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Is it any surprise that Martha Stewart would
jump on the meal-kit bandwagon? In 2016, she partnered with a company called
Marley Spoon to launch a meal-kit delivery service. Martha
& Marley Spoon (or Marley Spoon for short) features the famed entrepreneur and homemaker’s recipes and cooking techniques. When you sign up for this
subscription service, you get to choose from 22 recipes each week, with several
vegetarian options in the mix each week. We like that Marley Spoon offers a few novel
options, like the ability to choose a non-entree recipe from time to time, in
case you’d rather make a batch of cookies instead of another lasagna. The
recipes we made required a good amount of hands-on cooking and some inventive
equipment substitutions, but they came out flavorful. The prices are about what
you’d pay for any other meal kit service. Martha & Marley Spoon is a very
good option if you have some experience with, and enjoy, hands-on cooking.

While we like Marley Spoon, it doesn’t edge out
our Editors’ Choices in this category. Blue Apron is similar to Marley
Spoon in its menu, but its area of specialty is teaching novices their way
around the kitchen. If you’re inexperienced, that’s the one to try. If you’re
already a decent cook but want healthier options, Green
Chef
is great, putting out plant-forward meals, many of
which cater toward vegetarian, paleo, and keto diets. HelloFresh is our other favorite, a
great all-around meal kit service that we liked a little bit more than Marley
Spoon. One final Editors’ Choice is Hungryroot,
an unconventional service that picks groceries for you and sends suggested
recipes for them, which you can follow or throw to the wind.

Marley Spoon Plans and Pricing

Marley Spoon costs between $6.39 and $10.25 per
serving. The price depends on the number of servings you order per box. If you
only want two meals each week for two people, you end up paying the highest
price. These prices are lower than Marley Spoon charged
previously, making it more competitive than the last time we looked at it. Shipping costs $8.99 per delivery.

During sign-up, you have to choose whether you
want the recipes to contain two servings or four. That’s a fairly standard
choice among other meal kits, too. What’s different here is the number of meals
you can choose per week. Most services let you choose between two and four.
With Marley Spoon, you can get as many as six per week.

The biggest box you can order is six meals per
week with four servings each. At $6.39 per portion, plus $8.99 for shipping,
the weekly total is $162.35. The smallest box (two meals for two people) will
run you a total of $49.99.

How Much Do Other Meal Kits Cost?

Most meal-kit subscription services cost between
$9.99 and $12.99 per serving, so Marley Spoon’s prices are fairly average.

Two services charge much less: EveryPlate ($4.99 per serving) and
Dinnerly ($4.29 to $4.99 per serving). These two services use recipes with
ingredients that are inexpensive and easy to come by. Expect mushrooms and
macaroni rather than scallops and truffle butter. That’s part of how they keep
prices low. Depending on what you like to eat, paying a little more might give
you a better experience.

Blue Apron costs between $7.49 and $9.99 per
serving. Purple Carrot, an all-vegan
service,  charges $8.99 to $10.99 per
serving. Sun Basket costs more at $10.99 to
$12.99 per serving. HelloFresh and Green Chef charge between $9.99 and $12.99
per serving, depending on how much food you order. Both charge a $7.99 shipping
fee, too. That said, many companies waive the shipping fee on your first order.

Most of the meal services I mentioned so far
ship a minimum of two servings per recipe. So what do you do if you’re single?
Single-serve meals are available, though the companies making them tend to
offer ready meals rather than cooking kits. Freshly ($7.99-$11.50), Splendid Spoon ($9.50-$13), and Daily Harvest ($6.99-$7.75) are all
good examples.

Marley Spoon’s menu offers 22 recipes each week,
which include several for vegetarians. If you only want vegetarian meals, you
can sign up for that from the start.

The variety is good. You’ll find burgers,
pizzas, and entrees with spices and flavors from different cuisines. Some
examples of dishes are garlic-lime marinated steak with spicy oven fries and
spinach salad; pan-roasted cod with potatoes and herb butter; cheesy
spinach-artichoke pizza with fontina and parmesan; low-carb chicken fajita
casserole with guacamole and pico de gallo.

When you view the weekly options, you see a
photo of each completed dish on a little card. Tags indicate whether the dish
is gluten-free, low-carb, kid-friendly, healthy, vegetarian, and so forth. The
tags don’t show allergens, however. To see those, you need to click through for
the full recipes. There, you can see nutritional information, the ingredients
list, allergens, and the complete recipe with instructions and required cooking
equipment.

Martha and Marley Spoon 6-step recipe

Speaking of allergens, Marley Spoon’s meal kits
are prepared in a setting where allergens are present. The company says it
takes measures to remove any chances of cross-contamination. That said, if you
have a serious food allergy, it’s probably best to avoid Marley Spoon.

While some meal kits cater heavily toward
convenience, with assemble-and-eat or heat-and-eat meals, Marley Spoon makes
you cook for real. Each recipe is condensed down into six steps, which you can
see when you click the recipe online. Sometimes extra steps get jammed into the
six, but the visual breakdown of six certainly makes the recipes seem
manageable. And they are, especially if you’re competent in the kitchen
already. If convenience is more important, look into Home Chef or Sun Basket, or Freshly instead.

Marley Spoon sometimes throws an unusual
non-entree into its selection, such as ingredients to make smoothies or bake
cookies. That’s great if every now and then you don’t need or want as many
dinners as you signed up for. You can also add to your shipment extra portions
of meat and seafood. That way you can order vegetarian meals and have meat or
fish on the side for those who want to add it. Or you might simply be in need
of some chicken breasts and pork chops for another day.

Martha and Marley Spoon kit

The Packaging

Meal delivery services generate a lot of waste.
Some companies reduce the waste better than others, like Daily Harvest with its
move toward compostable containers, but none is a beacon of environmentalism.

Marley Spoon does all right here, and it has a recycling page with information
about all the materials it uses in shipping. It uses plastic, but not too
excessively. You may be able to get a few additional uses out of its tiny
bottles and other containers. The plastics (#1, 4, and 7) are all recyclable,
technically speaking, but whether your local recycling center or curbside
pickup accepts them is another matter.

For insulation, Marley Spoon uses undyed cotton
(#60) which wasn’t suitable for making clothes but might come in use if you
need to restuff a pet bed or dampen the noise in a homemade recording studio.

To keep your ingredients cold, Marley Spoon uses
frozen gel packs. They are pouches made of heavy duty plastic that are filled
with a non-toxic substance that must be dumped into the trash rather than
rinsed down the drain. They are cumbersome and messy. You can refreeze them and
reuse them, but if you get your meal kits on a weekly basis, you will run out
of freezer space quickly. A few meal delivery services that ship items frozen
(Splendid Spoon, Daily Harvest, Ramen Hero) use dry ice instead. It’s much
easier to clean up because it simply evaporates. It’s dangerous, though,
because it can burn skin. Be extra careful if you have curioussdxdfc pets or children.

Martha and Marley Spoon Packaging

The Marley Spoon Experience

As with most meal kit delivery services, once
you sign up for Marley Spoon, you get an online account for managing your
meals. You typically have to decide which meals you want about a week before
they ship. If you need to skip a week or pause your subscription, you can do
that any time from your account.

The company also offers a “flexible
subscription,” wherein you
decide which weeks to receive a shipment of meals, and you only pay for what
you get. With this type of plan, you can arrange deliveries up to six weeks in
advance.

Note that we did the cooking
and eating part of our testing in 2018. The rest of the service was reevaluated in 2020, but
the meals reflect our experience in 2018.

We chose four meals from Marley Spoon: grilled
Philly pork hoagies, Asian steak salad, beef-mushroom yaki udon, and Cuban mojo
pork chops. That yakisoba was perfectly flavored and definitely the highlight
of the bunch.

Special touches went a long way to make the
experience welcoming. Our first box included a thank-you note that looked
almost like real handwriting. The second box contained a free tote bag. Other
services send welcome pamphlets, but this is a step beyond.

Both deliveries arrived on time, intact, and
cold. The cheese for the hoagies—two snack size portions—got lost in the
packaging. They only turned up when we broke down the box.

The recipes were mostly easy to follow, though
the pork hoagie required a grill or a grill pan and a meat mallet, which we
didn’t have. The recipe card didn’t have any suggestions for alternative tools.
In the end, we used a metal coffee press to pound the meat and an ordinary
skillet for cooking. The sandwiches still turned out well, even though the pork
didn’t have any grill marks. The whole process took about 45 minutes.

Our pork chops needed to be flattened, too, but
that recipe suggested using a heavy skillet if you didn’t have a meat
tenderizer.

Prepared Meal

Each recipe card had a 30-minute prep/cook time.
That’s ambitious. We got the seared steak salad plated in under 30, but all the other
meals took longer. The salads and dressings that went with the seared steak and
pork chops were delicious, with mint, charred or chopped onions, and grilled
pineapple.

Would You Eat It Again?

If you want to try new ingredients and work on
your cooking techniques, Martha & Marley Spoon is worth consideration. We
loved the recipes, and the sauces and dressings in particular were phenomenal.
We’d eat it again, for sure. If you’re new to cooking, the equipment required
and ambitious prep time estimates might be a little intimidating.

Novices will have a grand time with Blue Apron,
which also sells equipment you might need, from knives to garlic presses. Green
Chef is a great option if you like more plant-based meals or follow a keto,
paleo, or vegetarian diet. Hungryroot (which has a vegan plan) is best for
people who don’t necessarily want to stick to recipes but do want help getting groceries
into their home. And we like HelloFresh best as an all-around option for people who eat a little bit of everything.

Martha and Marley Spoon Meal Delivery Service Specs

Starting Price Per Meal $6.39
Vegetarian Options Yes
Vegan Options No
No Extra Delivery Charges No
Product Price Type Direct
Product Category Food Delivery

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