It’s anything but surprising for the comparison of Home Chef vs Dinnerly to become so popular. After all, both meal delivery services, even though relatively new, have surely grabbed a lot of health-conscious eaters’ attention, irrespective of their age.
However, since both have not been on the market for too long, it’s only human nature to be more cautious, curious, and concerned about which one you choose. One thing is for certain though – both Home Chef and Dinnerly provide good food in terms of quality, freshness, flavor, and taste as well as a convenient and pleasant cooking experience at home.
It’s time to find out more about their pricing strategies, packaging materials, delivery services, menu variety, and a whole lot more! Here, we prepared a comparison for the sake of making a wise and well-informed decision as a young or old adult too busy or uninterested to cook nutritious and delicious meals at home.
Does a Meal Delivery Service Save Money and Time?
Are meal kit delivery services worth it? Do meal kits save money?
Here’s the truth about meal kits:
#1 They’re a Lot Cheaper Than Dining Out
Imagine paying $7 per serving for a single meal, be it lunch or dinner at home or in your workplace. Isn’t that way cheaper than ordering takeout?
Also, let’s not forget that when we do grocery shopping regularly to cook our own meals from scratch, we’re almost always stuck with extra or leftover ingredients/food. Where does all this go then? Into the waste bin – that’s where! Money trashed indeed.
Here’s where meal kits make a grand entrance with their preportioned serving sizes that ensure no leftovers while also satiating both your hunger and appetite.
Plus, you get top-quality and sometimes even certified organic ingredients for much less.
#2 They Save Time – Plenty of It!
Not having to do any grocery shopping and meal planning for the upcoming week sounds like you’re going to have enough time on your hands to do what you often have to skip because of tedious, time-consuming cooking in the kitchen.
All you need to do is select your meal plan, recipes, delivery day, and time, and you’re all set for the week!
You can actually learn how to cook new recipes with the help of different cooking techniques without having to spend more than 30-40 minutes in your kitchen. This is opposed to toiling away for hours cooking meals for yourself and/or family members from scratch.
At the same time, no prepping of the ingredients is happening either. They get delivered to you already chopped, sliced, diced, etc. The only thing left for you to do is cook them, for which proper, clear, and easy instructions are provided.
Home Chef vs Dinnerly – How Do They Work?
Home Chef Cost of Meal Plans
With Home Chef, you get two basic meal plans to pick from and select how many meal kits you want per week and how many servings per meal.
The two plans, roughly speaking, include meal kits with pre-measured ingredients plus cooking instructions and those meals that don’t require too much time or effort. The latter, needless to say, is perfect for you if you’re just not interested in cooking or don’t have spare time to spend in the kitchen.
You can customize both meal plans depending on your dietary needs and preferences. This includes, for example, low-carb, low-calorie, etc. diet plans or recipes that don’t contain the most common allergy-causing ingredients like soy, gluten, nuts, dairy, and the like.
As for the cost of Home Chef meal kits, you pay $9 for one serving. The entrée salads and easy, quick lunches are even cheaper, for only $7. In the same way, there are also more expensive dishes that cost $11-$18 per serving. These are the “premium” options that include costly cuts of meat or seafood.
A meal box with 3 meals per week for 4 people is priced at around $120 on Home Chef. There are fresh, raw meat protein packs available as well. This includes chicken, steak, beef, and salmon. The cost here is between $60 and $75.
Entering your details like email address, delivery address, payment information, etc. and choosing your delivery date and time are all very quick and easy with Home Chef.
|MEAL TYPE||PRICE PER SERVING|
Dinnerly Cost of Meal Plans
Even with Dinnerly, you have to choose from two different meal plans. In this case, the two options are a 2-person meal box and a family meal box for 4. Both ways, you can pick how many meals you want to be delivered per week. The 2-person plan charges around $6 per serving, and the family meal costs $5.5 per serving.
The higher the number of servings per meal, the cheaper your meal box gets. Even the least expensive plan on Dinnerly is not more than $6 per serving, and that’s certainly a lot cheaper in comparison to not just junk or takeout but also most other such meal kit delivery services.
Then you have to decide whether or not you want those recipes to be meat- or veggie-based. Type in your zip code, delivery date and time, and other sign-up details. Finally, it’s time to view the menu and choose recipes that seem to entice your taste buds.
|MEALS PER WEEK||2-PERSON MEAL PLAN||4-PERSON (FAMILY) MEAL PLAN|
|3 meals per week||$4.99 per serving||$4.99 per serving|
|4 meals per week||$4.89 per serving||$4.66 per serving|
|5 meals per week||$4.79 per serving||$4.29 per serving|
|6 meals per week||$4.59 per serving||$4.29 per serving|
Home Chef vs Dinnerly – What About Their Menu Variety?
Home Chef Recipes
On Home Chef, you can pick your healthy, yummy meals weeks in advance. The Home Chef menu refreshes every Friday, so there are new recipes to select from every single week of the month.
There are over 20-25 dishes per week, and each of these comes with a tag that tells you a lot about what kind of meal it is. A few examples include the following:
- Meal Kit
- Family Meal
- Culinary Collection
- 15-Minute Meal Kit
- Fast & Fresh
On top of that, there’s quite an appealing collection of add-ons, such as breakfast, dessert, bread, and proteins.
You can swap or modify these meals, customize the serving sizes per meal, add extra meals, and also substitute protein.
As a whole, recipes on Home Chef are simple and quick to prepare without the use of any technical or expert cooking skills. As for the variety of the menu, it’s perfect for American diets. The flavors are all familiar and classic, along with more creative choices that you may not have tried before.
The premium Home Chef meals go into the “culinary collection” category. It’s kind of obvious that these “premium” options are higher priced. Some of the dishes included in here are the following:
Expect higher-quality beef, seafood, and chicken from the premium selection. You can just as easily add one of these premium recipes to your weekly order.
The Dinnerly menu consists of a higher number of dishes per week, along with additional items like muffins, cookies, and extra protein (chicken strips, chicken breasts, ground beef, pulled pork).
Please note that the additional stuff is included as part of your weekly order, meaning if you go with five meals per week, then the extra protein option counts as one of those five meals you receive that week. In short, there’s no add-on option that you can pay an additional cost for, unlike Home Chef.
Moving on, Dinnerly’s dessert and breakfast menus are also quite limited, and only occasionally does one find snacks, specials, and the like.
At the same time, I think those with food allergies might want to know that Dinnerly doesn’t give you the option to eliminate any ingredients either. Hence, make sure to select your recipes only after thoroughly going through the ingredients list in order to avoid triggering your allergies.
During sign-up, Dinnerly asks for your preferences, so it can present to you the most suitable recipes based on your diet. On every recipe page, you’ll see tags that are quite informative, such as the following:
- One-Pot Meal
- Low Calorie
- Under 30 Minutes
- Low Carb
- No Added Gluten
Furthermore, on every recipe page, the cooking time, nutritional value, ingredients list, allergens, level of difficulty to prepare, and list of utensils and items you need for cooking are all mentioned, along with simple, numbered instructions in the form of a graphic format.
On the menu, there are both familiar and more inventive recipes. The former includes meatloaves, cheeseburgers, etc., whereas the latter can be these Low-Carb Chicken Quesadillas with Salsa. Meaning there are low-calorie and low-carb dishes with lots of comfort food options too.
Home Chef vs. Dinnerly – How Is the Cooking Process?
Aside from the packed ingredients, you get in each meal kit, the most important thing in your weekly box is the recipe cards. The recipe cards couldn’t get more informative and helpful than this. You will see printed step-by-step instructions, visuals, and any other additional tips for prepping. I found the visuals very straightforward. They clear up any confusion that generally accompanies printed text instructions, especially when cooking a relatively complicated recipe.
Home Chef’s recipe cards come with literally all the information you need about cooking time, modifications, substitutions, and additional nutritional details. There are several skill level categories on the recipe cards which you will find most helpful especially if you’re not such an expert at cooking meals at home by yourself.
Overall, I didn’t find even a single recipe that’s difficult or impossible to make. Home Chef simplifies cooking down to a grade where it requires you only the bare minimum. That means knowing how to use a knife and how to do basic vegetable cutting. Basic culinary terms that you probably aren’t familiar with will be clearly explained with the help of appropriate visuals in the recipe cards.
One thing that could be a potential inconvenience for some people is adjusting the cooking time for specific ingredients such as the proteins you want to add to the meals. Certain ingredients may not be as big or small in the meal kit as they are explained in the card’s instructions.
For example, I once received a slimmer portion of chicken meat in one meal kit and a chunkier serving in another. Naturally, the cooking time of both is going to be different. The former won’t take as long as the latter to cook, no matter what dish I’m making. I needed to adjust the cooking time slightly for the slimmer chicken portion to avoid overcooking the meat.
A simple kitchen tool like a thermometer would solve the problem effectively. This tool can also help with cooking other meat-based ingredients such as beef, poultry, seafood, etc.
Speaking of keeping things handy in the kitchen, Home Chef does not provide you with cooking oil, cooking spray, or the more basic cooking ingredients like salt and pepper.
However, sometimes, if the recipe requires other types of uncommon seasoning or oils, such as chili oil or sesame oil, those are provided. Even larger quantities of cooking oil will be provided in the meal kit if the recipe is fried chicken.
Lastly, pots, pans, mixing bowls, strainer, and other basic cooking utensils are not provided. If you have the basic essential cooking equipment at home, you don’t need to worry about buying anything specific for your Home Chef meal kits.
Having said that, it’s never a bad timing to upgrade some of your kitchenware to accompany the meal kits. This allows you to streamline your cooking more effectively with the help of nonstick pans, a cast-iron grill pan, or oven-safe dishes.
Unlike Home Chef, Dinnerly does not provide recipe cards in their meal kits. The meal kit arrives with only the packed ingredients.To sort them out, you need to install the app or open the website and plan all the meals correctly.
The ingredients are all fine and premeasured, but the absence of a recipe card leaves the entire experience of unpacking and organizing my weekly meals incomplete. I have to refer to the recipes on their app to organize all the ingredients for each recipe and store them separately.
In the case of the recipes, they are easy and straightforward to read and understand. The instructions are accompanied by pictures which make it clearer and faster to get through.
Along with the cooking instructions, there will be other details about the recipe and what I need to start cooking. If I need salt, pepper, cooking spray, or any specific cookware such as baking sheets, grill pan, etc., it’s all printed on each recipe card. There are also extra tips for beginners to enjoy the process of cooking without any fuss.
Certain things I wasn’t familiar with before I found easy to comprehend, thanks to the large pictures and straightforward instructions. Cooking techniques are explained in a novice-friendly manner. Plus, most of the meals take 25-30 minutes to make, even for someone like me who is slow at following instructions.
Home Chef vs Dinnerly – Are Customizations Possible?
Modifying Home Chef Meals
Home Chef has a gift for anyone who likes swapping ingredients while cooking a recipe. I’m talking about the proteins in the weekly meals. Home Chef lets you customize the proteins easily without paying extra or adding an extra meal unless you want to in the plan.
On their menu, you can quickly figure out which recipe is customizable. A “customize” icon or button pops up alongside the name of the recipe. That’s how you know that the proteins can be switched from chicken to something else like beef, seafood, or pork, for example.
A premium-grade protein such as steak, shrimp, or salmon might cost a little extra per portion,so keep an eye on the final cost once you’ve added all the meals to your cart.
Home Chef also allows modifications in serving size per meal. By paying $3, you can double the portion size of any recipe for when you’re having guests over or you want to eat the same lunch and dinner in one day.
The shopping cart on Home Chef looks exactly like any other online shopping cart. You can read the quantities easily and have a clear view of all the meals you’ve ordered. To make any end-of-the-moment changes, the cart is where you need to be. Swapping the proteins, doubling up the portion size, or adding/removing meals is simpler than ever.
Modifying Dinnerly Meals
The meals on Dinnerly are less flexible than Home Chef’s. Dinnerly helps you modify your meals by adding proteins or a few snack items but no swapping. You can add plant-based proteins, chicken, beef, pulled pork, and a few other interesting picks for that week. A few varieties of cookies or muffins are also available. It changes on a weekly basis.
You cannot swap ingredients if you have an allergy. After spending considerable time with Dinnerly, I realize that it’s designed for someone who doesn’t have a problem with eating anything. For someone with food restrictions, Dinnerly may not be your preference.
They have quick, easy, and delicious meals. Likewise, there are some dietary filters for low-carb, gluten-free, and spicy meals. You can also select your most favorite ingredients, and the Dinnerly algorithm will recommend you relevant options. That’s all Dinnerly does where customizations are concerned, but you can do a lot more with Home Chef within each meal.
Home Chef vs Dinnerly – Is the Packaging Recyclable?
Home Chef Packaging
Tearing open a Home Chef meal box, everything looks serene and organized. Most importantly, their packaging is 100% recyclable or reusable. I found eco-friendly paper sheets and paper bags in Home Chef’s meal kit which isn’t a common sight.
Since the ingredients are packed individually, some plastic wastage is expected, but it’s not at all excessive with Home Chef. The cooling packs and other insulation are recyclable, which includes any cotton or denim liners. Plastic liners, seal bags, and containers are grouped together so you know what to throw away and discard.
In Home Chef’s FAQ section, you can read about the recycling options for their packaging materials such as ice packs, recipe cards, produce bags, and plastic containers. Depending on where you live, you can drop off all the plastic packaging at respective facilities. My advice to you would be to use the big cardboard box and store all the plastic in that before recycling. This keeps things neat and organized.
A Dinnerly meal box looks and is organized differently than Home Chef. For starters, Dinnerly does not always use liners for whole fruits and vegetables. Instead, the box contains small pieces of cardboard separating all the ingredients neatly.
The packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable. Dinnerly’s “Recycle” webpage has all the information you need about what to do about the packaging once it arrives.
Compared with Home Chef, Dinnerly’s packaging is simpler and quicker to unpack. Very few packaging materials are used – the bare minimum in fact, which means you don’t have too many plastic wrappers to deal with after.
Home Chef vs Dinnerly – Where Do They Deliver?
Home Chef is able to deliver all over the United States except Alaska and Hawaii. When you’re signing up on Home Chef, you are required to add your zip code to check if delivery is possible in your area. It’s the quickest way to find out whether Home Chef is active there.
You can even contact their customer service to get more information in case you’re confused. Likewise, you can seek help from their FAQ section or go into your account details.
Select your delivery date and time after making an account and placing an order. The user-friendly interface makes the ordering process smooth and fast.
Dinnerly delivers to all of the contiguous US states but, again, not to Alaska and Hawaii. Based on your zip code, you can select the proper delivery dates for your weekly order. The timings, however, are fixed between 9 am and 8 pm. It’s automated, and only the delivery dates are flexible based on your locality.
Home Chef vs Dinnerly – Are There Vegetarian Meal Options?
Home Chef’s Vegetarian Menu
The vegetarian meals at Home Chef are limited. They do not have whole vegetarian meals the way they do with meat or seafood. The only remaining options are snack or dessert items such as Chopped Salad and Pineapple Upside Down Cake with cookie bundle.
It is their nonvegetarian recipes that are loaded with hearty and delicious vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, creamy spinach, black beans, etc.
If you prioritize a healthy, plant-based lifestyle with little to no animal-based ingredients, Home Chef is not the option for you. They aren’t as plant-focused as some other meal kit delivery services since they have no available vegetarian meal options made with whole plant-based foods.
Dinnerly’s Vegetarian Menu
I found more than eight vegetarian recipes on Dinnerly’s menu. Some of these recipes are also low-calorie, gluten-free, and kid-friendly.
During signup, Dinnerly will ask you about your food preferences, so if you’re focused on eating more whole plant-focused meals, adding vegetarian as your preference would be ideal. Dinnerly’s algorithm filters vegetarian meals to bring you delicious options.
If you’d like to try a bit of everything, you can do that too by selecting “I’ll eat anything.” Balanced meals include both vegetarian and meat recipes.
What I love about Dinnerly is their family-friendly vegetarian options. The option to try new and exciting cuisines made only with vegetarian ingredients is not something you find in most meal kit delivery services. Here are some of the most popular vegetarian recipes on Dinnerly:
Home Chef vs Dinnerly – Are Their Meals Protein-Rich?
Both Home Chef and Dinnerly have meals that are designed around main proteins:
This makes it a more balanced and nutritious meal for singles, couples, or even families. You can increase the portion size easily by adding more servings of the same recipe.
A protein-packed diet focusing more on animal protein is something that Home Chef is good for. Dinnerly, on the other hand, focuses more on bringing a balanced diet into your weekly menu. Other meal types you can find on Dinnerly are the following:
The nutritional value of each and every recipe by either Home Chef or Dinnerly is displayed on the recipe page. You can read about the calories, fats, protein, fiber, and carbs. Allergy information is also available before you place an order or even make an account.
I chose some meals from Home Chef and Dinnerly to give you a good comparison of their nutritional value and, most importantly, their protein content.
On Home Chef’s current menu, the only two vegetarian options are a Tangerine Crunch Chopped Salad and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. These are not main protein-focused recipes as they are side dishes that you can eat alongside the main course meal.
The most protein-packed plant-powered dish on Dinnerly’s current week’s menu is the Plant-Based Burger with Cheddar with 39 grams of protein in a single serving! It’s even the simplest burger you can make with home fries, so the cooking level is easy.
Chicken tacos with cheddar are available in two different ways between Home Chef and Dinnerly. If that’s not to your taste, you can pick other cuisines such as pasta, burger, or grilled recipes with chicken as the main protein.
Home Chef’s Cheddar BBQ Chicken Tacos is an easy recipe to cook that takes less than 30 minutes. It has 590 calories, 33 grams of protein, and 63 grams of carbohydrates. The serving is for 2 people which, in less than 30 minutes of prep time, is a delight to make and enjoy.
Dinnerly’s Chicken & Cheddar Tostadas with Guac is an easier recipe with a maximum 15 minutes prepping time. It’s a kid-friendly, low-calorie, low-carb, and gluten-free recipe with 470 calories, 36 grams of protein, and 40 grams of carbohydrates.
Steak is one of the most tantalizing cuisines on every meat lover’s palate. Likewise, it is on every meat lover’s radar, so you do expect some beefy recipes to take back the misleading reputation of home kit delivery services. Both Home Chef and Dinnerly serve up some really exciting and mouth-watering steak recipes.
Home Chef’s Roasted Garlic Crusted Steak recipe is a classic. It is made with sauteed caramelized onions and rosemary sauce. It’s definitely a restaurant-grade dish that you can make at home. It has 42 grams of protein and 800 calories with 2 servings per meal box.
If you want a faster steak recipe, Home Chef also features the Fiesta Steak Mushroom Flautas that take 40 minutes to cook with a whopping 37 grams of protein.
Dinnerly’s Steak Frites recipe is a faster dish to cook in a simple garlic-butter pan sauce. It also has fewer calories and is served with potato fries seasoned with fresh herbs. The cooking level is easy with 40minutes of cooking time, 620 calories, and 28 grams of protein.
A faster steak recipe from Dinnerly is the Steak Fajita Rice Bowl which is low-calorie, kid-friendly, and takes under 30 minutes to cook. It is also high-protein with 650 calories and 26 grams of protein per serving.
Well-seasoned pork is flavorful, but it’s also difficult to cook when you don’t know what to make. Thankfully, both Home Chef and Dinnerly include delicious pork recipes. The ones I’ve mentioned below are top-rated and easy to make.
Home Chef’s Provolone and Tomato Tapenade Pork Burger has a smoky, rich flavor, and it’s super simple to cook. With 970 calories and 43 grams of protein, it serves 2 people.
Dinnerly’s Breaded Pork Cutlets uses bread in a wholly different manner. Served with more greens and a warm potato salad, it’s a healthier version of Home Chef’s pork burger. It has 870 calories and 50 grams protein, so it packs a delicious protein punch for a single serving.
Shrimp and salmon are the two seafood options you have with Home Chef and Dinnerly. Both these services have fewer seafood recipes than chicken or beef. These are simple recipes to make with a faster cooking time.
Home Chef’s Greek-Style Salmon Gyros is a 15-minute meal kit. It’s a unique recipe with flatbread, feta cheese, and an interesting Tzatziki dip. Each meal box serves 2 people and has 780 calories and 48 grams of protein.
The other seafood recipes on Home Chef are a shrimp pasta dish and a healthy shrimp bowl that you just have to heat and serve.
On Dinnerly, I found two seafood options. One is low-calorie Shrimp & Veggie Boil Packet, and the other is the kid-friendly San Fran-Style Garlic Noodles.
If you want a more protein-packed meal, go for the garlic noodle with 39 grams of protein. The first seafood option has 24 grams of protein, but it is a low-calorie meal with fewer fats and carbs. The herby potatoes make it a wholesome and filling meal!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How Do You Sign Up on Home Chef and Dinnerly?
It’s simple really. On Home Chef, when you sign up, you add your email address and zip code and answer a few necessary questions about your diet, such as the following:
- Do you have any specific dietary preferences?
- How many servings do you want per meal?
- How many recipes per week?
That sort of thing. Then, you enter your shipping address, delivery date/time, and payment details.
On the last page, you start selecting your meals for the week. You can go back and modify your selections easily after logging in or make any changes like cancel a weekly meal box, pause the subscription, or skip a few meals via the app or website.
On Dinnerly, the process is simple and quick. The first thing Dinnerly asks you is about your dietary preferences, likes, and dislikes. While you can change your answers if you want, based on your selections, Dinnerly displays the most relevant recipes for you. Now would be the time for you to mention if you want a vegetarian-only menu, low-calorie, etc.
Once you move on from your food preferences, you must add your location, email, and payment details. You can then proceed from there by selecting your meals and making any last-minute changes to the weekly cart.
2. Can I Change Portion Sizes and Edit Meals After Placing the Order?
With the Home Chef app downloaded into your phone or by accessing your account through their website, you can do the following:
- Swap ingredients
- Add or remove meals
- Skip a week after placing the order
The cutoff time is the Friday before the delivery week. However, you do need to contact customer service in case you want to make changes after the cutoff. Even if your delivery day is a Thursday, all the changes must be made every Friday before the delivery week.
Dinnerly also allows you to make quick adjustments to active orders. Click on “Edit Recipes,” and before every active order, there will be an indicator telling you how much time is left before all the customizations on the order will be frozen.
There is no cutoff time like Home Chef, but there is a time limit on each and every order you place based on the delivery date and location. Usually, that’s 5-7 days before the delivery date.
To make bigger adjustments such as cancelations or skipping meals, go to the “Settings” tab. You can also contact their customer service and receive a quick reply regarding your request.
Home Chef – Pros and Cons
- Beginner-friendly and chef-recommended recipes.
- You can easily swap protein for plant-based or meat.
- Fresh and high-quality ingredients with longer shelf life.
- Editing and selecting recipes are easy to understand.
- The packaging is foolproof and eco-friendly.
- Meal kits and prepared meals are included.
- Very limited vegetarian options.
- Some of the meals are high in salt.
- No information about organic labels.
Dinnerly – Pros and Cons
- A more affordable option for most people.
- Easy-to-cook and very delicious
- The packaging and ingredients are reliably-sourced.
- Quick, no-fuss recipes for a busy lifestyle.
- Higher number of dietary preferences – gluten, weight loss, and vegetarian.
- The meal kits do not include recipe cards.
- No add-ons for protein or snacks.
- Flavor and quality of ingredients are not always consistent.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent enough time searching and comparing the best meal kit delivery services online. Between Home Chef and Dinnerly, it boils down to specific diet considerations and price.
Home Chef offers enough meals per week with intricate modifications for protein and serving. In a Home Chef meal kit, you’ll find fresher ingredients, longer shelf life, and instructive recipe cards.
Dinnerly caters to specific dietary needs, and it has more vegetarian recipes on its menu. The ingredients in every meal kit are fresh, but Dinnerly has a basic menu with no recipe card inside each kit.
Unfortunately, you have to rely on the app or website to check the cooking instructions for each recipe you select. The only good thing about this is that Dinnerly wants to reduce packaging material due to environmental considerations.
The simplicity and price of Dinnerly are amazing. On the other hand, when it comes to making the meals, freshness of ingredients, and variety, Home Chef is more reliable and popular. It beats ordering takeout food every night.Likewise, if you’re looking for the best flavor, it’s better than Dinnerly for a home-cooked meal.