Have you ever used a meal subscription service? I hadn’t, up to last week. 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 two complimentary family boxes from Dinnerly to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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 (around $5 per person). And 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 6 available meals that week on the Dinnerly menu. Each recipe appears on the menu once per month for 2 months, with ingredients changing seasonally.
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? There is always at least one vegetarian meal you can choose from on the menu.
In my first Dinnerly box I received recipes and ingredients for the following dinner dishes:
- Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli
- Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta
- Fried Spaghetti Pie
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, salt and pepper. Otherwise all the necessities for each dish are included in the Dinnerly box.
Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta
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. In the recipe for Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta the recipe says to cook the chicken on the stove top for 6-7 minutes until browned but 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.
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.
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.
How Do the Dinnerly Recipes Taste?
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 or pb&j sandwiches 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 Much Does Dinnerly Cost?
Dinnerly is priced at $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 when we ate Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta 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.
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 arugala 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.
Second Dinnerly Box
I had the opportunity to try a second Dinnerly box and jumped at the chance. Last time I’d ordered there were only the three set menu items and now they offer your choice of three from the six available items that week. I chose these three dishes, Moo Shu Turkey Tacos, Shepard’s Pie and Meatball Parm Pizza with Broccoli.
Again, all the ingredients were sent in the big cooler box. I printed out my recipes and pulled out the ingredients. Be sure to read through the entire recipe first. There might be a step you can do earlier to save time.
Dinnerly Meal Options
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.
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.
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?!
Dinnerly Review Pros & Cons
- Creative meals that got us out of a dinner rut
- Choose 3 meals from the six 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
- Only delivering to select areas of the United States at this time, currently 29 states (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
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.
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.
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!