Live Science Verdict
The Marley Spoon meal kit offers gourmet meals, clear and easy-to-follow recipe instructions, and quality ingredients for anyone who enjoys cooking with added convenience.
+ Fully customizable
+ Quality ingredients
+ Varied menu
First delivery takes at least a week
Shipping not included in price
Meals may take longer to cook than expected
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The Marley Spoon Meal Kit is one of the best meal delivery kits we’ve tried. The brand has a long-standing partnership with home cooking icon Martha Stewart, and the meals live up to Martha-level promises of quality, flavor, and presentation.
There are a lot of options when it comes to selecting the best meal delivery service, from fully prepared and frozen options to cook-it-yourself kits. To help find the best options for every kind of home cook, we put some of the most popular meal kit services to the test. Marley Spoon stands out for its promise to deliver quality ingredients, unique and diverse menu options, and easy-to-follow recipes that are dinner party-worthy but simple to put together. We sampled a box of three Marley Spoon meals to see how they stacked up.
New menus every week
Over 40 recipe options
Dinner and breakfast options
Vegan and vegetarian meals
Under 30-minute meals
Easy-to-follow recipe cards with photos
Choose your own delivery date
Two and four person plans
Select your own meals
Whether you follow a specific diet such as dairy-free, or vegetarian, or you just want kid-friendly dinners, you’ll find meal options at Marley Spoon. Many of the recipes claim to take less than 30 minutes, some less than 20, and all arrive with pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards with step-by-step photos.
Yes, you’ll need to do some prep work, such as chopping vegetables and mixing sauces, but if you love the process of cooking for yourself, you’ll appreciate that the meal kit streamlines things, takes the legwork out of planning dinners, and makes whipping up an impressive meal for up to four people feel fun and low-stress.
Here’s what you need to know about the Marley Spoon service before subscribing, including whether this is the right meal kit for you, or if you’ll enjoy a different service more.
Marley Spoon Meal Kit review: Fees and delivery
The well-designed website makes setting up a Marley Spoon delivery a breeze. You’ll start by selecting from the two or four person plan. Within each plan, you can have up to six recipes per box. The most economical option, six meals for four people per week, comes out to $8.69 per portion. Shipping is an additional $9.99, so the total for the bulk plan is $281.55. The smallest plan, with two meals that serve two each week, costs $12.99 per portion, totaling $61.95.
You can select a specific day of the week for deliveries, but note that your first box will likely not arrive for at least a week after ordering. The service delivers to every zip code in the contiguous United States. New menus are available four weeks in advance and offer 40 choices ranging from 20-Minute Honey Mustard Chicken with Charred Broccoli Panzanella Salad to Vegan Quinoa Vitality Bowl with Tahini-Turmeric Dressing.
Labels on each menu item help you find gluten-free, kid-friendly, and low-calorie options. You can also view the entire recipe, ingredient list, and nutritional panel of each meal before adding it to your box.
Marley Spoon Meal Kit review: Using the meal delivery service
As soon as your box ships, you’ll receive a shipping confirmation email with a tracking number so you can make sure the food gets into the fridge quickly. It arrives in a sunshine-yellow box packed with a plant-based insulating liner and ice packs that keep the food cool for several hours. The protein in our box was packed frozen and was still partially frozen when we unpacked. Much of the packaging is recyclable or reusable.
Each meal comes with a large, clear, and full-color recipe card with a beautiful image of the dinner you have to look forward to on the front and step-by-step photos on the back. The recipes are no more than six steps, and many take less than half an hour to throw together.
The instructions are easy to follow, with short sentences and bolded ingredient names. Though some of the recipes may take longer than suggested on the recipe card, nothing was too overwhelming. We did have to use several pots and pans for the recipes, which can add up when it’s time to clean up.
Marley Spoon Meal Kit review: Taste and nutrition
We were pleasantly surprised by how delicious the Marley Spoon meals were. We had high expectations based on the mouthwatering food photography and enticing meal descriptions
(who doesn’t want to enjoy the “velvety decadence” of ravioli with “meaty mushrooms, fragrant rosemary, and sweet carrots”?). But each meal not only looked quite like the image on the card, but it also tasted as good as promised.
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We particularly loved the 20-minute Coconut Turmeric Tilapia, which was infused with a warming flavor of turmeric with gentle spice from fresh ginger, and sweetness from burst cherry tomatoes. Not only did our apartment smell like a restaurant, but the plates looked professional too. Plus, the dish had just eight ingredients and a fairly healthy nutritional profile (570 calories per serving, 15g of fat, 74g of carbohydrates, and 38g of protein). While tilapia isn’t the most flavorsome fish (and isn’t our typical choice at the market), the creamy coconut-based sauce made up for that. Simple white rice rounded things out to make a deeply satisfying and comforting meal that wasn’t overly heavy.
We also sampled the Black Bean & Quinoa Taco Bowl, which was a bit more involved and took closer to 35 minutes (though advertised as 20-30 minutes). We had to cook quinoa in one saucepan, prep five veggie ingredients on a cutting board, make a slaw in a small bowl, slice and bake tortilla strips in the oven, cook beans in a second saucepan, and assemble the grain bowls with all of the components to serve.
The bowls were good, but not necessarily memorable. We could have used store-bought tortilla strips or chips, rather than turning on the oven to make our own, which weren’t necessarily worth the effort. This vegetarian meal (it would have been vegan if it weren’t for the sour cream topping) contained 770 calories per serving, 29g of fat, 106g of carbohydrates, and 23g of protein. The bowls were piled high and definitely filling, even a bit heavy with all of the beans and grains. The tomato and red onion slaw helped cut through some of the carbiness.
The third meal in the box, Creamy Mushroom Ragu with Cheese Ravioli, was a comfort food wonder. There was a bit of prep work involved up front, but the dish came together quickly and had a wonderful flavor. We loved the umami-packed pairing of seared mushrooms and tomatoey sauce. It was plenty for two people (we even had a bit left for lunch the next day). This meal was also vegetarian and contained 710 calories per serving, 40g of fat, 60g of carbohydrates, and 28g of protein.
Marley Spoon Meal Kit review: Customer reviews
Customers of Marley Spoon love the service for its commitment to high-quality ingredients and gourmet recipes. In particular, the meal kit is a favorite among customers who want delicious home cooking without the stress of planning, prepping, and shopping. As one customer put it, "I love it when I wake up and don’t know what’s for dinner and then, like magic, it arrives at my doorstep."
Should you use the Marley Spoon Meal Kit?
This is an excellent choice for a meal kit that can feed a crowd. It’s great for anyone who enjoys cooking but wants to make the process faster and easier. The recipes are simple enough for beginner cooks to master but taste gourmet. You’ll enjoy a wide range of flavors and ingredients without having to head to the grocery store, and the rotating weekly menu keeps things interesting. Produce, proteins and dry ingredients arrive fresh, whole, and in great shape.
The service also makes it easy to cater to specific nutritional needs, such as gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and calorie-conscious, without having to settle for meals that are anything less than delicious. Though this meal kit is more expensive than other options and you’ll need to pay extra for shipping each week, the convenience of pre-portioned ingredients, a six-step recipe, and a customizable delivery date make the price tag worth it for home cooks looking for a bit more simplicity in the kitchen.
If this product isn’t for you
If you’re looking for a meal kit with even more menu options, consider Blue Apron. This meal kit giant offers over 50 recipes, including both cook-it-yourself and pre-cooked, ‘heat-and-eat’ meals each week.
Or, for a kit with even more convenience that’s great for one person, check out Freshly. Freshly meals arrive fully cooked and ready to heat and eat. The menu includes well-rounded lunches and dinners, hearty sides, and healthy stand-alone proteins to stock your fridge.
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.