EveryPlate Meal Delivery Review - Dinner for Under $5
We tried out EveryPlate meal delivery service and learned that it’s a great option for everyone looking for a simple, affordable and delicious meal kit.
- Clear and easy recipes
- Kits come pre-portioned
- All recyclable materials
Dinner for under $5? Count me in! That’s what I said when I heard about EveryPlate’s almost too-good-to-be-true offer of meal kit deliveries to your door for $4.99 a serving. According to the website, EveryPlate wants everyone to be able to afford delicious, home-cooked meals every week. So, what do you get for $4.99 a meal? I had to find out, so I signed up for a week of EveryPlate meal kits, and this is what I learned.
EveryPlate makes its mission statement very clear: to deliver simple, filling, and delicious dinners that anyone can afford. The way this goal is accomplished is by cutting away all the extras, all the frills that make more niche services stand out. Everything from the recipes to the packaging and style is bare bones and basic.
Not that this is a bad thing. I happen to think that many of the other services go a little over the top with all the organically-sourced, biodegradable, specialty menu, fresh of the fresh business. EveryPlate offers good food that’s cheap. That sounds like a pretty great plan to me. Here’s how EveryPlate works.
In keeping with the theme of simplicity, there are just two plans to choose from: a two or four person plan. While I like that this is easy and uncomplicated, the options are a little too basic for some people. For example, you won’t find any specialty diets being catered to here. No paleo, keto, south beach, or whatever. The meals are pretty healthy on their own, and the ingredients are all fresh and responsibly-sourced (ironically). But there are no specialty items. And don’t even think about looking at the menu if you are vegan or vegetarian.
Anyway, back to our meal kit experiment. Ordering from EveryPlate is really simple (remember, there are only two plans to choose from). Just choose the plan you want, enter your email address and new password, and add shipping and payment information. Then you can pick from the eight meal options available for that week.
EveryPlate delivers on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays depending on where you’re located sometime between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM. It delivers to most of the continental U.S., but you should check your zip code to be sure.
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When the box arrived, I was pretty excited to take this one for a test drive. I opened the package to receive my first real disappointment. EveryPlate is all about simplicity so that it can keep the costs down, remember? Well, this even includes the packing materials. All your ingredients are tossed into a big box (with ice packs to keep things fresh). There’s no color-coding and no separate boxes or dividers to keep each recipe’s ingredients together. Instead, the only way to know which ingredients belong to which recipe is to read through the recipe card. Not cool, EveryPlate.
Once I had sorted the food into its appropriate meals, it was time to start cooking. EveryPlate meals generally take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to prep and cook. Not bad, but if you’re looking for quick and easy, this is not the address for you. I chose to start with the hotel butter steak with crispy potato rounds and green beans amandine because, frankly, it sounds delicious. The ingredients that came in the package included:
- Sliced almonds
- Green beans
- Ranch-cut steak
EveryPlate expects you to provide a few basics like salt, pepper, and a splash of oil for frying. This is pretty much standard in the industry.
I am happy to report that this recipe was super easy to follow. It took six simple steps to complete, and the hardest thing I had to do was melt butter in the microwave. Now for the real test, how good does it taste? Between the sliced almonds, ruminating garlic, and fresh parsley, my butter steak was delicious.
EveryPlate offers eight new menu items every week. This is a good variety, more than most meal kit delivery services have on offer. And I like the fact that the menu changes each week because it means I won’t get bored from eating the same meals all the time. Strictly speaking, EveryPlate is an all-dinner meal kit service. Of course, you can feel free to eat these meals (or the leftovers) for lunch as well. I wouldn’t recommend trying them for breakfast unless you enjoy pork chops or day-old butter steak for your morning meal.
Since the menu changes every week, there’s no telling what’ll be there when you go to place your order. But at the time of this writing, here were a few of the interesting dishes on display:
- Pork carnitas bowl with pepper jack, pickled jalapeno, and southwest crema
- Hoisin glazed steak with ginger rice and garlicky green beans
- Honey-glazed chicken cutlet with chipotle mashed sweet potatoes and zucchini bites
- Pork and poblano tacos with pico de gallo and garlic sour cream
Sounds impressive, huh? Admittedly, it is. EveryPlate has an extensive menu of truly different dishes to keep your palette excited for mealtime every week. It’s nice that this service manages to find new, interesting, and flavorful meals within such a low budget. Speaking of the budget, let’s talk a little bit about EveryPlate’s pricing structure.
By far, the biggest selling point is EveryPlate’s pricing. Like I already mentioned, it is the least expensive plan in the industry, so it’s perfect for anyone who’s on a budget. EveryPlate has two pricing plans to choose from. You can get three recipes a week for two people or three recipes a week for four people. Here are the costs:
|3 Recipes for 2 People||3 Recipes for 4 People|
|Price per serving||$4.99||$4.99|
|Price per week (including shipping)||$38.93||$68.87|
Unfortunately, EveryPlate does charge a shipping fee of $8.99, which is a bit of a disappointment. But, I guess if you’re trying to keep meal costs low, you have to cover shipping somehow. Notice something? The price doesn’t change regardless of how much or how little you order. In my books, that’s a pretty fair deal and makes EveryPlate look pretty good in terms of honest tradesmanship.
EveryPlate has some real selling points along with a few things I would like to see done differently. Here’s what I mean:
- Least expensive meal kit delivery service out there: This might be the real deal clincher for most people. If you’re looking for meal kits, it’s probably because you’re sick of shelling out so much money on restaurants and takeout. If that’s the case, offering an inexpensive and tasty alternative wins the competition.
- Clear and easy recipes in just a few steps: A lot of people order meal kits for the experience of cooking at home. Call it a date night, an experiment, or dabbling in a new hobby. Whatever you want, you need a good recipe to follow if you want to end up with anything more than a disappointment and a visit from the fire department. EveryPlate recipes are very easy to follow.
- Tons of interesting flavors and spiced dishes: I liked that EveryPlate dishes are simple but also complex. There aren’t a lot of complicated ingredients or processes to follow. But the ingredients, spicing, and sauces make up some incredible taste sensations that I personally loved.
- Eight new recipes every week: That’s a good variety and turnover, so you won’t get bored quickly.
- Kits come pre-portioned: A big win for EveryPlate, I hate measuring stuff out.
- Allergen notices: While EveryPlate doesn’t cater to specific dietary needs, one thing it will do is give you a heads up about common allergy foods. On the recipe cards (and on the website itself), all recipes have allergen warnings for things like dairy, nuts, and wheat. That’s convenient.
- All recyclable materials: In case you’re feeling Earth-conscious, EveryPlate uses 100% recyclable materials for packaging.
- Easily change or cancel subscriptions: EveryPlate makes it easy to change, skip, or cancel your subscription. That’s just good business.
- Live chat customer support: This isn't an essential, but I was impressed to see it offered. I don't think I've reviewed any other meal kit delivery service with 24/7 live chat availability.
- Charges for shipping: Bummer. It’s less than other places that charge, but some meal kits like Purple Carrot offer free shipping.
- Confusing packaging: Where’s the carefully packed and color-coded ingredients? Oh right, in the Green Chef meal kit. Guess you get what you pay for.
- Simpler ingredients: If you are looking for Chickpea massaman curry, cashew cheese, or other more exotic flavors, you’d best look elsewhere.
- Only get nutritional information after you’ve placed your order: This is one of the bigger drawbacks if you're looking to lose weight or balance your caloric intake. I don't like that EveryPlate only lets you see the full nutrition information after you've already placed your order. It makes it hard to plan your diet accordingly (if that's your goal). Besides, what is EveryPlate hiding?
EveryPlate is a great option for a lot of people, including:
- People on a tight budget: You just can’t beat $4.99 meals. Not even fast food joints can compete with that.
- Anyone who wants a fun date night of cooking something new: EveryPlate meal kits make for a fun evening of cooking alone or with friends. If you want to share a fun experience, I recommend signing up for a meal kit or two.
- People who hate shopping for food: If you absolutely loathe shopping, but don’t mind cooking, then EveryPlate is the perfect solution for you. You’ll get all the ingredients you need delivered straight to your door with the instructions printed and food measured out. It doesn’t get easier than that.
Alternative: Home Chef Review and $30 Off Your First Order
EveryPlate was a big hit for me, but it won’t work for everyone. For these people, EveryPlate is a no-go:
- Anyone truly strapped for time: If you are really the grab a bite while you’re running out the door to your next meeting, carpool, class, or whatever type, then EveryPlate isn’t the meal kit service for you. Meals with this service generally take about a half an hour to cook and can take as much as 45 minutes. Short on time? Look elsewhere.
- Vegetarians and vegans: While EveryPlate has a hearty menu filled with scrumptious-looking dishes, one thing you won’t find is a vegetarian-only option. These meals come chock full of beef, chicken, pork, ground meat, and more. Eggs and cheeses are also amply sprinkled throughout these recipes.
- Gluten-free eaters: Another thing that is found aplenty in these meals is gluten. If you are celiac or just trying to stay away from gluten, EveryPlate will not be able to accommodate your dietary needs.
I thoroughly enjoyed my EveryPlate experience. Unlike other meal kits I’ve tried, everything went really smoothly. I didn’t like the packaging at all, but that is a minor inconvenience. And the flavors, ease of use, and variety more than made up for this small detraction. But the biggest selling point is still the price. You’d be hard-pressed to find another dining option (whether it’s takeout, meal delivery, meal kit, restaurant, or home cooking) that will satisfy your hunger for that price.