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Free vs Paid Meal Prep Apps of 2022

Getting bored of making the same thing over and over? We tested the best free and paid meal prep apps to help you bring joy back to cooking. Here are our top picks.

Food & Drink



Free vs Paid Meal Prep Apps of 2022

Cooking is one of the biggest joys in many people's lives, but we all hit plateaus sometimes. We feel like we're cooking the same thing over and over, and it gets old. Meal prep apps are packed with recipes for dishes you've never tried to help change things up. Our favorite ended up being the eMeals Meal Planning app, but we have a few other diet-specific picks as well, so read on to get the full scoop.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Apps We Selected
  2. Our Pick eMeals - Meal Planning Recipes & Grocery List eMeals - Meal Planning Recipes & Grocery List Runner Up Mealime - Meal Planner, Recipes & Grocery List Mealime - Meal Planner, Recipes & Grocery List Also Groovy Forks Plant-Based Meal Planner Forks Plant-Based Meal Planner Also Groovy Prepear - Meal Planner, Grocery List, & Recipes Prepear - Meal Planner, Grocery List, & Recipes
  3. 2. Everything We Recommend
  4. 3. The 411 from our Appventurer
  5. 4. Other Apps Considered
Our Pick

Beautiful user-friendly recipe app with many cool functions

  • Easy weekly meal plans with customizable shopping list & online grocery options.
    4.5 Ratings 48K+ Reviews 500K+ Downloads
    Free In-App Purchases


eMeals is a great app for anyone and can accommodate practically any dietary restriction.

 Why we chose eMeals:

  • 14-day free trial to see if it works for you.
  • $29.99 every 3 months or $59.99 for 12 months
  • Select a meal plan, and get a new set of 7 dinner recipes each week
  • Add meals to your grocery list and get the ingredients broken down by store section for an easy shopping trip
  • Recipes for dinners, special occasions, desserts, and more. 

Choose from a wide range of meal types to get a plan that works for your needs.

Read eMeals' Full Review
Runner Up

Healthy meals for lots of popular diets

  • Healthy recipes, meal plans for any diet. Auto grocery list w all ingredients.
    4.8 Ratings 72K+ Reviews 1M+ Downloads
    Free Fresh In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases


Mealime is focused on healthy food options, which allows you to pick from menus like keto and vegetarian. 

Why we chose Mealime:

  • Free version or use pro for $49.99 a year or $5.99 a month, which offers exclusive recipes, nutritional information, advanced filters, and more
  • Select as many recipes as you would like while building your plan
  • After you’re done, everything is added to your grocery list
  • Link to Instacart or other grocery delivery apps, and your recipes will sync to the delivery apps to prepare your groceries for delivery.
  • Add your own recipes by typing them in or connecting to websites. 

They also offer a "no holds barred" option. This option is still filled with mostly healthy whole food recipes.

Read Mealime's Full Review
Also Groovy

The vegan meal planning app

  • A FREE vegan meal planner that's custom built for your plant-based lifestyle.
    4.5 Ratings 740+ Reviews 50K+ Downloads
    Free In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases


All of the recipes on this app are vegan so this is the perfect app for vegans interested in a meal planning app. 

Why we chose Forks:

  • Ger personalized meal plans and look ahead to the next week by using the paid version for $9.99 a month
  • Save PDFs of recipes to reference later or use outside of the app
  • Link to Amazon Fresh to get groceries delivered using the paid version
  • Recipes are all vegan since that is what Forks over Knives focuses on

The trickiest part of a vegan diet can be finding good recipes, so luckily there are a variety of recipes on Forks and lots of ways to save and view them.

Read Forks' Full Review
Also Groovy

The food blogger meal prep app

  • Meal Planner, Grocery List, Recipes, & Cooking - Simplified
    3.9 Ratings 1K+ Reviews 100K+ Downloads
    Free Fresh In App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases
    Free In-App Purchases


If you always love trying something new, you'll enjoy these recipes from food bloggers who specialize in lots of different recipe types. 

Why we chose Prepear:

  • Free version is great, but you can unlock more recipes with the paid version and cook without ads for $119.99 a year
  • Thousands of trendy recipes from online food bloggers
  • Add ingredients from recipes to your shopping list and uncheck what you already have on hand
  • Use the planner tab to add meals to specific days of the week

You can also create all kinds of different cookbooks from saving recipes Pinterest-style in this fun app!

Read Prepear's Full Review

Everything We Recommend

  • Our Pick
    eMeals is the quickest way for busy families to get dinnertime solved. With 15 different meal and diet plans there is sure to be enough recipe inspiration to please even the pickiest eater. Save time by sending your customizable shopping list ingredients to one of our online grocery delivery or pickup partners.

    The Benefits of our Healthy Meal Planning:

    >Stress-Free Weekly Meal Planning
    Our meal planning service helps add variety & save you time. Each week we send you 7 new recipes to limit the overwhelming feeling of searching the internet or cookbooks trying to find new recipes for your family. As you select your meal recipes for the week, our planner is automatically creating an interactive grocery shopping list. If you don’t see recipes on this week’s plan you like, search previous meal plans, other food style plans & bonus meal collections published throughout the year for extra meal inspiration.

    >Easy Grocery Shopping Options
    All grocery lists connect directly to grocery partners like Walmart, Instacart, Shipt, AmazonFresh or Kroger without leaving the app. You can have your grocery & shopping list gathered for curbside grocery pickup or home delivery. Not interested in online grocery options? Our customizable shopping list breaks down ingredients by location in the grocery store to make shopping in person a breeze.

    >Meal Plans for Every Food Style
    Our most popular meal plans focus on simple, healthy eating. From healthy sensible carb-smart meals to protein-rich meals, our dietitians ensure we follow all national recommendations for heart healthy & diabetic food plans. If you’re looking for quick, healthy family-friendly recipes, we have several plans that both meet your budget & get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. Looking to cut a few inches? Our Low Carb, Low Calorie, Paleo & Keto plans are great a great resource to meet your health or fitness goals. Each meal plan subscription has access to all 15 food styles & diets.

    >Diet Specific Meal Plans
    Starting & maintaining a diet meal plan can be tricky. Let our meal planner take the guesswork out of counting carbs, calories and sugars with our specialty and weight management diet plans. Options like Low Carb, Low Calorie, Paleo, Keto & Mediterranean Meal Plans are a great start to meet any weight loss or fitness goal. These plans are also great to make health-focused meal planning easier for Diabetic or Heart Healthy diets. Each recipe plan is crafted to meet your health goals with nutritional information to make dinnertime stress-free.

    Download our planner today to take the stress out of meal planning, grocery shopping & cooking delicious, healthy dinners.

    Our subscription offers:
    3-month Dinner Meal Plan recurring subscription: $29.99
    12-month Dinner Meal Plan recurring subscription: $59.99
    3-month All-Day Meal Plan Bundle recurring subscription: $39.99
    12-month All-Day Meal Plan Bundle recurring subscription: $99.99

    Privacy Policy:
    In-App Purchases
    $29.99 - $99.99 per item
  • Runner Up
    Mealime is a simple way for busy singles, couples, and families to plan their meals and eat healthier. Our meal plans & recipes are highly customizable so you can easily personalize a plan that works with your unique tastes and lifestyle.

    Sign up to Mealime and join over 1,000,000 people who have used our meal plans to eat healthier, reduce stress, lose weight, save money, and live happier, more productive lives.

    Check out our top 5 benefits and features:

    1. Cook healthy meals in about 30 minutes or less (even if you don't know how to cook)
    We've reimagined and streamlined the cooking experience. Prepare meals quickly with our step-by-step and hassle-free cooking instructions.

    You'll never again have to jump around looking for an ingredient, instruction, or piece of cookware that you may have overlooked.

    2. No more stressful "What should I eat?" decisions to make
    Each week you'll have a personalized meal plan with simple & healthy recipes that are catered to your exact needs and preferences.

    Eliminate decision fatigue after a long day's work - simply pick a recipe from your meal plan and cook it in less time than it takes to pick up an unhealthy (and expensive) takeout meal.

    3. Healthy meal plans that are uniquely your own
    With the most personalization options of any minimal-waste meal planner out there, you can cook exactly how you want to eat.

    From classic, flexitarian, pescetarian, low carb, paleo, keto, vegetarian & vegan diet types to gluten-free, shellfish free, fish free, dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free, soy free, egg free, sesame free, and mustard free allergy restrictions to 119 individual dislikable ingredients, your meal plans will be truly personalized to your specific needs.

    4. Optimized & super fast grocery lists
    When you build a new meal plan, a grocery list of all the ingredients you'll need for the week is automatically created. Simply grab your mobile, head to the grocery store, and get all your week's shopping done in about 20 minutes with our step-by-step grocery list optimized with standard grocery store layouts in mind.

    5. Save money with minimal food waste
    It's annoying when you purchase ingredients from the grocery store, cook a meal or two, and have a bunch of ingredients going bad by the end of the week, isn't it?

    With Mealime, your days of wasting food are over! All meal plans are intelligently created in order to eliminate food waste as much as possible. You'll use up the majority of purchased ingredients if you cook your meal plan each week, saving you hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars per year.

    Optional Mealime Pro subscription
    Mealime is free to download and use. Should you choose to upgrade to Mealime Meal Planner Pro, we offer an auto-renewing subscription option at a price of $5.99 USD / month or $49.99 USD / year.

    Mealime Pro includes the following additional features:

    • Exclusive Pro-only recipes added every week
    • View nutritional information (calories, macros, micros)
    • Calorie customization filters
    • Add notes to recipes
    • View your previous meal plan
    • World class email support

    We are committed to making Mealime the best meal planning app out there. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support email address below.


    Terms of Use

    Privacy Policy
    Privacy Policy
    In-App Purchases
    $2.99 - $49.99 per item
    $2.99 per item
  • Also Groovy
    Get healthy and delicious plant-based and vegan meals planned for every day of the week with the Forks Meal Planner app that's FREE to download now! With the Forks Meal Planner, you'll receive whole-food, plant-based and vegan-friendly recipes that you can cook in 35 minutes or less making your weekly meal planning easy for you and your family.

    Get started by telling us your goals, number of servings you need, what vegan meals you need to cook, and we'll do the rest. This plant-based meal planner app is perfect for beginners and long-time plant-based pros alike.

    Each plant-based recipe has been developed and taste-tested by our team of vegan chefs and nutritionists. On top of being whole food-based and vegan, they’re also low in fat and sodium, making this weekly meal planner ideal for improving you and yourr family’s health and wellness through clean eating. After all, plant-based diets are linked to a number of health benefits, like reducing your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and cognitive decline.

    There's no easier (or more delicious) way to get started on your whole-food, plant-based diet and lifestyle than with the Forks Meal Planner!

    • Tell us your goals and how many servings you need every week
    • Choose from vegan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes that are low-fat, low-sodium, and 100% whole-food, plant-based.
    • Get weekly notifications for new plant-based and vegan recipes and meal plans
    • Get auto-generated grocery shopping lists

    • Gluten, soy-, and nut-free meal plan options are available.
    • Nutritous kid-friendly recipes are available to maintain your child's health
    • Swap out any recipe for one of 1000+ recipes in our library.

    • Grocery lists are automatically generated in the app to help you get in and out of the story quickly.
    • Weekend Prep Planner outlines which ingredients you can prep your meal planner recipes ahead of time.
    • All of our recipes can be cooked in 35 minutes or less
    • Takes the stress out of deciding what to eat during the week with an already made vegan meal plan.

    • Upgrade your FREE meal planner to a monthly, quartery, or annual subscription (rates apply)

    • Receive support, tips and encouragement in our dedicated members-only healthy, plant-based community.
    In-App Purchases
    $19.99 - $119.99 per item
    $19.99 - $119.99 per item
    Collect your favorite recipes from anywhere, and sort them into Cookbooks for super simple meal planning. Share with friends and build Cookbooks together. Never lose another recipe.

    Organize your entire meal process with our intuitive Meal Planner. Tap to drop recipes into your week or Quick-Add a meal idea. Customize and rearrange your plan in seconds.

    Shop with Smart Grocery Lists that match your plan. Ingredients sort into categories for efficient, satisfying shopping. Check off items as you go, or get groceries delivered or ready for curbside pickup.

    Get recipe suggestions you’ll love based on what you’ve cooked before and who you follow.

    Cook with our clear recipe screen that lets you see ingredients and directions together. Check off steps while you cook so you don’t lose your place. Your phone stays on while you cook.

    Here’s what our users are saying:
    “Just a big THANKS! I so needed this in my life!”
    “This tool is amazing for me!”
    “A list of what's in my pantry… what! what! Love this feature so much!!”
    “I’m freaking OBSESSED with this concept.”
    “LOVE IT!!!!!!!”
    “Thank you SOOO much for creating this. I think it will be a game-changer in my life!”
    “This is SO well thought out.”
    “Love it, it has cut my meal planning/prep time in half.”
    “The more I use it, the more I like it... Really easy to use.”

    Get Prepear to stay connected to your favorite recipes and your most important goals.

    Learn more about Prepear at
    In-App Purchases
    $0.99 - $119.99 per item
    $9.99 - $119.99 per item
Compare All Apps

The 411 from our Appventurer

Lou Barrett
Written by:

Lou Barrett

Lou Barrett is a queer writer who fears they're too Midwest for the big city. When they're not writing about queer culture, they're writing about books, work, and apps. They love reading, and relish any day they can camp out on their couch with a good book for eight hours. Sweet potatoes are their favorite food, any style. They love the way apps help simplify life, and make it so that we don't have to rely on our memory to get us through life and the workday. 

Free vs Paid Meal Prep Apps of 2022



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