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Food & Drink

9 best recipe boxes 2021

Recipe boxes bring new and exciting meals to your front door every week, and new subscription services seem to pop up all the time. Here are our top picks, plus the best introductory offers.

delivery box with food subscription company logos

Credit: blackzheep (background) – Shutterstock

We all get bored of our usual repertoire of meals every now and then, but spending time discovering new recipes can be tiring if you're lacking inspiration – especially when you're not blessed with the necessary skills in the kitchen.

Fortunately, recipe boxes and meal delivery services are here to save the day. From presenting you with new culinary delights to try, to giving you the exact quantity you need of each ingredient, it's never been easier to bring some excitement to dinnertime.

Of course, this convenience comes at a cost, and you'll often save more money cooking from scratch yourself. However, as a treat, recipe boxes are generally a healthier alternative to takeaways, and when you use the special offers we've listed below, they might just be cheaper too...

If you can't afford to get a recipe box every week, our weekly meal plan is full of cheap, healthy and delicious ideas to try.

Best meal delivery and food subscription boxes UK

These are the best recipe box services:

  1. HelloFresh

    hellofresh logo

    Serves: Two to four

    Number of meals: Two to five meals a week

    Cost: £3.25 – £5.00 per serving

    Signup offer: 50% off your first box and 20% off the following three.

    HelloFresh is one of the most popular recipe box services in the UK, and it's just the ticket if you're looking to spruce up your arsenal of recipes with something new.

    HelloFresh's recipe boxes contain exactly the right quantity of each ingredient, eliminating the risk of food waste and massively reducing the effort required when cooking. After all, who actually knows how much pasta to cook?

    Each week there are dozens of recipes to choose from and, as with many other recipe boxes, you can also refine the selection based on your own preferences (just select one of 'Meat & Veggies', 'Veggie', 'Family' or 'Quick Cook' when you sign up).

    What's more, HelloFresh also has an app available on both iPhone and Android, making it even easier to manage your upcoming meal delivery.

    Get your recipe box »

  2. Gousto

    gousto logo

    Serves: Two adults ('2-person box') or two adults and two to three children ('Family box')

    Number of meals: Two to four meals a week

    Cost: £2.98 – £6.25 per serving

    Signup offer: 30% off all boxes in first month.

    Alongside HelloFresh, Gousto is arguably the biggest meal delivery service going – and, with the price per serving starting at less than £3, it's one of the cheapest too.

    Gousto boasts over 50 recipes each week and helpfully sorts them into different categories, from '10-Minute Meals' to 'Oven Ready' (featuring the king of ready meals, Charlie Bigham), and even a 'Lean in 15' collection from celebrity fitness coach, Joe Wicks.

    Ingredients are, once again, measured to perfection, and you can even filter the recipes and find those that suit your dietary needs, be it plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free or vegetarian.

    If you'd like to give Gousto a go, use the code GAFFIL2030M to get 30% off every box you order in your first month as a new customer.*

    Get your recipe box »

    * offer ends 30th June 2021.

  3. SimplyCook

    simply cook logo

    Serves: Two to four people depending on portion sizes

    Number of meals: Four a week

    Cost: £9.99 per box

    Signup offer: Four recipes for £3.

    SimplyCook is a little different to most meal subscription services, in that rather than getting all of the ingredients in your delivery, you just get the 'flavour pots' instead.

    In SimplyCook's own words, these pots aren't just straight herbs and spices – they're "unique flavour blends" with up to 18 ingredients in each. So, in theory, you'll be getting a much more intense taste than if you'd just made your own dressing, sauce, or whatever else.

    Of course, the fact that you only get flavour pots, and not every ingredient, makes calculating the true cost of a SimplyCook meal that bit harder. They reckon each meal costs between £3 – £6 per person depending on portion sizes and the number of people you're serving, and with the cost of each meal's pots coming in at £2.50, this certainly sounds about right.

    Fortunately, you won't need to use much brain power beyond calculating the cost. When you choose the recipes you want to make (there are hundreds – most of which have thousands of reviews each), SimplyCook will also tell you exactly how much of the remaining ingredients you need to buy too.

    Get your recipe box »

  4. Mindful Chef

    mindful chef logo

    Serves: One to four people

    Number of meals: Two to five a week depending on number of people

    Cost: £6 – £10+ per portion

    Signup offer: £10 off your first and second boxes.

    As the name suggests, one of Mindful Chef's USPs is how socially and environmentally conscious the company aims to be. As well as using organic and free-range produce, plus having an extensive selection of vegan meal delivery options, this recipe box company will donate one meal to a child in poverty for every one you purchase.

    What's more, Mindful Chef is one of the few meal delivery companies in the UK to offer one-person recipe boxes – perfect if you live alone, or don't fancy cooking with your flatmates (although it's worth remembering that cooking in bulk, particularly with our meal plan, is one of the best ways to save money on food).

    However, all this comes at a cost. The single-person recipe box works out at £9 per portion, which isn't far off what you'd pay for a meal at some restaurants.

    Separate to the recipe boxes, Mindful Chef also offers ready meal delivery bundles, all of which can be prepared in the microwave or oven, with some taking as little as eight minutes to cook.

    If you're keen to try Mindful Chef's recipe boxes, use the code AFF10X2 to get £10 off your first and second boxes*.

    Get your recipe box »

    * offer ends 31st December 2021.

  5. allplants

    allplants logo

    Serves: One or two people 

    Number of meals: Six

    Cost: £6.75 per portion (single portions), £4.99 per portion (double portions)

    Signup offer: Varies monthly.

    When they say 'allplants', they're not lying – allplants' dishes are 100% plant-based, with veggie alternatives to all the most popular meat recipes and some vegan originals too.

    Every single one of allplants' meals is prepared by chefs and designed by a nutritionist, which may explain how all of their dishes manage to achieve the holy trinity: being low in sugar, a source of protein and containing at least two of your five-a-day.

    Although the price point is a little higher than some of the other recipe box services on this list, allplants' only sells frozen ready meals which can be cooked in the microwave or the oven.

    So, what you spend in cash, you save in time – perfect if you're looking for some brain food to see you through a last-minute revision session and can't afford to spend an hour cooking.

    Right now you can get £20 off your first order using the code below!

    Get allplants discount code »

  6. Pasta Evangelists

    pasta evangelists logo

    Serves: One to two people

    Number of meals: Unlimited

    Cost: £6.50 – £10+ per portion (varies weekly)

    Signup offer: Two portions for £10.50.

    No prizes for guessing what Pasta Evangelists specialises in. But we must say, having tried this fresh pasta for ourselves, we can attest to it being as delicious as you could hope for.

    Each week Pasta Evangelists offers a dozen or so different dishes for you to choose from, including vegetarian and gluten-free meals, plus some Italian desserts and starters. But, unlike other food subscription boxes, there's no limit to the number of meals you can add to a single order.

    This may seem wasteful, but Pasta Evangelists' meals can be frozen, meaning you can buy several weeks' worth of food at once if you happen to like what's on offer in any given week.

    Cheap and easy to prepare, pasta recipes are an all-time favourite for students. While this food delivery box is far from frugal, the meals are arguably some of the easiest to make of all the subscription services in this list.

    Pasta Evangelists also offer a student discount, getting you 30% off plus a free cocktail with your order. However, even with the money off, it still works out pretty expensive – it may be best to keep this meal box service in reserve as a cheaper takeaway alternative or a date night treat.

    Get your recipe box »

  7. Morrisons Eat Fresh

    morrisons eat fresh logo

    Serves: Two or four people

    Number of meals: Up to five a week

    Cost: £2.50+ per portion (four people), £3.10+ per portion (two people)

    Signup offer: None.

    In addition to the Food Boxes range, which includes the Occasions, Essential and Subscription selections, Morrisons also has an Eat Fresh service.

    Unlike the Food Boxes, which contain a preset list of items, Eat Fresh allows you to pick and choose exactly which recipes you want to cook each week (just like most of the other food subscription boxes in the UK).

    When it comes to the price of a recipe box, it's hard to beat Morrisons Eat Fresh – starting at just £2.50 per serving when buying for four people, these meals aren't that much more expensive than cooking for yourself.

    You'll get a choice of around a dozen recipes each week, with categories including some fakeaways, quick meals and vegetarian options too. The selection changes from week to week and you can decide to repeat your order weekly, fortnightly, monthly or never at all, which is perfect if you'd like to give the service a trial before committing.

    Get your recipe box »

  8. Feast Box

    feast box logo

    Serves: Two adults or 'a family' (four adults, or two adults and up to three children)

    Number of meals: Up to four a week

    Cost: Approximately £5 – £9 per portion (varies weekly)

    Signup offer: 30% off more than three recipes in first two boxes.

    If you're keen to expand your culinary horizons and try new recipes from around the world, Feast Box might just be the food subscription box for you.

    While the meat and veg in Feast Box's recipes are all locally or nationally sourced, there are no bland British meals here. The weekly selection features delicious treats from all four corners of the globe, although it's fair to say there are probably more Asian dishes than anything else (not that we're complaining!).

    And for those of you that enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and don't want to settle for whatever's cheapest at your local supermarket, Feast Box have another trick up their sleeve.

    Each recipe features a suggested bottle of wine that would complement it and, conveniently, you can add it to your basket so it arrives with your food. However, you may be able to get the wine cheaper elsewhere, so bear that in mind – especially as the meals are already pretty pricey as it is.

    Get your recipe box »

  9. Riverford Organic Recipe Boxes

    riverford organic farmers logo

    Serves: Two or four people

    Number of meals: Unlimited

    Cost: Approximately £5 – £9 per portion (varies weekly)

    Signup offer: None.

    The clue is in the name – all of Riverford's recipe boxes contain organic ingredients, with a selection of meals that change every week.

    Riverford's offering caters to a wide range of requirements, with vegan recipe boxes among the categories. You'll receive the exact quantity needed of each ingredient in your Riverford delivery, along with what they describe as "easy step-by-step- instructions" to cook your meal.

    Buying organic is rarely an effective way of saving money on food, and the same is true of Riverford's recipe boxes. Although there can be discounts available for buying multiple recipes at once, the starting price of at least £5 per portion is pretty steep – and if you're buying anything other than a family recipe box, you're likely to be paying even more.

    It's also worth noting that, as the coronavirus pandemic rumbles on, Riverford has limited availability in some areas. So, check to see if you can actually receive a recipe box before you get too excited and fill your basket!

    Get your recipe box »

Once you've learned how to make some new meals, save copies of the recipes and buy the ingredients for less at the cheapest online supermarkets.