The best recipe boxes – tried and tested

Recipe boxes are the latest trend changing the way we cook, delivering all the ingredients you need for a meal – and the recipe instructions you need to make it – straight to your door.

There’s no more hassle of planning meals, going to the supermarket and dealing with food waste with all the ingredients exactly measured out for what you need in your dish.

But with so many different recipe boxes on the market, it can be hard to know which one to pick. So the Yours team got to work sampling the main recipe box brands on the market. Here’s our verdict. 

Abel & Cole review

What: Seasonal, organic weekly recipe box from the veg-loving company who’ve been growing their own produce since 1988. You can choose between the Simple Recipe Box – for those who love cuisine classics, with a twist, a Veggie Recipe Box, a Light Box containing less than 500 calories or a Foodie Box for those who enjoy more creative dishes.

Prices start from £39

Our tester’s thoughts: The recipe box came with just the right amount of packaging within a plain brown box tied up with string that had a lovely old-fashioned touch. The recipes looked really adventurous and generally featured meals I hadn’t tried before which was exciting. It was more like cooking for a special occasion than an everyday midweek meal, for example, griddled chicken with rhubarb and cucumber salad. The box came with everything I needed apart from salt, pepper and olive oil. The only issue was that the recipe instructions were quite wordy and the ingredients list didn’t follow the order they appeared in the recipe which would have made things simpler but it made sense once I got to grips with it. Although the box was meant to feed two, I found there was enough to feed three so very generous portions. My favourite was the Moroccan beef and couscous with roasted vegetables and watercress (from the Simple Box) which even my rather picky daughter enjoyed.

Appearance – 9/10 Taste – 9 /10 Ease to cook – 7/10 Value for money – 7/10
Total – 32/40

Fish for Thought review

What: One for the fish lovers! Receive all you need to make seafood meals, straight from the Cornish seas, in minutes. Choose up to four recipes for up to six people delivered to your door weekly or every two, four or eight weeks.

A box for four people containing two meals costs £56 (£7 per portion)

Our tester’s thoughts: This huge box was perfectly packed so there was no fishy smell and all ingredients expertly wrapped in ice packs and a bag of sheep’s wool (which was handily recycled in my dog’s bed under his blanket!) The fish looked great quality and smelled fresh. I gave my husband the task of cooking as I thought it might show him how easy it was to make something different from his usual run-of-the-mill repertoire, like spag bol, and he had no problems following the recipe. The salmon dish, in particular, was utterly delicious – it was a great quality fillet that cooked easy and was very filling. For the size of the fish portions I thought it was really great value for money.

Appearance – 9.5/10 Taste – 10 /10 Ease to cook – 9.5/10 Value for money – 10/10
Total – 39/40

HelloFresh UK review

What: Weekly deliveries of fresh ingredients and delicious recipes. Pick between a Classic, Veggie and Family Box (suitable for kids and adults).

Prices start from £34.99 (three meals for two people)

Our tester’s thoughts: Perfectly packaged to make life easy, everything was clearly labelled and all the bags used easily recycled. Most of the ingredients were sourced from the UK and all the herbs kept fresh in their little packets for days. I had Venetian Chicken Pasta, Pan Fried Bream and Fruity Lebanese Lamb in my box which sounded exciting and new and I was able to get them all on the plate within 30-40 minutes. The instructions were really clear, even for a less confident cook, and they gave ample portions – and with no waste left over after. I had lots of fun trying out recipes I’d never considered before.

Appearance – 9/10 Taste – 9 /10 Ease to cook – 10/10 Value for money – 9/10
Total – 37/40

Mindful Chef review

What: Well-balanced, gluten-free, organic recipes to suit busy lifestyles. Made with fresh produce sourced from the West Country, the boxes avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates. Eight new recipes available to choose from each week, half of which are vegan.

Prices start from £6 per portion

Our tester’s thoughts: The veg was definitely the superstar of this box with every vegetable ingredient looking top-quality, generously sized and freshly picked. The meat, meanwhile, wasn’t quite the quality of cut I’d usually pick in the butchers but it tasted okay. Recipes were very clear to follow – informative without being patronising and the portions were absolutely huge, especially the vegetables – so much so that they went to make a great pack-up for the next day. My favourite was hot smoked trout with egg and quinoa kedgeree as it was such a different recipe to anything I’d normally try but was so easy to cook.

Appearance – 8/10 Taste – 8 /10 Ease to cook – 8/10 Value for money – 6/10
Total – 30/40

Riverford review

What: Riverford have been delivering organic veg to homes since 1987. Now they have a range of convenient recipe boxes packed with fresh organic produce. Choose between Original, Quick, Vegetarian, Vegetarian Quick and Light.  

Prices start from £24.95

 An example of one of the dishes - Black bean chilli with ginger, lime and sweet potato mash

An example of one of the dishes - Black bean chilli with ginger, lime and sweet potato mash

Our tester’s thoughts: I was so excited to get cooking as everything looked so inviting and all the recipes sounded delicious. I liked the fact every recipe in my box was a bit different meaning you could have some real variety in your meals for the week. Absolutely everything was thought of and the teeny spice pots were a lovely touch. Portion sizes were perfect and the gnocchi and crème fraiche with courgettes, peas and roasted tomatoes was definitely my favourite meal – so easy to do and remember. I felt so proud to be able to cook these kind of dishes and the boxes definitely helped me learn how to use more spices and herbs in cooking. Knowing that the recipes are really healthy too was a definite bonus! This would make a great present for anyone who loves cooking or wants to learn more.

Appearance – 10/10 Taste – 9 /10 Ease to cook – 9/10 Value for money – 10/10
Total – 38/40

Simply Cook review

What: Easy to follow recipes with special little taste pots, hand-picked and blended by expert chefs to help you make up to 50 chef-inspired recipes. Just to be clear, this box doesn’t come with all the ingredients, you’ll need to add 4-6 items of fresh food yourself, but it gives you the inspiration and the flavouring for a meal to feed two to four people.

Prices start at £8.99 (including four recipes per kit).

 Make beef quesadilla with the SimplyCook pots

Make beef quesadilla with the SimplyCook pots

Our tester’s thoughts: The recipe cards were simple and easy to follow with a handy tear off list of the ingredients you needed for your meal. The spice pastes were individually packaged and clearly labelled which made making recipes like curries, which can be lengthy, very quick and easy. Each meal tasted homemade and was far, far nicer than any curry made from a jar of sauce, in fact it was more like something you’d get in a restaurant. The portion sizes were good too and I liked the fact that they gave you instructions for cooking each dish with meat or fish or a veggie version. I think the price of the kit is pretty good, you’d have to buy a lot of spices to create the pastes at home. I like plenty of vegetables with my meals so I did end up adding extras to the recipes or putting veg on the side, so I suppose that would up the cost per meal. If you’re not a confident cook, struggle for meal inspiration and are short on time then it’s definitely worth giving SimplyCook a try. If anything it encourages you to try new dishes and flavours.

Appearance 10/10 Taste 10/10 Easy to follow 10/10 Value for money 8/10
Total – 38/40

Snap! review

What: Ey up! Snap! boasts handpicked, quality, fresh Yorkshire ingredients packed up and delivered to your door, as and when you want it – no subscription required. Choose three recipes from a selection of seven, to feed two or four people, with the option of adding Yorkshire drinks including beer and cider.

Prices start from £39 for two people

Our tester’s thoughts: Cutely packaged and a lovely treat to find on your doorstep, the recipes sounded really appealing. The instructions were simple to follow (although you have to get your head around which bit you’re following whether you’re cooking for two people or four). For a hearty lunchtime meal, this box delivered a lovely dish but portions were a bit on the smaller side for a full evening meal.

Appearance 7/10 Taste 8/10 Easy to follow 8/10 Value for money 7/10
Total – 30/40

WW Smart Kitchen review

 Kerala Fish Curry

Kerala Fish Curry

What: Weight Watchers’ answer to the recipe box craze featuring carefully selected, healthy ingredients, received and delivered to you on the same day. Pick from a Classic or a Meat Free box. New recipes available every week. If you’re following the Weight Watchers plan (although you don’t have to be to have the boxes) all SmartPoints are already calculated for you.

Prices start from £3.65 per meal (works out at £50 for five meals for two people)

Our tester’s thoughts: This was a real bumper sized box (definitely the biggest and heaviest we tried) packed with a vast amount of fresh-looking, high-quality ingredients. There was so much food in fact we managed to feet four on this and there was still some left over. Some of the dishes came out looking really professional although others could have upped on the flavour and felt a bit safe. Some of the cooking times also seemed a bit lengthy as they came out a touch overcooked. This was really fun to try and I was so impressed with just how much food there was making it good value for money.

Appearance 9/10 Taste 6/10 Easy to follow 10/10 Value for money 10/10
Total 35/40