What is Dinnerly?
Dinnerly is a meal subscription service. Ingredients for three meals are sent weekly in either a Two-Person Box or Family Box. Dinnerly is targeted to those who like homemade cooking with fresh ingredients, but are busy and are looking to save time with shopping and cooking. Going on vacation or don’t need or want Dinnerly? When signing up, you aren’t locked in so you can choose when you want or don’t want a box.
I have never used a meal subscription service before so this was a new concept for my family. With six to feed, we are a frugal family. However we do opt to choose organic whenever we can. I agreed to review Dinnerly because the cost is in line with a “fancier” meal that we’d prepare at home (only $4.29 per person).
Dinnerly sends quality protein such as grass-fed ground beef and antibiotic-free chicken, items we already purchase ourselves. We were excited to try Dinnerly and this is my honest Dinnerly meal kit review!
2020 Updates to Dinnerly
My family and I have now been receiving Dinnerly boxes since 2017. There have been several additions made in 2020 that are ideal for families who are cooking more at home. Avoid the extra grocery store shopping trips and choose up to 6 recipes per week. Protein packs, seafood and dessert options are new choices on the menu.
What’s on the Dinnerly Menu?
My family receives the Dinnerly Family Box which includes 4 portions per recipe. There is also a smaller 2 serving box option. Each of the easy-to-prepare recipes require minimal ingredients with light preparation. Subscribers can choose up to 6 recipes per week. Choose from the 16 available meals that week on the Dinnerly menu. New recipes appear weekly and popular recipes only return on occasion.
Past recipes include Grass-Fed Beef Stew with Black Pepper Dumplings, Meatloaf & Carmelized Cabbage with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Veggie Grain Bowl with Lemon-Goat Cheese Dressing, and Spicy Turkey Pizza with Crispy Kale.
A far cry from the usual “Taco Tuesdays”, right?
Dinnerly box – As an example of the meals, I received recipes and ingredients for the following dinner dishes in 6 different weeks:
- Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli
- Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta
- Fried Spaghetti Pie
- Moo Shu Turkey Tacos
- Shepard’s Pie
- Meatball Parm Pizza with Broccoli
- Caribbean-Spiced Chicken
- Grass-Fed Beef Gyro Pita
- Seared Sausages with potatoes and green beans
- Chipotle Smash Burger with Pickles & Sweet Potato Wedges
- Beef & Green Bean Stir-Fry with Rice & Toasted Sesame Seeds
- Pasta Carbonara with Roasted Broccoli
- Creamy Bacon Gnocchi
- Chicken Za’atar Meatballs
- Cuban Mojo Pork Tenderloin
- Shrimp Burrito Bowl
- Beef & Asian Noodle Stir Fry
- Caprese Ravioli
Preparing Dinnerly Meals
The fresh, seasonal ingredients arrive in a recyclable insulated box with large chill packs inside. Recipe cards are not included so you can choose to pull up the instructions on your device or print them out (which is what I did). It’s easy enough to sort out what ingredients go to which dishes. I bundle them together and place them in the fridge for later in the week. You’ll need a few pantry basics, like oil, flour, salt and pepper. Otherwise all the necessities for each dish are included in the Dinnerly box.
How Many People Can Dinnerly Serve?
I was a little nervous that the amount of food included would not be enough for my family. While we do have six in the family, I didn’t expect that my two youngest would try any of these dishes. They are both picky eaters but we’ve found that introducing new foods and recipes through Dinnerly has helped them expand their palate.
Our two older children are teenagers and they each eat as much as an adult. Using the family box meals we found that there was plenty to go around, even with the teenager appetites!
Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli
When preparing the Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli, my husband was there to chop the veggies. He is extremely particular about his food but was very happy with the quality of the produce.
The Dinnerly box came with four packets of Sriracha so we could adjust the heat for taste. I only used three packets in the main dish and my husband put the last packet on his own individual serving. While very easy to prepare and with minimal ingredients, this recipe helped us to think outside the box with introducing us to new ingredients. Neither of us had ever made anything with Chinese broccoli or Sriracha sauce before. We both really loved this dish – There was even some plate licking on his part!
How Easy are Dinnerly Meals to Prepare?
Be sure to read through the entire recipe instructions before you begin cooking. There might be a step you can do earlier to save time. There might also be an alternate way for you to prepare. The recipes can be a little different than what you might be used to.
On the night we were to make the Pasta Carbonara with Roasted Broccoli, I left my husband in charge of cooking this meal. He admitted that he did not read the directions ahead of time and messed up some of the steps. My husband is a great cook but he doesn’t usually follow a written recipe. If that’s like you, here’s my recommendation: Read the directions thoroughly first!
Grass-Fed Beef Gyro Pita
This is another recipe that requires several steps. The cucumbers need to be cut and marinated in vinegar and oil early. Also the instructions said to turn on the broiler to heat the pitas. However it was just as easy for me to just heat them on the stove top open flame, turning frequently so they warmed but didn’t burn. The combination of savory beef with crisp cucumbers and romaine plays nicely against the soft pitas and creamy sour cream sauce. This was absolutely one of our favorite meals!
More Dinnerly Meal Kit Reviews – Trying Something New
Za’atar spice, couscous, hoisin, rice noodles and sriracha? Now’s the chance to branch out and try something new.
Moo Shu Turkey Tacos
Moo Shu Turkey Tacos was another recipe that used an ingredient I’ve never tried before: Hoisin sauce. It’s a thick sweet and tangy sauce that is diluted in with the meat and then drizzled onto the completed tacos. This recipe went together very quickly. With three tacos per person, this was a filling meal we all enjoyed. We prefer our tortillas on the crispier side, so we laid them directly over the flame to warm.
Chicken Za’atar Meatballs
These delicious Chicken Za’atar Meatballs included several new-to-us ingredients: Za’atar spice and couscous. This was truly a speedy recipe for a busy night. The meatballs cooked in the oven while I prepped the veggies and cooked the couscous on the stove top. And even though I’d never made couscous before, the recipe instructions were fool-proof. The creamy white sauce was the perfect topper and we ate every bite.
Dinnerly Meal Options – Comfort Food with a Twist
Shepard’s Pie is one of those dishes where you can make good use of leftovers but here, you’ll be making it from scratch. You’ll boil and mash the potatoes separately then top them over the cooked meat and veggies. An oven-proof skillet (like a cast iron) is recommended but I used my Dutch oven and it came out fine. There was quite a bit of liquid in the pan after cooking but it was all good. The extra juices seemed to absorb more after resting and cooling. The flavors were absolutely delicious. Overall it was really an easy comfort dish, perfect for a chilly day.
Creamy Bacon Gnocchi
Another super-easy dish that pleasing and hearty. The cream sauce (made with included cream cheese packets) mixes well with peas, caramelized red onions and crisp bacon. A little of this one goes a long way. It’s extremely rich and we paired a small portion with our own green salad. This just meant more for leftovers!
How Do the Dinnerly Recipes Taste?
Meatball Parm Pizza with Broccoli
“Broccoli on pizza? First the Hawaiians and now, you!”, quoted my teenager from the movie Inside Out. I confess that was my first thought when I saw this recipe too. Would kids really eat pizza with broccoli? This was a more complicated dish to tackle late on a Friday evening.
There are suggestions on the recipe to prepare the meat and broccoli earlier, which would have helped speed up the process for sure. Fortunately this dish was well worth the extra work, it was so good! Who knew that beef and broccoli make wonderful pizza toppings?!
Caribbean-Spiced Chicken with Coconut Rice and Cucumber Relish
Another family favorite. The combination of spice on the chicken with the uniquely flavored rice and cool cucumbers was a dinner that all my kids gobbled up! I’d never thought to add coconut to rice but it put such a creative spin on the meal and complimented the spice on the chicken. Dinnerly is really helping us think out of the box!
Dinnerly Seafood Recipes
The fish and seafood options are newer additions to the Dinnerly menu. We tried the Shrimp Burrito Bowl, which was an awesome new recipe for us. Garlic shrimp and salsa with black beans on a bed of jasmine rice with green onions and a sour cream drizzle…yum!!
My husband is an avid fisherman and noted that the shrimp, which “sustainably sourced”, was also from India. However the packaging did not say it was wild-caught seafood. If you’d prefer fish is wild caught rather than farmed you should take this into consideration.
How Much Does Dinnerly Cost?
Dinnerly is priced at less than $5 per each serving, just $4.29 per person. Shipping per box is $8.99, so be sure to work that into the cost breakdown. However it’s still MUCH cheaper than dining in a restaurant or takeout meals. Dinnerly is the lowest cost of all the dinner subscription boxes on the market. The Dinnerly Family Box is noted to feed “4 hungry people”. We found that there was always an abundance of food.
For instance there were several meals when my husband, myself and my two teenagers each had one large portion (served with our own side salad). My husband had a second large helping. Then there was still enough for me to pack away leftovers for my husband to take to work the following day. Some Dinnerly meals actually equaled out to about 6 servings for us, making this an even better price breakdown.
Chipotle Smash Burger with Pickles & Sweet Potato Wedges
This meal is a good example of a dish that costs less than $5 with Dinnerly and would easily cost twice as much if you were to purchase it in a restaurant. Grass-fed beef, buns, pickles, chipotle mayonnaise and sauteed onions with baked sweet potato wedges on the side. This meal was a big hit with my kids! So much tastier and healthier than takeout.
Dinnerly Meal Prep
There are some instances where you’ll cook and then have to remove the food to a plate so you can cook again in the same pan. This is fine with me, as it means less pans to wash! I found the recipes easy to follow. It helps streamline things if you have someone else in the kitchen who can prep and chop the vegetables while you hop to the next step.
Beef and Asian Noodle Stir Fry
Another fast dinner from Dinnerly! And my first time preparing rice noodles. Nothing to be afraid of as Dinnerly offered expert tips on how to get the noodles perfectly cooked. My son compared this tasty dish to one of his favorites from a popular Chinese fast food chain. Except this dish is less pricey and healthier too!
How Fast Can You Cook Dinnerly Meals?
Dinnerly recipes are touted as taking 30 minutes or less to prepare and cook. Chopping and prep is usually minimal and can often be done ahead of time. I found that some of the recipe times were a little off and required more time to cook than what was suggested. No big deal but you should always read the instructions first.
Cuban Mojo Pork Tenderloin
I found that the pork actually took about 5 additional minutes until it was cooked through. Not a big deal, a few minutes here and there aren’t going to put a kink in the dinner plans. A food thermometer is a wise choice, rather than trusting cooking times. Delicious dish and it gave us ideas on how to make our rice in the future!
Does Dinnerly Have Vegetarian Options?
While Dinnerly doesn’t have as many vegetarian options as they do with-meat options, there are always a few vegetarian meals you can choose from on the menu. I chose vegetarian meals in my last box as my teenaged daughter has recently stopped eating meat. In any case, you can opt out of preparing the protein since everything comes packaged separately.
Fast and delicious, this was the ideal vegetarian meal for a warm summer evening at home. Dinnerly offers great seasonal dishes on their menu. Prepared in a single pot, I was able to boil the ravioli quickly while prepping the vegetables and grating the Parmesan. This was a fun twist on traditional pasta dishes and we enjoyed it a lot! Consider adding one of the Dinnerly protein packs, if you wish to add shrimp or chicken.
Does Dinnerly have gluten-free recipes? You can see on Dinnerly meal options that there are dishes to choose from the menu that have no added gluten. Take caution and be sure to read the full ingredient list if you or someone in your family has a food allergy.
Dinnerly Review Pros & Cons
- Creative meals that got us out of a dinner rut
- Choose up to 6 meals from the 16 available on the menu each week for more personalized tailoring for your family
- Healthful dishes with fresh ingredients
- Truly quick and easy meals that seem more “fancy” than usual
- Convenient to know that all the ingredients for dinner are on hand
- Time-conscious meal preparation
- Delicious! The Dinnerly recipes are tasty and we really enjoyed the flavors
- Delivers to most of the contiguous United States, but possibly not in your area. Where does Dinnerly deliver? Check the site to see if Dinnerly delivers in your area.
- May be a tiny bit pricier than purchasing ingredients on your own (but definitely cheaper than eating out!)
- Fancier meals may not appeal to picky eaters
My Meal Box Review for Dinnerly
My family had a great time cooking with Dinnerly! We thought the recipes were creative and delicious. We were actually excited to cook each night and try something new. In the past, I’ve liked trying new dishes, but I don’t like having to purchase special ingredients just for one dish (like an entire bottle of sauce or a large block of cheese). Dinnerly is perfect because they supply you with exactly what you need. And there’s no waste because you use just what they send.
Want to Try Dinnerly?
Did you enjoy the Dinnerly meal kit reviews? Click through to see what’s cooking on Dinnerly this week! You can see the menu for the month and sign up through the link.
I highly recommend trying Dinnerly and appreciate that you can sign up for the service without major commitment. There is a flexible subscription option so you can decide ahead of time which weeks you want to receive. And you can always skip a week if necessary. But why would you want to because the food is all really good!
This post originally published Dec 27, 2017 and has been updated with additional reviews.