We all have moments in life where we are short on time to cook but still want a hot, nutritious meal. This is where meal delivery services come in: simply order online. These are most likely cheaper and healthier than ordering a last-minute takeaway and can be stored in your freezer ready for busy nights.

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Meal delivery services are also useful for specific moments in life. New parents, for example, whose last priority at the end of the day is feeding themselves, will find a bundle of meals to keep on standby in the freezer a lifesaver. Most meal delivery services offer meals for one, which is helpful for those living on their own stuck for inspiration or for elderly grandparents who aren't always able to get out to do a food shop. Healthy meal delivery services can be great for getting your diet back on track if you have specific health aims or considerations, showing you the right level of nutrition or portion size to be aiming for.

We have tested a selection of the best meal delivery services to bring you our verdict of the ones really worth trying – whether you want to look after someone from afar by sending them some meals or load up your fridge ahead of an extra busy week at work. Meal delivery services each vary: some have unique health aims, some come in large bundles, while our top pick caters for a little bit of everything. Read on to find the one for you.

For more, visit our reviews section and find more than 400 practical buyer's guides offering unbiased advice on what foodie products and services are worth spending money on, including the best recipe box subscriptions and the best veg boxes to order to your door. We also have thousands of simple recipes for everyday mealtime inspiration.

Best meal delivery services at a glance

Best meal delivery services to order 2022

COOK

Best overall meal delivery service

COOK is perhaps the most well-known meal delivery service, with 90 high-street shops across the UK as well as the vast website to order from.

For sheer variety, COOK has the most to offer. You could easily lose yourself browsing the website – there’s a breadth of main meals serving from 1 to 8 people, a broad entertaining range, hot and cold puddings, meal box bundles, seasonal ranges, lunch pots and more. The website is also packed with useful tips and recommendations alongside dishes, such as serving suggestions and how to adapt dishes.

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We tested a selection of meals from across the COOK offering. We started with the ‘lighter pots for one’ – ideal as quick and healthy lunches to take to work. The pots are all healthy meals with fewer than 400 calories. We tried the halloumi and roasted veg pasta, coming in at 317 calories, providing 2 of your 5 a day and low in sat fat – microwaved from frozen in just four minutes, it was an incredibly easy and filling healthy lunch that we’d happily eat again. At £4.25, this isn’t much more than most high street sandwich shops. Next, we were also impressed by a tomato, basil and mozzarella risotto – again microwaving from frozen in just a few minutes, it was a great speedy supper after the gym, with a strong hit of lemon and plenty of creamy mozzarella. A family fish pie was also comforting, although with a slightly dry mash.

COOK meals all arrive frozen and use a variety of different cooking methods – our favourite were the speedy microwave ones, but dishes could also go in the oven or be defrosted overnight, such as a large chocolate roulade for a stress-free dinner party dessert. There’s lots more we want to try and would definitely buy again to explore more of the range.

A happy all-rounder, COOK would be great for new parents (who get 10% off!), those living on their own, for freezer standby meals for busy families or for emergency last minute entertaining. Order a delivery for a grandparent living alone and you’ll soon be the most popular grandchild.

Order from:
COOK, prices vary

Great North Pie Co.

Best meal delivery for pies

If you’re just after one specific hit of comfort food, Great North Pie Co. (literally) delivers. Starting in a home kitchen just a few years ago, these award-winning pies now pop-up at farmers markets across the North East and in their Ambleside pie shop. For those living further afield, they can be delivered in boxes of 4 or 8 pies, between Tuesday and Friday.

The pie menu is short and focusing on classics (with slight seasonal changes), plus you can also buy gift vouchers for the true pie-fanatic in your life. The pies serve one and have straight sides like a traditional Scotch pie, baked in custom-made tins. First up, we tried the vegetarian cheese and onion pie. The firm pastry was a great balance to the rich filling and only a little dry on its own – it reminded us of a slightly thinner pork pie pastry. Inside was a very indulgent melting cheese filling and plenty of white onion that still had slight bite. The chicken pie was dense with shredded chicken. All pies were £4.75 each (or 4 for £19) which feels good value for independent, small-batch baked pies made to order – each serves one very generously.

We froze some of our pies and then defrosted fully before cooking and noticed no difference from trying them fresh: so stock up your freezer ready for cosy dinners on a cold winter’s night.

Available from:
Great North Pie Co., from £4.75

Mindful Chef

Best healthy meal delivery service

Mindful Chef is best known for it's recipe box subscription service, but it's 'Ready to Go' range has a wide range of ready meals, snacks and smoothies that can be bought as bundles or one-off purchases. The central focus of all of their meals is to be healthy and sustainable, using no refined sugars and only ethically sourced proteins from UK farms – plus, Mindful Chef partners with the charity One Feeds Two so for every Mindful meal sold, a school meal is donated to a child living in poverty.

There is a smaller variety of meals to choose from than some services we tried but still plenty of choice to keep you going. The inclusion of smoothies, snacks, desserts and even vitamins in the offering means you are covered for food at all times of day. Different dietary requirements are all catered for and the option to order bulk bundles is handy if giving for a gift or sending to someone you want to look after. Meals arrive all still frozen in eco-conscious insulation (with next-day nationwide delivery if ordered before 7pm) and all meals serve one. We tried a selection of different dishes and found the meals were simple, light and satisfying. The portions were filling but not too big, which is just what you want for a healthy weekday dinner. Some of our favourites were the broccoli and butternut squash dhal, shepherd's pie and lamb tagine.

We appreciated the transparency of Mindful Chef's commitment to sourcing sustainable, healthy and responsible ingredients, and the high quality of ingredients was clear in the finished meals. While some meal delivery services can focus on being either cosy indulgence or specific dietary requirements, Mindful Chef is a simple middle ground that will appeal to anyone wanting to be healthy but with a shortcut.

Available from:
Mindful Chef, from £4.75

Planty

Stack of Planty meal boxes on a white background

Best for bold vegan flavours

Planty is a meal delivery service providing 100 per cent plant-based, chef-prepared meals on a subscription model, so you sign up to regular deliveries. This is handy if you want to get into a routine of always having a back-up meal in your freezer for when you know you have busy periods, or if you're consistently looking for easy evenings free of cooking.

Meals are ordered by creating your own Planty box bundle of meals, choosing up to 12 meals and 3 desserts. Each meal serves one person. There's a wide range of meals to choose from (some of which are Great Taste Award winning), with the ability to filter easily by dietary requirements as well as handily by cooking method, if you're specifically looking for meals you can quickly microwave or you want to use your oven. When we browsed, meals included dishes such as pumpkin ravioli, yaki miso udon noodles, mac 'no' cheese, tempeh lasagne and a buddha bowl. There was a noticeable amount of hearty, comforting dishes based around pasta and carbs. Meals are delivered frozen on your selected delivery date – all in eco-conscious recyclable insulated padding to keep them cool.

Overall, the meals we tried were simple, tasty and satisfying. We really appreciated the clear nutritional signposting on the meals to indicate whether a dish was gluten-free or contributed to your five-a-day. Quite a few of the meals were on the spicy side, which might not be to everyone’s taste. The clear best thing about Planty is the ability to make plant-based food convenient and varied, ready to pop a frozen meal in the microwave at a moment's notice.

Available from:
Planty, prices vary

allplants

Best for plant-based variety

If you think eating plant-based has to be complicated, think again. Allplants’ ready-made meals offer a massive variety of recipes to choose from and rank highly on the convenience scale – simply stash in your freezer and cook from frozen when needed. A great choice for newbie vegans, plant lovers and flexitarians looking to add more meat-free meals into their weekly rotation.

Bundles start from £25 for their taster box which includes five meals for one, or you can purchase as many individual meals as desired, choosing between portions with one or two servings, with prices starting from £5.75 for one or £8.95 for two. You can choose from 50 main meal options (you need to select six to fill up your box), then add up to nine extras, including sides, smoothies, puddings and breakfasts. Arriving in a cheery yellow branded box, all the meals are individually portioned and frozen, surrounded by innovative insulation made from upcycled excess denim fibres. You’ll also be provided with a free returns label to send back a few boxes’ worth of eco-friendly liners, where they’ll be reused by Allplants up to 10 times.

Of the meals we tried, our favourite was the protein power bowl with chickpeas, edamame and tofu – clocking in at 530 calories and providing three portions of your five-a-day. Also on the menu – a clever, cheeseless mac and greens, comforting green ricotta lasagne and a spicy smoky soul chilli bowl with black beans, sweet potatoes and mini corn breads.

You can filter to exclude soy, nuts or gluten, and opt for recipes that can be heated up in the oven or microwave (we had good results using both methods of heating, but some recipes, such as the lasagne, are obviously best crisped up in the oven as the packaging made clear).

Subscriptions are flexible and managed through the account section of the website, and you can make changes to order dates, portion sizes and delivery frequency, or cancel your subscription if desired.

Available from:
allplants, from £5.75

Lions Prep

  • Available from Lions Prep, from £4 per meal
Four different bowls and plates of food, with two on top of a cardboard box

Best for variety

Dinner can be on the table in just three minutes with the help of Lions Prep, a microwavable meal-for-one service providing fresh and healthy breakfasts, snacks and mains.

Making it easy for you to track what you eat from £4 per meal, Lions Prep is aimed at those who lead a busy lifestyle, yet crave freshly prepared meals. The process is simple: order online by putting together your first weekly plan. The menu changes weekly, and you can edit your order up to three days before your delivery is due. You can also add meals, skip deliveries or cancel your plan at any time. Each week, the system recommends meals to suit your goals based on allergies and dietary requirements, such as low-carb, high-protein and plant-based options.

Providing fresh food is important to its ethos, so for those on a five/six-day meal plan, meal boxes arrive over two deliveries. Inside the box, meals are wrapped in an eco-friendly, paper-based, compostable solution to keep them cool.

Our favourite dinner was the satay chicken with fried rice & smashed cucumber – the satay was wonderfully nutty, and we were surprised at how a three-minute microwavable meal could deliver big, distinct flavours. We’d also recommend the creamy garlic Tuscan salmon, served with lemon & herb crushed potatoes and crunchy green beans.

For breakfasts, expect sweet dishes like banana pancakes with maple syrup, or hits such as Indonesian wok rice with chicken, soft egg and a dash of soy sauce – perfect for those who enjoy a light, savoury breakfast. From what we tried, snacks were mostly sweet, including a sweet and sharp dairy-free apple crumble served with dairy-free custard, although on a different week, you can expect snacks such as tofu bites glazed with a piri-piri sauce.

Overall, these solo meals are nutritional, big on flavour and most important, convenient. We were impressed at the sheer variety of meals on offer, and the nutritional signposting on each one is a real bonus. Ready for you to pop in the microwave at a moment's notice, these are perfect for busy workers or even a student new to living alone.

Available from:
Lions Prep, from £4 a meal

Breda Murphy

Best for bundles

Breda Murphy is an Irish chef with a restaurant and bakery in Lancashire who began a meal delivery service in 2021 with the promise of delivering ‘restaurant quality at home’. The meals follow a unique format of being available in different bundles, such as a Singles Meal Box (with meals to serve 1), Mixed Meals Box or Doubles Meal Box (meals to serve 2). Within the bundles you can choose which meals you’d like to receive.

We tested out the Singles Meal Box which contains 3 single-portion meals, 3 single-portion desserts and a loaf cake for £55 (working out at approx. £7.80 per item). The meals all arrive frozen and we like the distinctive colourful packaging that makes the dishes easy to spot once you’ve stashed them in the freezer. Unlike some other meal delivery services we tried, these cannot be cooked from frozen and should be defrosted overnight, so a small element of planning ahead is still needed. Each meal had pleasing short ingredients lists with all natural, familiar ingredients. There are six main meals to choose from and four puddings. A chickpea curry was fresh and warming for a light lunch in winter. You could add extra protein or cheese if you wish or it’s just as good on it’s own. The fish pie had a pretty piped mash presentation and was packed with fish just coated in super creamy sauce. A fragrant Thai green chicken curry was another winner.

We liked the luxury of having puds included in the bundle (if you don’t have a sweet tooth, there are savoury-only bundles too) – although we weren’t big fans of the sticky toffee pudding and our slightly dry lemon drizzle cake, we were incredibly impressed by the fruit crumble, which proved to be an irresistible combination of apples, blackberries, raspberries and gooseberries. Definitely one we’d order again!

The bundle ordering functionality makes this a good idea for a gift for new parents or a student you want to ease into living alone, or as a quick way to stock the freezer ahead of a busy period. We’d recommend sticking to the savoury options and then adding a crumble!

Available from:
Breda Murphy, from £55 for 6 meals

Foodhak

Best meal delivery service for helping weight loss

Foodhak is the brainchild of West Londoner Sakshi Chhabra. After she was diagnosed with a rare liver disease during pregnancy, she switched to a plant-based diet that focused primarily on ayurvedic dishes. This is how she discovered the power of food as medicine, and so Foodhak was born.

What makes Foodhak different is the dishes are made with all-natural, wholesome ingredients to give you a nourishing boost with every bite. They include a plethora of vegetables, herbs and spices – including turmeric, ginseng and ashwagandha – carefully chosen to support your health and increase energy levels. You can feel confident knowing that every meal is backed by science, as nutrition research underpins all their work.

On the easy-to-use online menu there are 50 dishes for you to choose from. You can pick from mains, bowls, soups, and snacks – and you’re given the option to add a small side portion of grains. For your afternoon pick-me-up, there are several sweet (but healthy) treats to try.

Meals are delivered in plastic pouches, making it easy to reheat in the microwave and keep your meals fresh for a few days (just in case you have a change of plans). These can be washed out and recycled at most supermarkets.

Five meals for two people (that’s 10 servings in total) comes to £73, which works out at about £7.30 per serving. It gets cheaper if you add more days, or meals, to your plan. Alternatively, go for one of their curated plans for £60 – these include 10 meals for three or four days and there’s weight loss, ayurvedic and vegan options available. Delivery is free.

On tasting, we were really impressed with Foodhak. The dishes are less like ready-meals and more like home-cooked food that a skilled chef has lovingly made for you, and popped into your fridge for another day. Every vegetable is perfectly cooked with a slight al dente crunch, sauces are bursting with flavour, spices are fragrant without being overpowering and the choice on the menu is incredibly varied. Our favourites included soya mince in a Thai jasmine sauce, comforting Cantonese congee (a savoury rice porridge) and Szechuan-style mapo tofu with mushrooms. Between meals, we happily nibbled on spicy crackers, ashwaghandha choc chip cookies and a fudgy millet brownie. The only thing we would say is the vegan paella wasn’t as flavoursome as the other dishes – but everything else was good enough to make up for it.

We tried the weight loss plan which consisted of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and although we initially feared the portions were a bit small, we were satisfied after eating and continued to feel energised throughout the day.

We would happily order Foodhak again, especially during winter when a quick, healthy meal that requires no more than a buzz in the microwave is exactly what we’re after. There are several dishes on their menu that we look forward to trying, and we still can’t stop thinking about that millet brownie.

Available from:
Foodhak, from £60 for 10 meals

Farmison & Co

Best for meat lovers

Farmison & Co is best known for being a high quality butcher, selling a wide range of cuts of meat from pork, chicken and sausages to wagyu beef, mutton and game. However, they've also got a 'saucepan ready' range of meals available in pouches, all based around the meat they're known for, to be ready in minutes.

You can subscribe to get three meals delivered weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, or just buy them individually. You can choose your delivery day and delivery is free over £40 – so you could buy some meat as well. There's a small range of 6-8 meals to choose from, each using different cuts of meat and prepared by chefs. Meals arrive fresh so you can use them straight away (and keep in the fridge for a surprisingly long shelf life), or you can also freeze them for a later date.

We tried the lamb and apricot tagine, which had very finely shredded lamb and lots of warmth from cinnamon and spices. The pouches serve two and depending on the recipe, you can choose whether to have them on their own or serve alongside a carb such as flatbreads or rice. There are also serving suggestions on the site.

Available from:
Farmison & Co, from £8.95

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