Martha and Marley Spoon Overview
Marley Spoon got its start in Berlin back in 2014, coming to the States one year later and partnering with the Queen of Domesticity a year after that. It's this partnership that sets the service apart, offering subscribers the same types of fresh easy meals with subtle creative twists that would be at home in Martha Stewart Living. But as mouth-watering as the photos and recipes seem online, the big question is do they deliver in real life? We put several kits to the test to find out.
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How It Works
Signing up is very straightforward. You don't have to choose between a bunch of different plans such as vegetarian or calorie-restricted. Just decide if you want to serve two or four people, and how many meals you want each week - from two to five meals with the two-person plan, or up to four with the four-person plan.
You can set up food preferences when you sign up so that if you decide not to choose your meals one week, you won't automatically get sent something you don't want to eat. Of course, you can change these preferences anytime.
Kits come once a week and include most of the ingredients needed to cook the meals. Some services let you pick nearly any day of the week for delivery, but Martha & Marley Spoon only offers two choices, and the kits can arrive anytime from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Ours arrived at almost 8 p.m. - so late that we had to cook something else for dinner. Keep that in mind if you're counting on cooking from the kit on delivery day.
Skipping weeks is a cinch to do both online and in the app, as is changing recipes, plans, delivery information, and canceling the service completely. Some services offer every other week or once a month deliveries, but not this one. However, you can essentially create these options yourself by skipping deliveries up to two months in advance.
Variety of Meals
Martha & Marley Spoon offers 22 recipes each week, all of which can be executed in six steps and take no more than 40 minutes. The recipes have at-a-glance labels like "low-carb," "dairy free" and "under 30 minutes" to help you decide. Although the service touts its compatibility with restricted diets, it's kind of hit or miss. We only saw two vegetarian meals each week, and only occasionally was one of them vegan. Some weeks there would be a keto-friendly meal with 13 grams of carbs or less, but other weeks there wouldn't be a keto option.
So if you have a restricted diet and you're counting on a steady selection of meals, this could be a problem.
Still, we liked how the recipes offered a good number of meals we don't see every day, things such as sheet pan chicken thighs with roasted shallots and grapes, broken noodle paella, and worldly options like Vietnamese fish soup. And there were still plenty of familiar dishes to satisfy the usual cravings. Think oven-fried chicken with apple-walnut salad, and mini meatloaves with crispy potatoes and green beans.
Clicking on a recipe photo gives the full recipe so you can see if you're up for the job. However, there doesn't seem to be a way to print the recipes out.
Enjoy 2-Person Meal Box Subscriptions from just $49.99 per week at Martha and Marley Spoon.
Click button "GET DEAL" to enjoy 2-person meal box subscriptions from just $49.99 per week at Martha and Marley Spoon.
Each meal comes with a full-color recipe card with step-by-step photos, nutrition information and estimated cook time. The recipes are available online and in the app, too, however, they're not downloadable or printable.
The app is well designed and easy to navigate. It automatically saves recipes you've ordered and it has a favorites tab where you can keep track of what you've loved and might want to order again. We could manage our orders and change our information and search the frequently asked questions. All of the recipes are searchable in the app, but not on the web.
The blog has a decent number of articles with cooking tips and bonus recipes, but it's fairly limited when it comes to useful instruction for beginners.
The box and the insulated liner are all made from recyclable paper and cardboard, so they're easily recyclable at the curb. Depending on the time of year, there might be additional insulation that's not as easily recyclable, such as metallic bubble wrap pouches and plastic sleeves filled with cotton batting. But the website offers helpful recycling instructions.
The meals were bundled into paper bags, making it easy to keep track of the ingredients. When it was time to cook, we just grabbed a bag from the fridge and recycled the bag. The meats were packed separately under ice packs.
Some of the produce was packed in plastic bags or clamshells, while some of the more robust stuff was on its own. The amount of plastic didn't feel as excessive as some other kits we've tried, mainly because the kits didn't contain special bottled sauces and condiments. And we appreciated that the box contained a whole bulb of garlic instead of individual cloves tucked in plastic for each recipe.
How to Cooking?
The kits contained almost everything we needed for each recipe, however, we had to supply our own staples. Every kit we've tried assumes users have cooking oil, salt, and pepper, but Martha & Marley Spoon also assumed we also had flour, butter, apple cider vinegar, and red wine vinegar. Since this cuts down on plastic packaging and these are staples we do indeed have on hand, we were happy to provide our own. But non-cooks with a barebones pantry might have been frustrated.
The amount of prep work wasn't onerous and usually took 10 to 15 minutes. We never needed more than two pans and a bowl or two, so clean up was easy. And the cook times were accurate.
The recipes were simple and straightforward, but absolute beginners might need a bit more instruction than what was provided. For example, one sauce was thickened by a roux, and could have ended up lumpy if we hadn't known to pour the liquid in a little at a time.
What We Like
- 20 recipe choices per week
- Meals offer twists on the ordinary
- Most recipes are ready in under 40 minutes
What We Don't Like
- Recipes aren't as flavorful as they seem
- Very few options for vegans and vegetarians
- Shipping isn't free
The Bottom Line
Martha & Marley Spoon aims its meal kit delivery service squarely at the foodie set with meals that go beyond the usual meat-and-veg plates and into more interesting territory. Fans of Martha Stewart will see hallmarks of her brand - fresh and creative - in the quick-to-make recipes that require just six steps.