Live Science Verdict
Freshly is a great meal delivery service for busy people who want a meal ready in minutes, with no prepwork and minimal cleanup.
+ Meals ready in three minutes or less
+ Gluten-free and plant-based options
+ Over 50 menu items each week
Cannot customize serving size
Meals only last up to days in the fridge
Need a microwave to heat the meals
Why you can trust Live Science Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best ones for you. Find out more about how we test.
Meal kits continue to make a splash among consumers looking for an easier way to eat healthy, diverse meals at home without relying on delivery or spending hours at the stove. And Freshly is a meal kit option designed for the super time-crunched eater who doesn’t want to sacrifice flavor or nutrition at dinner.
Freshly is a subscription meal service that ships fully prepared, ready-to-heat meals to customers throughout the country. Unlike other major meal kits like Blue Apron and Purple Carrot, there is no prep work involved in Freshly meals. Instead, you simply pop the fully-cooked, refrigerated meals into the microwave for a few minutes and voila: you have a flavorful and nutrient-dense meal ready.
Dinner and lunch options
Weekly plans up to 12 meals
Choose your own delivery day
Easy to pause or cancel
Menu includes full meals and sides
Freshly is one of the best meal delivery services for busy people who don’t want to cook or order take-out every night. The meals are full of variety, accommodate all dietary needs, and couldn’t be easier to put together.
We tested a week’s worth of meals from Freshly to see how the service compares to competitors and whether it lives up to promises. In particular, we took a close look at how easy it is to sign up for the service, costs, including how far in advance you can see the menu options, the delivery experience and packaging, how the meals look and of course, how they taste.
Here’s how our week of Freshly meals went and what you should keep in mind if you’re looking for a new meal delivery service.
Freshly review: Fees and delivery
Freshly offers five plan options, ranging from four meals per week to 12. The smallest box, with four meals, costs $47.16 plus $11.99 shipping, which comes out to $14.79 per serving. A fully-loaded 12-meal box costs $107.88 plus shipping, or $9.99 per serving. Shipping is a flat $11.99 per box. The menus are available three weeks in advance on the Freshly website.
Freshly offers over 50 meal options each week, including sides like Sauteed French Green Beans, and stand-alone proteins, such as Baked Turkey Meatballs, in addition to the standard meals.
The menu caters to a wide variety of dietary needs, including gluten-free, plant-based, dairy-free, and low-calorie options. Each menu item has the nutritional information readily available, which makes Freshly one of the better meal kits for people following specific diets.
Freshly review: Using the meal delivery service
Because all of the Freshly meals arrive fully prepared and ready to heat and eat, using the kit really couldn’t be easier. The box arrives with plenty of ice packs to keep things chilled. Then all you have to do is pop the meals in the fridge until dinner time.
Each meal has clear heating instructions on the packaging. In general, you’ll need to peel back a corner of the plastic film on the meal container and microwave the dish for two to three minutes, then let the meal stand for a couple of minutes. That’s it! You can eat right out of the plastic dish or plate your dinner (which Freshly recommends, and we do too). We found that each meal was perfectly hot after the allotted cooking time.
It’s definitely easiest to heat the meals in a microwave, but if you don’t have one, you can heat them in the oven. Of course, this will take longer, as the oven needs to preheat and food cooks more slowly than a microwave. You’ll also need to transfer the food to an oven-safe container, as the plastic dish will melt in the oven.
Freshly review: Taste and nutrition
We received three different meals in our Freshly box. We first tried Homestyle Chicken with Masterful Mac & Cheese, which seems like a favorite because it’s a menu staple. We were surprised by a few things with this dish. First, the coating on the chicken wasn’t total mush, and actually held a nice texture, even after microwaving. The chicken was incredibly tender and juicy and didn’t even require a knife to cut. We were also impressed by the serving size of the green beans, which was far from skimpy.
The mac and cheese sauce was creamy and very tasty. We did think the beans needed a bit of a flavor kick, so added hot sauce (which Freshly recommended). The meal was satisfying and had impressive nutritional value (560 calories, 35g of carbs, 27g of fat, and a whopping 46g of protein). Plus, since the mac and cheese sauce was made with butternut squash, you also get an extra hit of vitamins.
- Related: What are high-protein foods?
Next, we tried a vegetarian meal: Middle Eastern Falafel with Garlicky Tahini Sauce & Whole Grains. To be specific, the whole grains in question are quinoa and rice. This dish wasn’t quite as flavorful as the chicken; the tahini sauce tasted good but separated a bit when it was heated, which gave the dish an odd texture. The falafel was tasty enough, but lost its crispiness in the microwave. The grains and veggies (mostly roasted onion) were our favorite part of the dish. It also didn’t plate up quite as nicely as the chicken – mostly because of the sauce issue.
Finally, we sampled the Bistro French Onion Chicken with Creamy Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Veggies, which is labeled as a high-protein, gluten-free and soy-free option. This was the highest calorie meal on our menu, with 630 calories, 42g of carbs, 34g of fat, and 40g of protein. Again, the chicken was just as fall-apart tender as the Homestyle Chicken. The sauce was nice and there was a good amount to get some in every bite. There were plenty of veggies too. These got a bit overcooked in the microwave, but tasted nice nevertheless. This was a filling meal that didn’t feel overly heavy.
Freshly review: Customer reviews
Freshly scores an impressive 4.9 stars out of five on Trustpilot, based off of over 12,000 reviews. Customers rave about the convenience factor of the meal delivery service. They say that the meals help to take the stress and time out of planning and making a healthy lunch or dinner. According to one satisfied customer, “With Freshly, I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat for lunch each day and feel good knowing that I’m eating a healthy meal. I love the convenience!”
Negative reviews tend to be dissatisfied with the nutritional values of the meals, with one customer citing that they would like more of a vegetable-focus and fewer refined carbohydrates.
Should you use Freshly?
If you’re looking for a meal solution that’s super streamlined and means you can skip the grocery store, chopping, and even turning on the stove, Freshly is an excellent solution. Not only are the meals ready in minutes, but they’re also tasty and high-quality. On the other hand, if you’re someone who enjoys the cooking process, you might be better off with a meal delivery service that sends you individually portioned ingredients and recipe cards to follow, so that you can make the meals yourself. That being said, Freshly is not an old-fashioned TV dinner; the meals are healthy, nutritious, and, well, fresh!
If this product isn’t for you
If you still love the ritual of cooking at home, don’t own a microwave, or want a meal kit that will help to sharpen your culinary skills, consider Marley Spoon. You’ll receive pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipe cards for gourmet recipes inspired by world cuisines.
On the other hand, if you follow a plant-based diet or are trying to eat more vegan meals, Purple Carrot makes cutting back on animal products very easy. You’ll cook the meals yourself with pre-portioned ingredients, and the service includes breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Lizzy Briskin is a freelance writer focusing on food, health, lifestyle, travel, the outdoors and fitness. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, EcoWatch, Smart Mouth, Maed, Munchery, and more. She is also a chef, recipe developer and food photographer, having received professional culinary training at Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Lizzy has lead a successful gluten-free and vegan food blog, and worked as a recipe editor in the meal kit industry.