Meal Kit Review: Dinnerly Comes Out Next to Last

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I put out trying Dinnerly to the last, because I’ve read so many bad reviews of it that I wasn’t eager to try it. Still, I wanted to be thorough and Dinnerly was cheap enough (specially with the promo I found) to be worth a try. Alas, it ended up being my second-to-last least favorite service (to borrow a phrase from Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi’s). It’s only because Purple Carrot was a complete fail, that Dinnerly is not at the bottom of my list.

That said, there wasn’t anything intrinsically wrong with Dinnerly. Two of the three dishes I made were average to good and the last one was still edible. But the recipes where boring, too fatty and they included things I could easily make on my own if I liked that kind of food. I don’t think I’d try Dinnerly again, even with a promo code (something I can’t say about any other meal kit company save for Purple Carrot).

Dinnerly is the budget option of Martha & Marley Spoon – a mid-price meal kit company. I wasn’t a big fan of that service either.

The Plans

Dinnerly has a 2 person plan and a 4 person “family” plan. You can order 3 to 5 kits per week. Regardless of what plan you chose or how many kits you order, the per person price is $5 (so a 2-person kit is $10 and a 4-person kit is $20). There is a $9 shipping fee (again, regardless of how much you order), so the actual per person cost for the typical 3-kits-for-2 subscription is $6.50.

The Food

Dinnerly offers 8 different meal kits per week, including 3 vegetarian ones. Only occasionally one of those kits is vegan.

The food seems to be all American fare, the sort of food I stereotypically would imagine appears in a midwestern homes. Not that I haven’t cooked these same dishes myself – it’s just stuff I’m not necessarily eager to make or eat. And if I was to make them, I wouldn’t need or want a kit. I’m sure there is a market for this food, it’s just not me.

On the plus side, the recipes were very simple to make and, because they have so few ingredients, very quick to prep. Two of them were also pretty tasty.

While I’ve read complaints that people did not receive all their ingredients, I got all of mine – and everything was fresh. Indeed, the burger buns were fine a week after I got my kit. Dinnerly makes their meal affordable by limiting the number of ingredients, and requiring that you provide ingredients that other kits include – vinegar, for example. Dinnerly also doesn’t provide beef except as ground beef, and then its portions are 4-oz per person, while most other meal kits give 5-oz of meat per person.

The Packaging

Dinnerly sends its kits in the standard cardboard box. Refrigerated ingredients are at the bottom of the box, between freezer packs, while the rest of the ingredients are dumped on top.

They are not separated by recipe, but there were few enough of them that it was easy enough to pick up the needed ingredients as I needed them.

Unfortunately, Dinnerly uses a very large box (Plated, for example, has moved to a small box, which presumably takes less energy and most definitely less cardboard). On the plus side, the liner seems to be the same that Marley Spoon uses which is recyclable (at least in theory). Even better, the two freezer packs are made of non-toxic water soluble material that can be poured down the sink.

These are the 3 meals I made:

The Results

Burger with Dijonnaise and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

7/10 – Tasty burger and nice potato fries.

Italian White Bean Tostadas with Zucchini & Roasted Pepper Salsa

7/10 – Tasty enough for my vegan daughter

Fettuccine Alfredo with Garlic Broccoli

3/10 – A total and complete waste of calories. Big fail

I was able to get my first Dinnerly box for $19 (regularly $39), which made it a good deal. Still, it’s not one I’d repeat.

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