Sunbasket Review

Meal delivery with loads of options

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5

Sunbasket

turkey bolognese in a white bowl

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Sunbasket is a great choice for calorie-conscious culinarians choosing to go the environmentally-sustainable eating route. If you enjoy a diverse range of cuisines that cater to multiple dietary preferences, including vegan and gluten-free, then look no further.

Pros
  • Accommodates a variety of eating patterns

  • Environmentally-conscious sourcing and packaging

  • Great selection of add-on items and protein customization options

Cons
  • Portion sizes on the smaller side

  • Some flavors can be underwhelming

  • Certain menu items can be a bit pricey

5

Sunbasket

turkey bolognese in a white bowl

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Sunbasket started in 2014 and has grown into a full-service meal delivery service, shipping meal kits in addition to breakfast, lunch, and a wide variety of other grocery items. The company was founded by Adam Zhabar and executive chef Justine Kelly. Sunbasket is health-focused and caters to a variety of diets.

With a wide range of available options for meal delivery services, it’s important to choose one that suits your unique preferences and needs, taking factors such as cost, taste, delivery frequency, customization options, and portion sizes into consideration. We subscribed to Sunbasket for one week to get a glimpse into how the company works and to share our experience.

Pricing: Incredibly Simple

Base pricing for meal kits starts at $11.49 per serving, and Fresh & Ready pre-made meals start at $9.99. From there, the price increases according to what you order. For example, a tofu curry meal kit may cost $11.49 per serving, while a chicken and orzo dish rings up for $12.79 per serving. "Speedy" meal kits, which are pre-prepped and designed to cook in under 20 minutes, are a bit on the pricier end, with servings as high as $17.99 for certain entrees. Protein customizations can also influence the price. Shipping is $9.99 per box, but it's free for your first delivery.

How It Works: Easy to Follow

Upon sign up, choose from heat and eat Fresh & Ready meals or meal kits. Next, you’re able to select what kind of diet you want to follow. Choices include Paleo, vegetarian, Mediterranean, gluten-free, pescatarian, and diabetes-friendly. (This section is optional.) After that, choose from a long list of dietary preferences including low sodium, low added sugar, and high protein. This is also where you select which ingredients to avoid, such as dairy, beef, shellfish, and grains, to name just a few. Finally, you’ll choose the number of people eating—either two or four—and number of dinners per week, either two, three, four, or five. For the single-serving, Fresh & Ready meals, you’ll only select how many people you’re feeding. No matter which plan you choose, you can always select from the full menu.

Sunbasket definitely feels customer oriented, with efficient and helpful customer service, and an impressive array of customization and add-ons.

Sunbasket makes it clear that providing healthy meals is its primary objective. As such, all meals are designed to be micronutrient-dense with options for specific health concerns like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. According to the company, all meals are reviewed and approved by registered dietitians. Sunbasket told us that it has a dietitian, nutritionist, and a health coach on staff.

Choosing Meals: Many Options

Between meal kits and Fresh & Ready, there are about 40 meal options from which subscribers can choose on a weekly basis. Sunbasket pre-selects meals based on your preferences, but they can be easily swapped out on the menu customization page.

A wide range of cuisines are available and include American, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Thai. While browsing a future week, we found recipes like Japanese tsukune meatballs with smashed cucumber salad, Scandinavian roasted salmon with horseradish-apple slaw and lavash, and French Quarter–style black angus rib-eye steaks with olive tapenade. At least 20 gluten-free options are available each week. When filtering for vegan, only three options were visible, but there were 15 for Mediterranean, 11 for diabetes-friendly, and 24 for dairy-free.

As add-on items at an additional cost, Sunbasket offers a robust selection of breakfast, lunch, fresh pasta and sauces, proteins, and snacks. Add-on protein items feature items like jumbo-lump crab cakes, wild pollock pieces, applewood bacon wrapped beef filet mignon, and diced pancetta. Breakfast features multiple categories including eggs, oatmeal and granola, smoothies, and grab-and-go bars.

Menu customizations and skips must be made on Wednesday at 3 p.m. PST the week prior to your delivery week. Delivery is available any day between Sunday and Tuesday, but this is dependent upon where you are in the United States. Sunbasket ships to most ZIP codes in the U.S. with the exception of Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, and parts of New Mexico.

three meals and several ingredients from a meal delivery service

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

What We Made

We selected meals that were new to us, looked enticing and filling, and would take less than 40 minutes to prepare. We chose four traditional meal kits and four Fresh & Ready prepared meals:

Meal Kits:

  • Sea scallops over fresh fettuccine with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach
  • Snapper with romesco, vegetables and almonds
  • Burmese chicken and sweet potato curry
  • Sirloin strip tacos with zucchini scallion salsa

Prepared Meals:

  • Broccoli mac and cheese
  • Chicken chow mein with broccoli, mushroom, and toasted garlic
  • Beef donburi rice bowl with edamame and kimchi-lime vegetables
  • Burrito bowl al pastor with plant-based Impossible Beef

Packaging: Environmentally Friendly

Packaging is one of the areas where Sunbasket stands out from the crowd. Our meals arrived in a large recyclable box lined with both denim and paper insulation. They were kept nice and cool with plastic ice packs, the contents of which are compostable. The company does a nice job of sharing recycling guidelines and recommendations for reusing all packaging components on its website.

Another great feature that supports an eco-friendly experience is the bar that pops up during the menu customization process to tell you to either keep filling or removing items to save packaging. Proteins were packaged separately from the meal kits underneath an ice pack, while meal components were neatly bagged by recipe in an eco-friendly brown paper bag. Inside, sauces were contained in little reusable or recyclable jars, while heavier items like beans or pre-made meats were in plastic containers. Produce without skin was bagged in lightweight plastic bags. 

These bags are not readily accepted in many recycling programs, but Sunbasket conveniently features an online lookup tool that helps you locate a facility that accepts these plastics. Our Fresh & Ready items came in a fiber tray with a cardboard sleeve.

In total, our meal kit delivery contained 45 pieces of packaging materials and our Fresh & Ready package contained 23, for a combined total of 68 pieces. 32 of those 68 items were eligible for curbside recycling, 34 were able to be recycled at a special facility, and only two items had to be sent to the landfill.

a delivery box with meals and paperwork

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Customer Support: Lots of Options

Information-packed recipe cards were included in each meal kit. The front cover displayed the recipe name and photo, while the inside listed the ingredients, tools needed, and instructions. The back cover includes nutrition per serving, allergens, and a meal description. Information included on recipe cards can be found in the previous orders section of your schedule when logged in and is available to folks without an account, too.

We reached out to customer service to see if dietitians were available to assist customers with menu planning. Sunny B., the automated customer 24/7 customer service agent, couldn’t provide a response and gave us the option to email a live person. We did that and received a reply about 24 hours later. When we couldn’t view what we ordered, we called customer service. The agent we spoke to was not able to resolve the issue but tried to be helpful. There is also an email option.

Nutrition: Nutrient-Dense

Sunbasket makes it known that providing nutrient-dense, health-promoting meals is a top priority. In fact, its mission is to “empower people to live their healthiest lives, starting with what’s on their forks.” Our meals were made with a variety of fresh, whole foods and proteins and all contained at least 6 grams of fiber. Sodium levels ranged from 150mg to 1360mg per serving. Calories per serving of meals were low to moderate, ranging from 400 to 640. There was a wide range for saturated fat, which should be expected when offering such a variety of foods intended to cater to multiple needs and tastes.

While Sunbasket accommodates a variety of preferences, allergies included, it makes it clear that meals are packed in a facility that handles all eight major food allergens. It advises people with severe allergies to read allergen information closely and seek consultation from their physician before placing an order.

Further, we didn’t notice any overt, diet-culture language throughout most of the website.

Sunbasket makes it known that providing nutrient-dense, health-promoting meals is a top priority.

The Cooking Process: A Culinary Experience

The cooking process felt adventurous because we chose meals that were completely new to us. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, but cook times were slightly longer than what was indicated on the cards for some of the recipes. Sunbasket does not indicate skill level on its recipes, but they were all easy to follow for beginner cooks. Basic cooking tools like pots, pans, and a baking sheet are needed.

For the Fresh & Ready prepared meals, Sunbasket recommended either a microwave or conventional oven for cooking. While portions were on the smaller side, all of these dishes heated well, tasted great, and were enjoyable.

turkey bolognese in a meal tray

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Mostly Good

Overall, we found that the meals we ordered were mostly balanced and flavorful, although some dishes needed an extra boost from the spice cabinet. The ingredients were fresh and tasty, our meals smelled and looked great, and the different texture profiles worked well together.  

Sunbasket is transparent about its sourcing processes and standards, and it partners with farms across the U.S. that use high animal welfare standards. 

  • Ninety-nine percent of its eggs are organic and come from chickens that can roam freely in open environments.
  • One hundred percent of its seafood is sustainably raised or wild-caught and recommended as Best Choice or Good Alternative by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
  • All fisheries are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
  • Chickens are given the ability to roam freely, with no broiler cages, and are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. They are never given antibiotics, growth promotants, hormones, or steroids. Compliance is demonstrated via a third party audit.
  • Turkey is cage-free and is never given antibiotics.
  • Pork comes from ethically-run family farms and is antibiotic- and hormone-free.
  • Organic and non-organic beef are antibiotic-free.
  • Lamb is pasture-raised and antibiotic-free.

Sunbasket Is Good For

Sunbasket is good for people who want to prioritize certain health and nutritional preferences but don’t have access to the time it takes to plan, shop, or cook. With a wide range of preferences and diets available, Sunbasket can certainly work for folks with intolerances to certain ingredients or those choosing to honor their health in other ways. The price point is higher than the competition, which makes it less viable for people who need to stretch their wallet.

Final Verdict

Sunbasket has a lot to offer. It does a great job of bringing nutrient-rich, responsibly-sourced meals to customers’ tables each week with a wide range of add-ons. While some of the meals could have used more seasoning, they were all highly rated by customers, so it’s still worth a try if it’s within your price range.

Methodology

We ordered, cooked, and evaluated meals from 40 different meal delivery services to rate each one’s offerings, nutrition profiles, prices, sustainability, and, of course, flavors. We contacted the customer service teams at each of the companies, collected data, and rigorously reviewed each one.

Our Verywell Fit writers are all registered dietitians who relied on their research and its resulting data to inform their reviews.

Specs

  • Product Name Sunbasket
  • Starting Price $9.99 per serving
  • Delivery Area 46 states
  • Products Arrive Fresh
  • Customers Can Choose Delivery Date? Yes
  • Free Shipping? No (except on your first order)

By Ayana Habtemariam, MSW, RDN, LDN
Ayana Habtemariam, MSW, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian, nutrition therapist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and macro social worker. She is the owner of Truly Real Nutrition and is particularly committed to increasing awareness of weight inclusive philosophies in Black communities.