and an easy-to-navigate website. Their recipes are also easy to follow and don’t take too much time out of your day.

However, EveryPlate’s limited meal variety means their plans aren’t great for those with dietary restrictions, save for flexible vegetarians. Their portion sizes are also too small for people who need more than the average calorie intake. If you’re looking for more variety, you’d be better off trying Home Chef, Sun Basket, or another one of the best meal kits we’ve tested.

Sign up for EveryPlate from $4.99 per meal

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