Have you ever used a meal subscription service? I hadn’t, up until recently. My family and I prepare 99% of our meals at home. The thought of paying to have our food prepped and delivered has never been something we considered. Would trying Dinnerly change our mind? I was intrigued by the interesting recipes, the Dinnerly website photos and the lower-than-expected cost. Find out my honest Dinnerly review and whether it works for families. And does it really save time and money to order Dinnerly versus handpicking everything yourself at the grocery?
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way. I received four complimentary family boxes from Dinnerly to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
This post originally published Dec 27, 2017 and has been updated with additional reviews.
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 (less than $5 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 review!
What’s on the Dinnerly Menu?
I received the Dinnerly Family Box which includes 4 portions per recipe (intended for two adults & two children). Each recipe involves six or less ingredients. Subscribers are sent 3 recipes per week and you can choose from the 8 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 – I received recipes and ingredients for the following dinner dishes in 4 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
Preparing Dinnerly Meals
The fresh, seasonal ingredients arrived in an insulated box with a large chill pack 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 was easy enough to sort out what ingredients went to which dishes. I bundled them together and placed 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 (ages 6 and 20 months) would try any of these dishes. They are both picky and ended up eating leftovers instead.
Our two older children are teenagers and they each eat as much as an adult. The family box ingredients are intended for two adults and two children, but 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. Also the recipes can be a little different than what you might be used to.
You’ll notice that I do not have a picture yet for Pasta Carbonara with Roasted Broccoli. I left my husband in charge of cooking this meal while I had to be out for the night. He admitted that he did not read the directions ahead of time and messed up some of the steps. I do plan on remaking this dish myself so I can test out the recipe! But that’s my warning for anyone using recipes that isn’t used to following one: Read everything 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
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.
Dinnerly Meal Options
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.
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!
How Much Does Dinnerly Cost?
Dinnerly is priced at less than $5 per each serving. Shipping per box is $8.99, so be sure to work that into the cost breakdown. Dinnerly is the lowest cost of all the dinner subscription boxes on the market. While the Dinnerly Family Box is noted to feed two adults and two children, we found that there was 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. This meal 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!
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.
Seared Sausages with potatoes and green beans
All of the ingredients for this dish were all made in a single pot. You’ll sear the meat first and remove it from the pan. Then cook the potatoes and green beans, adding in tomato sauce later. Then everything goes back into the pot to heat. Another fast dinner from Dinnerly! And only one pot to wash. And while delicious, it doesn’t photograph well! I promise, it was yummy.
How Fast Can You Cook Dinnerly Meals?
Dinnerly recipes are touted as taking 30 minutes or less to prepare and cook. I found that some of the recipe times were a little off and required more time to cook than what was suggested.
Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta
In this recipe the instructions say to cook the chicken on the stove top for 6-7 minutes until browned. However I found it actually took about 11 minutes. Not a big deal, a few minutes here and there aren’t going to put a kink in the dinner plans.
I made the spiced tomato braised chicken in my Dutch oven and the house smelled heavenly. Nobody in my family had ever tried polenta before but we all really liked it. And even though I’d never prepared it before, the recipe instructions were fool-proof.
Does Dinnerly Have Vegetarian Options?
While Dinnerly doesn’t have as many vegetarian options as they do with-meat options, there is usually at least one vegetarian meal you can choose from on the menu. In any case, you can opt out of preparing the protein since everything comes packaged separately.
Fried Spaghetti Pie
The vegetarian meal for the week I received Dinnerly was the intriguing sounding Fried Spaghetti Pie. I can honestly say I’ve never prepared or eaten anything quite like this dish! A creamy sauce and grated Parmesan coats the cooked spaghetti, which is then lightly fried and baked to crisp. It’s topped with a tossed arugula salad. This was a fun twist on traditional pasta dishes and we enjoyed it a lot! The recipe even gave us some ideas on how to add protein, if we wished to.
Dinnerly Review Pros & Cons
- Creative meals that got us out of a dinner rut
- Choose 3 meals from the eight 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 four of us that ate the Dinnerly meals 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 bit pricier than purchasing ingredients on your own (but definitely cheaper than eating out!)
- Fancier meals may not appeal to picky eaters
My 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?
Click through to see what’s cooking on Dinnerly this week! You can see the menu for the month and sign up for a subscription. TRY NOW AND RECEIVE FREE SHIPPING 🙂
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!