I have reviewed two meal kit services (Marley Spoon and Dinnerly) to help you decide whether you will try a meal kit delivery service and which one of these options might be better for you!
Introduction to Dinnerly and Marley Spoon
If you’re anything like me, planning meals and the decision about what to cook for dinner is the most difficult part! Wouldn’t it be great if somebody else did all the hard work for you? Well, let me introduce two meal delivery kits. These two companies offer fresh, home delivered food that can save you time and money. In this honest review, I’ll compare these meal kit services as well as highlight their pros and cons, looking at cost, quality, and variety of dishes so you know which of these meal delivery services may suit your needs best.
What is Marley Spoon and Dinnerly?
Dinnerly and Marley Spoon are very similar delivery services. Each of these meal kits send you all the ingredients you need to make a home-cooked meal with recipes and step by step instructions for each dish included in the kit.
The core idea behind both Dinnerly and Marley Spoon is giving people an opportunity to try new recipes and food which might otherwise be too expensive, fiddly or time consuming to plan for and cook at home. It takes away the meal planning, writing out grocery lists and shopping for food needed, as they offer delivery to your door. On top of this, they also reduce waste from unused ingredients by sending only what’s needed for each recipe, and make an attempt to use mostly recyclable packaging. Both companies operate on a subscription service, and the cost is based on the plan you choose as well as any extra customisation.
How do Marley Spoon and Dinnerly work?
Marley Spoon is a meal kit delivery service much the same as Dinnerly. The ingredients are pre-portioned, fresh and arrive at your doorstep in recyclable packaging, and include an ice pack to keep ingredients at a safe temperature. Each meal comes packaged separately in paper bags, with all the ingredients required for that particular recipe (except the fridge ingredients which are all in a cool bag with ice packs). Marley Spoon will send you recipes on glossy paper recipe cards, included in the box that take anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes to prepare using a variety of cooking methods including oven, stove top or microwave. Marley Spoon offers 27 different tasty meal options to choose from each week, on an 8 week rotation with vegetarian, gluten free, one pot dishes and family friendly options. There are also some already prepared meals as another option.
Dinnerly is another meal delivery service which gets delivered in a cardboard box, to your door, without meal ingredients being separated. All ingredients for all meals are included in the one Dinnerly box, again with fridge items such as meats and cheese placed in a cool bag with ice packs to keep them at a safe temperature. Recipes are sent to you with the email, as digital recipe cards and recipes are fairly simple. There are also many delicious, healthy meals to choose from including vegetarian, dairy free, low calorie and delicious meals kids will love. You can select your preferred cooking method, pick a plan depending on the number of people you’ll be cooking for and change your delivery day if it doesn’t work with your schedule. Dinnerly meals will also specify if recipes can be prepared and made in under 25 minutes.
For both Marley Spoon and Dinnerly, you can select how many meals you want included in a box, and for how many people. The cost changes depending on the quantity you’re ordering. It is also expected that you will have certain staple ingredients in your fridge or cupboard which may be required for several recipes such as olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt & pepper.
My experience ordering with Marley Spoon and Dinnerly Meal boxes
Meal boxes arrived in the specified time frame and I was sent messages to my phone, informing me of pending arrival, and then when the delivery had been completed. Meal boxes were left in a safe place and so the delivery service itself seemed easy and hassle free.
As I wanted to try out Dinnerly after Marley Spoon and I was already a member but forgot to cancel my next Marley Spoon order in time, I was left with a box of meals that had been pre chosen for me as I did not cancel before the specified billing date. Be careful not to make the same mistake as me!
The most recent Marley Spoon meals I ordered:
- Chimichurri Chicken Burger
- 15 Minute Barramundi Noodles
- Our Best Ever Chicken Tacos
Chimichurri Chicken Burger
This meal was super easy to prepare, ingredients were minimal and it was a winner with my 11 year old son Andy. What’s great about these recipes is you can customise them to suit your needs. Andy prefers his tomato and spinach on the side, and no aioli. I thought the chicken thigh was quite heavy on this burger, so if I order this again, I would cut it in strips and use only half of it, saving more chicken for a different meal.
15 Minute Barramundi Noodles
This meal was delicious and I was a huge fan of the coriander included but Andy is anaphylactic to peanuts so we simply omitted the peanuts for this one. Lots of vegetables wins my vote (even though I don’t like chopping too many) and it was a quick one to put together, cooking time was minimal and with a generous serving size.
Our Best Ever Chicken Tacos
Tacos are always so messy to eat! Worth it though, these were delicious. The recipe was easy, we skipped warming the tortillas as we didn’t think it was necessary and saved a bit of cooking time. The tomato salsa was also simplified to save time – we skipped half the ingredients and it was still enjoyable.
The most recent Dinnerly meals I ordered:
- Balanced Pork Red Curry with Brown Rice and Spinach
- Baked Feta Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes and Baby Spinach
- Korean Beef Burgers with Pickled Cucumber and Sesame Fries
Balanced Pork Red Curry with Brown Rice and Spinach
Exact quote from Andy as he watched me pour the coconut milk and curry paste into the pan: “I don’t think I’m going to like that mum, can I eat something else?”
Exact quote from Andy after being encouraged to TRY it before he rejects it: “This is so yum, is there more? Can we eat this again tomorrow? Also, I used to hate brown rice with my meals and now I love it!”
Needless to say, this meal WAS delicious and my favourite of all the meals! Easy to prepare, quality dish, plenty of vegetables and like Andy, I wanted more! The serving size for this one was pretty exact – no leftovers (two person box).
Baked Feta Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes and Baby Spinach
Easiest recipe by far! The quality of this meal also surprised me. Bang it all in an oven dish, cook pasta separately and then literally stir it all together! I skipped dressing the spinach leaves and just threw them on top and added parmesan. The easier the better for me. Awesome vegetarian dish, with minimal ‘cooking’ required!
Korean Beef Burgers with Pickled Cucumber and Sesame Fries
In my opinion the quality of this recipe was not like the other meals. I found the meat a little too fatty, although I am quite fussy when it comes to the fat content of my meat. The serving size was very generous however, so I could have easily made 4 small burgers rather than the two huge ones I made. I didn’t feel like the pickled cucumber and I knew Andy wouldn’t eat it like that as we both prefer fresh cucumber so we ate it fresh and cut up on the side. The fries were easy to cook and the sesame seeds were a yummy addition.
Dinnerly vs Marley Spoon Meal Delivery Kits (pros and cons):
What I loved about using Marley Spoon (Pros)
- A physical recipe card is included in the box, which means I can refer to it as I cook, sitting on my kitchen bench (even if it does get covered in food splatter).
- Recipe cards include pictures of each step
- Ingredients are pre portioned and packaged in individual paper bags, so when it’s time to cook, it simply means grabbing that individually labelled bag out of the fridge and it will have everything included, needed for that particular recipe.
- Ingredients are fresh
- Food is packaged appropriately and there is plenty of ice which ensures all food is kept at a safe temperature. It also means if you don’t get to cook these meals until after a few days have passed, ingredients are still pretty fresh.
- Portion sizes are generous which means if you’re not particularly hungry, there could easily be leftovers for the next day (depending on the meal).
Cons for using Marley Spoon
- Marley Spoon meals are a little more pricey than Dinnerly
- The glossy, printed recipe card is not as environmentally friendly as digital recipe cards (however I do prefer this option as when I’m trying to multi task in the kitchen, I prefer a piece of paper rather than unlocking my phone each time and zooming in to see instructions).
- Marley Spoon’s recipes are sometimes a little more complex with more steps included, usually taking a little longer than Dinnerly recipes
- Some of the packaging is a little wasteful and unnecessary, particularly individual portions of sauce or herbs and spices
What I loved about using Dinnerly (Pros)
- Very little packaging as all ingredients are included in the one box and not separated, which is more environmentally friendly
- The recipe card is a digital card sent to your email and therefore very environmentally friendly (however I personally prefer the paper recipe as I find it easier to refer to when busy in the kitchen, or when my son wants to talk on my phone).
- Simple recipes with few steps, not too complex or time consuming
- Ingredients are fresh
- I actually found Dinnerly recipes make for very tasty meals which surprised me!
- The price of Dinnerly is cheaper than Marley Spoon and the quality of food and meals does not drop in my opinion, therefore very good value.
Cons for using Dinnerly
- The digital recipe card is the biggest con for me for Dinnerly. Yes, it’s environmentally friendly but was a big inconvenience for me when busy in the kitchen.
- Digital recipe cards did not include pictures for each recipe step
- Ingredients are all placed in the same box which means you need to find the right ingredients for each recipe when starting. Less convenient than having all food items portioned out and separated, but not too time consuming.
- Meal options are more simple which can sometimes mean people become tired of them and desire something a little more adventurous or fancy.
Dinnerly vs Marley Spoon Cost
Marley Spoon pricing
Prices do vary depending on the number of meals and people you’re wanting to feed. You can select the number of portions (Two person box or four person box) and then the quantity for each box.
2 person box: $78.99 (Three meals per week)
2 person box: $114.99 (Five meals per week)
4 person box: $129.39 (Three meals per week)
4 person box: $179.99 (Five meals per week)
On average, expect to pay around $8.50 – $12.50 per meal. All prices per box include $9.99 shipping cost. There are also options for more or less meals per week.
Prices are similar to Marley Spoon, however the cost of Dinnerly is a bit cheaper
2 person box: $53.49 (Three meals per week)
2 person box: $74.99 (Five meals per week)
4 person box: $84.99 (Three meals per week)
4 person box: $119.99 (Five meals per week)
On average, expect to pay around $4.85 – $7.25 per meal. All prices per box include $9.99 shipping cost. There are also options for more or less meals per week.
Teaching Brave readers can get a price discount when signing up to either Marley Spoon or Dinnerly!
Delivery time frames for Marley Spoon and Dinnerly Meal Delivery Service
Dinnerly and Marley Spoon offers delivery to NSW, TAS, QLD, VIC, NT, SA and ACT. Delivery days and times depends on where you live. To see what days the service is available in your area, you can select a meal plan, enter your postcode and email and it will show you available delivery days. This works for both Marley Spoon & Dinnerly. If there is only one option for a delivery day, that means that is the only day that delivery occurs in your particular area. You don’t have to complete the sign up process to view days and delivery times for your area.
You can change your delivery date and time, as well as your address, provided the order is not already in transit.
How does billing work and can I cancel anytime?
For both Marley Spoon and Dinnerly, when you place your order, you are billed immediately. You are then billed weekly, around 5-7 days before your order delivery date, depending on your location. You are able to skip or edit your order anytime before this happens, and you can cancel your subscription at any time you choose, provided you don’t miss the deadline for cancelling before the billing and delivery of your next order. This was a huge plus for me, as I don’t like being locked into ongoing plans or subscriptions.
Final thoughts on the two meal delivery services Marley Spoon and Dinnerly
Whether you are looking to save time in the kitchen, save money on eating out, you want to provide more tasty, healthy options for your family, you want to lose weight, you are sick of planning meals, you want to include more vegetables in your and your family’s diet or you are losing inspiration for meal ideas, either Marley Spoon or Dinnerly meal kits can provide solutions for you. These meal kits have many similarities but also many key differences, as described above. There are other meal delivery services on the market such as Hello Fresh, Every Plate and other meal boxes and while I have ordered a HelloFresh box in the past, I was very impressed with both Marley Spoon and Dinnerly, hence my Dinnerly vs Marley Spoon meal delivery review.
So would I continue to order from Marley Spoon or Dinnerly? Well, the simple answer is yes, but not all the time. I like having the option to pause or skip particular weeks rather than cancel all together because I know I will eventually return and place another order. There are honestly times in the kitchen when I feel uninspired for cooking new dishes, or I have a lot on and I have little time to meal plan, or I want to re order meals I previously loved. There are also times I know I will be spending a lot of time out of the house so I won’t order any boxes when I know this is happening, because I know I won’t have time to be cooking. Ordering from either Marley Spoon or Dinnerly also has the advantage of improving your cooking skills in the kitchen, with easy step by step instructions to follow. It helps your kids to learn basic cooking skills such as peeling, chopping, mixing, frying and measuring. It encourages children to develop independence skills as they help out in the kitchen, and encourages them to engage in sustainable practices at home by getting involved in recycling of the bags and containers as appropriate and putting food scraps in a compost if you have one.
Looking at price alone, it probably would be cheaper to buy all of the ingredients myself and cook that meal, but you’re paying for convenience, which is so often an attractive feature for busy families. It’s similar to buying those veggies already chopped in the supermarket, you pay more, but it saves you time. If I just want someone else to do the thinking for me, the shopping and packing and delivering to my door (which is often these days) I go ahead and choose my meals and click through to order. As a single mum working full time, I don’t always have the time to shop and meal plan so that’s why these meal kit delivery services are a great option for me, most of the time. When I do, I am happy to grab the ingredients from the fridge and follow the instructions, knowing someone else has done all the thinking for me, and saved me time on planning and shopping.
You may wish to simply peruse the Marley Spoon or Dinnerly website to get an idea of these different meal delivery kits, what meals are available, what the cost might be for you depending on your family (requirement for a four or two person box) and compare the two services. In my opinion, it makes sense to at least give them a try to see if a meal kit service works for you and your family. Remember, you are not locked in to any long term subscription, and you can cancel at any time!
Summary of Advantages of using a Meal Kit Delivery Service
- Convenience and time saving, taking away the thinking of meals for the week, meal planning and shopping
- Opportunity to try out different recipes and cuisines
- Encourages kids to get involved in the kitchen as they follow a simple recipe card – builds independence, cooking skills, maths skills, hand eye coordination
- Reduces food waste
- Ability to cancel anytime
- SO convenient and SAVES TIME! (Yes, that was repeated on purpose!)
Summary of Disadvantages of using a Meal Kit Delivery Service
- Cost is more than if you were meal planning and shopping for your own groceries (although using my discount code makes a BIG difference!)
- Potentially more packaging waste with individually wrapped food items
- Ensuring you are choosing an appropriate delivery day, time and location based on your personal schedule
- If you forget to pause, skip or cancel by the set deadline, you are left paying for a box which may not be wanted for the next cycle
Teaching Brave Discount for Marley Spoon and Dinnerly
Teaching Brave readers can get a price discount when signing up to either Marley Spoon or Dinnerly!
Marley Spoon Dinnerly Discounted price is as follows:
Marley Spoon: Price discount is a total of $125 off for the first 5 boxes – $25 off each of the 5 boxes Click here to claim Marley Spoon Price discount
Dinnerly: Price discount is a total of $80 off for the first 4 boxes – 4 x $20 Click here to claim Dinnerly Price discount
Thanks so much for reading my review and I hope this has helped you make a decision! Please let me know what you think in the comments below!!
Teaching Brave is a listed affiliate for Dinnerly and Marley Spoon which means I may be paid when you visit links to sign up.