If you’re lacking dinner inspiration then this Simply Cook review could help you find a new way to jazz up your weekly menu!
I personally get stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to recipes, especially for midweek meals, so anything that gives me easy ideas is a winner.
I’ve tried other recipe boxes, including Hello Fresh and Gousto, and have found Simply Cook is the one that I actually prefer for price and convenience.
If you’re wondering whether Simply Cook is worth a go, and how it actually works, then read on.
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What is Simply Cook?
Simply Cook is a recipe box delivery service that sends recipes and ingredients to your door so you can cook up tasty meals at home.
It’s slightly different to other ingredient box delivery services like Gousto and Hello Fresh, as it does not include the fresh ingredients.
Simply Cook sends you three pots containing ingredients needed to add flavour, along with a recipe card to tell you exactly what to do and what fresh ingredients you will need to purchase.
Because you don’t receive the fresh ingredients – just the dry herbs, flavourings and stocks – Simply Cook is much cheaper than other recipe boxes.
Every box contains four ingredient kits which you can choose from the selection on the Simply Cook website.
How does Simply Cook work?
The process to sign up with Simply Cook is, well, for lack of a better word, simple!
Every Simply Cook box contains four different boxes of ingredients (pastes, sauces, herbs, rubs, marinades, spices, powders etc) and recipe cards so that you can make four different meals.
All you need to do is head to their website, select what meals you want for your first box and enter your email address, postal address and payment information.
Simply Cook has a great offer for your first box which means you only pay the cost of posting – £1 – and the box itself is free as part of a seven-day trial period.
However please note that when doing this you will be signed up to a subscription with Simply Cook. This means that if you don’t want Simply Cook to charge your account for the next box you need to log in and cancel after your first order.
You won’t be able to cancel until after your seven-day free trial period has ended – so set a reminder in your phone to log in and cancel if you don’t want to be charged for your next subscription box.
Once your box arrives you decide which meal you want to cook first.
You’ll need to head to the supermarket to pick up the fresh ingredients required for the recipes.
Each recipe box contains the flavours – pastes, sauces, herbs, spices – that will add zing to your dish but you will need to pick up meat, vegetables etc. You’ll also need to have things like oil, rice and pasta in your store cupboard.
Once you have the fresh ingredients for your recipe you simply follow the recipe card that will arrive with the Simply Cook box and then tuck in to your tasty dinner.
If you lose the Simply Cook recipe card do not worry, as the recipes are also available on the website.
Setting your preferences
Simply Cook asks you for a few preferences to ensure you are only sent recipes you’re going to like or that fit in with your diet.
The preference options include:
- How many people you are cooking for – two people or four people
- Whether you are a vegetarian or vegan
- Main ingredients you don’t like – pork or fish
- Whether you want light meals of under 600 calories
- Your spice rating – from not spicy to hot
- Whether you have allergies
- Frequency of deliveries – you can select weekly, fortnightly or once every four weeks
Once you have set your delivery schedule you can go in and change this if you’re plans change – so you can delay a box by one to four weeks if needed.
Examples of Simply Cook dishes
When I updated my preferences on the website as part of my Simply Cook review there were 55 recipes available. The site has over 140 dishes in its library – but not all of these are in stock.
The options available are a decent selection of different cuisines, but there seems to be a particularly high number of Indian and Asian options.
Most of them only take between 20 and 30 minutes to cook.
Here are a few examples of what’s available on the site, which you can browse before deciding to go ahead with your first order:
- Penne alla Rustica – Absolutely delicious pasta dish with chorizo and mild spice. This is one of my absolute favourites from Simply Cook.
- Miso cod – Japanese-inspired miso, soy and honey glazed cod, grilled and served with rice and asparagus.
- Chicken Makhani – mildly spiced curry.
- Beef Massaman – beef potato and coconut curry.
- Linguine with prawns and rocket
- Jerk chicken – Jamaican style jerk BBQ chicken with coconut rice and peas.
- Wild mushroom penne – creamy pasta with garlic and rich porcini mushroom and chive crumb.
- Chicken tinga – Smoky chipotle tacos with roast tomato salsa.
This thai basil pork dish pictured above was one I cooked recently and absolutely loved! It was super simple to make plus cheap, with just a few ingredients needed – pork mince, peppers, basil, rice and a lime.
How much is Simply Cook per month?
The cost of each Simply Cook box is £9.99 and you can set your preferences to send you a box every week, fortnight or monthly.
So Simply Cook can cost between £9.99 and £39.96 depending on how often you choose to get boxes delivered.
Simply Cook says its meals cost between £3 and £6 per person per meal, and this includes the fresh ingredients that are not included in the box.
To give you an idea of cost I cooked the Vietnamese Pork dish. My ingredients, purchased from Tesco, to complete the recipe broke down as follows:
- Pork fillet £3.89
- Shallots £50p
- Spring onions 37p
- Jasmine rice £1.30
- Total cost: £6.06
This was a meal for two, so the total cost of that meal including the Simply Cook ingredients was around £8.55, or roughly £4.27 a head.
So if you’re wondering if simply cook is expensive, I personally would say no given how pricy I think Hello Fresh and Gousto can work out to be.
How do you cancel Simply Cook?
It is very easy to cancel Simply Cook, after your seven-day free trial period is over.
To cancel simply:
- Log in to your account and select your profile in the top right
- Click manage subscription.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page and tap the option to cancel.
Remember to set a reminder on your phone to cancel Simply Cook after your trial period to avoid being charged automatically.
Simply Cook vs Hello Fresh
Both Simply Cook and Hello Fresh are meal and recipe card delivery services. There are some similarities but a few crucial differences, which are summarised in this table.
I’ve tried both of these meal boxes and can see the benefits of both. Hello Fresh is more expensive up front however Simply Cook means you need to take a trip to the supermarket to get the remaining ingredients.
With Hello Fresh you need to cook your meals in the week you receive them, whereas the use by dates on the Simply Cook boxes I have received are around a year down the line.
|Key info||Simply Cook||Hello Fresh|
|Recipe selection||55 recipes available as of Mar ’22||15 recipes per week|
|Delivery||Fits through most letterboxes||Pick a delivery slot (if you’re not home there is a safe place delivery option)|
|Ingredients||Pastes, herbs, spices, sauces. Fresh ingredients not included||Includes everything you need to cook the dish|
|Subscription||Weekly, fortnightly or monthly (with option to skip)||Weekly (with option to skip)|
|Cost of first box||£1||£9.99|
|Cost per box after trial||£9.99 (4 meals for 2 but doesn’t include all ingredients needed)||£34.99 (3 meals for 2 people)|
|Flexibility||Can wait to cook meals for several months (just don’t buy the fresh ingredients until you’re ready)||Fresh ingredients need cooking within their use by date|
Is Simply Cook any good?
Having tried two boxes of recipes from Simply Cook I can report that the food you can create with their recipes and ingredients is delicious!
I particularly loved their simple pasta dishes, as well as the flavouring their recipes add to rice to make it a little more interesting!
All of the meals I have cooked have been bursting with flavour, and I personally feel the price for Simply Cook is reasonable, although you can certainly cook far cheaper dinners by making dishes from scratch yourself.
I am someone who absolutely loves to cook, and I confess to getting bored with the usual dishes that I cook week in and week out. Simply Cook encourages you to try something different and helps you out by providing the key ingredients to make it, you just need to grab the meat, fish and/or vegetables to complete it.
The specialist ingredients that Simply Cook provides, such as chilli jam and beef and ginger stock, really are unique and pack a great punch of flavour for the dishes.
I often cook meals from scratch and I have found the Simply Cook recipes to be straightforward to follow and the results are reliable.
They also include a handy “shopping list” down one side of the recipe card so you can take it to the shops with you to pick up the fresh ingredients that you need.
Simply Cook Pros
- Inspiration for new recipes.
- Flavours of the meals are bold and tasty – making delicious meals.
- Easy-to-follow recipe cards included with every box.
- Good selection of different recipes
- Box is small enough to fit through the letterbox – so you don’t have to be home to receive it!
- No huge box to unpack and then deal with the cardboard to recycle.
Simply Cook Cons
- Does not include every ingredient you need to make the dishes.
- Unlike other meal boxes you will need to head out to the supermarket to pick up the ingredients.
- Need to remember to select your meal preferences (although you can choose preferred meals for your “back-up box” which is sent if you do forget.
- After a while of using Simply Cook the selection of dishes may become boring.
- You can only select portion sizes for two or four people – for singles or families of five this may be annoying.
- Need to commit to ongoing subscription or cancel and restart as and when you want to use it again.
Final thoughts on Simply Cook
It’s well worth ordering a trial box from Simply Cook under the deal giving you the first box for just £1. Using the special offer is a good way to save money on your weekly food shop.
This is a great way of injecting extra flavour into your weekly meals and also give you some inspiration for different dishes to try. If you love to cook it’s also great fun!
It’s worth adding Simply Cook also sells its ingredient kits in supermarkets, so if you want to get a taste of what they offer you could try purchasing them there. What I would say however is it’s cheaper to get them online through Simply Cook’s subscription service.
If you would like more food inspiration then check out my weekly meal plan for £20 and my meal ideas costing as little as £1 a head.