When domestic goddess Martha Stewart calls something a “good thing,” you pay attention. She is associated with Marley Spoon, our favorite among the best meal kit delivery servicesto bring her carefully tested recipes to your kitchen.
I love to cook and do it often, so a meal kit might not be for me. Still, the convenience and ease of meal kits speaks to anyone with a busy schedule, like me. A box full of fresh, quality ingredients that comes straight to your door? Stewart-approved recipes? Yes and yes, please.
Marley Spoon’s weekly range of 40 recipes caters to all kinds of dietary needs, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kid-friendly and healthy. The range of plans will suit most family units, while the variety of kitchens should appeal to the more adventurous.
Of course, it all comes down to whether Marley Spoon is worth it. Read my review to see what I decided after trying the service.
Marley Spoon Review: Price
Marley Spoon offers two plans depending on whether you need a two or four person box. Then, the service offers you a choice of two to six meals in each box. All boxes have $8.99 shipping.
Prices vary depending on the number of people and meals. For two people, two meals are $11.99 per serving and six meals are $9.49. For four people, two meals are $9.99 per serving and six meals are $8.49.
In my box, I decided to have three meals for two people ($10.49/portion). It seemed like the best choice for me, in terms of timing and price.
Marley Spoon review: Shipping and delivery
Once you’ve selected a plan, Marley Spoon prompts you to choose a delivery day of the week. You can change your delivery day with notice, usually at least one week in advance.
Unlike grocery delivery services, you can’t narrow it down to a few hours time slot. Delivery will take place on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. If you’re not home when the box arrives, don’t worry, Marley Spoon ships everything with cold packs. My Marley Spoon box arrived on the expected day and in the window, and all the ingredients felt properly chilled.
Overabundant packaging has long been my biggest complaint with meal kits. Marley Spoon says reducing packaging is a priority. The outer cardboard box and inner thermal liner are recyclable (although the included foil pouches are not). Ice packs contain a non-toxic and non-hazardous substance that can be thrown away. Some products are unwrapped, but proteins, condiments and other ingredients are contained in plastic.
I understand that pre-portioned ingredients are kind of the point of meal kits; I just hope that the services will continue to work on the amount of waste they generate.
Marley Spoon review: Recipes
The recipe selection is where Marley Spoon really shines. The service offers more than 40 recipes per week, and the variety of cuisines, proteins, and cuisine is only surpassed by the more expensive Sunbasket. Their menu has a better balance between interesting and more complicated recipes and quick and easy dishes for the public on Marley Spoon than HelloFresh.
In a recent week, recipes included steak with garlic butter and creamed greens, tomato poached fish, dirty Cajun rice, Thai shrimp salad, bulgogi burger, veggie sweet potato chili, cheesy turkey enchiladas and meatless BBQ sloppy joes.
Another week offered chicken and broccoli lo mein, lemon and dill salmon, Philly roast pork sandwich, tomato and basil ravioli, falafel platter, black beans and rice vegan jerk and creamy pan Tuscan shrimp.
Each week’s menu also features a number of desserts and breakfast specials, including flourless chocolate cake, bacon egg bites, hot raisin buns and oatmeal bars. salted caramel.
For my box, I wanted lean protein (with at least one seafood dish), mouth-watering flavors, and ease of cooking, since it was a busy week. I chose skillet chicken fajitas, roasted tilapia with herb panko, and a 20 minute Italian wedding soup.
Marley Spoon review: Cooking meals
After receiving my box, I unpacked all the ingredients. Most of them looked whole, undamaged and fresh (there was a sad and slightly wilted carrot). Each recipe required different amounts of time and effort, so I wanted to make sure they helped me maximize my schedule that week.
Right off the bat, I decided to make the Italian Wedding Soup for a work-from-home lunch. The recipe card listed the level as “easy” and the serving time as 15-20 minutes. Looking at the instructions, I understood why it was so easy – ready-to-heat meatballs. The only real work I had to do was chopping garlic, carrots and snow peas. Eventually the veggies went to a pot with the meatballs, orzo, and chicken broth. Less than half an hour later, I sat down with a steaming bowl of savory soup. In fact, it went so fast that I forgot to take pictures along the way!
The roasted tilapia with herb panko was perfect for a weeknight meal to cook in 20-30 minutes. The recipe was labeled “easy”, although it required a little more effort and skill than the soup. I chopped potatoes, thyme and almonds; grated and squeezed a lemon; and mixed a vinaigrette. Still, the cooking was generally smooth.
The only catch was a mistake I made – not using an ovenproof skillet as the instructions said. I sautéed the tilapia in a non-stick pan, then belatedly realized it had to be roasted in the oven. A quick transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet saved the meal (and my hungry partner). So, the moral of this story is: read the recipe carefully before you start!
I saved the chicken fajitas for the weekend because I guessed (correctly) they would take over 20-30 minutes to make. The recipe involved a lot of chopping and prep work, including breaking down the chicken breasts into strips. I highly recommend a sharp knife; this makes cutting easier and faster. I also had to blacken the flour tortillas one at a time in a skillet.
Once everything was prepared, the meal quickly came together. The result was pretty good, but Marley Spoon (and most meal kits) tends to hold back flavor and spice a bit.
I get it – they want their food to appeal to a wide audience. I didn’t find this to be a big problem with any of my meals. For the fajitas, I added some of my favorite hot sauce. The soup got a few extra bursts of black pepper, while the fish just needed a finishing salt.
Marley Spoon Review: Verdict
While Marley Spoon isn’t the cheapest meal kit service, it really hits the sweet spot of offering variety and quality ingredients at a decent price. The weekly menus are more ambitious, adventurous and advanced than competitors like Hello Fresh – no surprise since the service has partnered with Stewart.
I found the registration process and the selection of recipes on the website easy to navigate. Changing the delivery day or skipping a week was easy. Recipes are clearly labeled with dietary restrictions such as dairy-free and low-carb, as well as relevant labels such as ‘one-pot meal’ and ‘kid-friendly’. Cooking is a breeze (as long as you follow the instructions).
If you’re new to the kitchen or have a busy schedule, Marley Spoon is a great way to incorporate more delicious homemade food into your life without sacrificing too much time, energy, or money.