9 Best Online Grocery Stores So You Never Have To Leave Your House

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Most of us can benefit from using an online grocery delivery service, a luxury that feels like a necessity in certain situations. When I’ve been sick and was fortunate enough to have the flexibility to stay at home, I loved being able to order as many cans of chicken noodle soup and bottles of Gatorade as my pantry could hold straight to my door. For parents (and especially new parents), not having to drag small children through dozens of aisles filled with enticing Chips Ahoy cookies and unicorn-flavored toothpaste might be a godsend.

Online grocery stores are also ideal for those trying to stick to a budget (not today, second box of Chips Ahoy cookies) or even just lazy people like myself who, if I had it my way, could spend every hour of every day underneath a blanket on the couch, only moving my right hand to switch between Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV. I can order groceries from my phone to my door and retrieve them whenever I feel that my sacred being deserves a fleeting stretch. (Okay, so not quite as necessary there, but my point still stands!)

But which online grocery delivery service is the best? Well, it all depends on what you’re looking for. Some exclusively offer household products, some of which are sold in bulk, so you can stock up on sparkling water and paper towels at your leisure. Others stake their claim in delivering perishables, including frozen fruit, meat, and seafood. And if you have dietary preferences, you’ll find multiple stores that are thoughtfully curated for shoppers. Offerings aside, membership and shipping fees also vary from non-existent to more than $100. For the record, I despise paying for shipping and would rather add another $50 worth of items to my cart rather than pay a $5.95 shipping fee. If this doesn’t bother you, then you’ll have more options. And please, always provide a generous tip for your delivery driver and/or personal shopper!

But if you really want to know which one is definitively the best online grocery delivery service, I have an answer for that, too.

I tested 14 different online grocery stores over the course of three weeks. With each service, I tried to order a combination of groceries that I would normally purchase for myself (such as almond milk, coffee beans, frozen fruit, fresh vegetables, and fish), as well as items that seemed unique to the store such as its own branded line of products or hard-to-find ingredients from a particular region or country. I paid attention to how frozen ingredients were packaged, as well as if raw meat, fish, and eggs were packed separately from, say, a bag of sugar or a bag of apples.

Every service operates a little differently. Some—like Instacart and Amazon Fresh—rely on personal shoppers to physically go into grocery stores and shop for items you’ve selected online or via app. straight from the shelves Most others, like Boxed, Thrive Market, and Hive, have warehouses where the groceries are boxed and shipped to your door. Nearly every service lets you can indicate where you want your items delivered (outside your building or home, outside your apartment door, or handed off directly to you) and if the delivery driver should be aware of any special instructions.

Since you’re now absolutely thinking about what groceries you need to buy this week, here are the best online grocery stores.

1. Best Overall Online Grocery Store: Weee!

TL;DR

  • Do they ship to me?: Weee! ships to most towns and cities within the contiguous United States.
  • Is there an order minimum?: Nope!
  • Is a membership required?: Nope!
  • Are there additional tips and fees?: Tipping is encouraged.
  • What’s the cost of delivery?: Free shipping on orders over $35
  • How soon will I get my order?: Next-day delivery

Before working on this story, I’d never heard of Weee! It didn’t have a commercial jingle that immediately got stuck in my head for days, and I didn’t know of any suburban-based influencers who were hyping up its services to their 150,000 Instagram followers. In some ways, this was good as I had no preconceived notions about what Weee! offered. It calls itself the “largest Asian and Hispanic e-grocer in the U.S.”—and after using the service, I’d say it’s underselling itself.

Yes, you can order 100 different types of frozen dim sum and instant noodles from Weee!, and have your pick of various soy sauce, cooking wine, chili sauce, and miso brands. But what is so remarkably different about Weee! is that you can also order tons of basic produce, vegetables (including every variety of mushroom imaginable), lemons (Eureka and Meyers), organic meat and eggs, and my favorite brand of almond milk. I was not only able to order all of my usual groceries that I would use in a week, but also got to try some harder-to-find Asian and Hispanic goods.

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But with any online grocery store, the convenience is useless if eggs arrive cracked, frozen goods have thawed completely, or there is zero separation between raw meat and fresh produce. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case with Weee! (okay, well, two of the eggs had minor cracks). What impressed me most was how well everything was packed, especially compared to other services that I tried. The eggs were packed in their own insulated bag with ice, as were the fish and chicken that I ordered, and both were shipped in a separate box from the rest of the groceries. Both arrived completely cold and all of the produce was free from any signs of mold, soft mushy areas, or brown spots. There were also no dents or bruises on the produce despite being packed at the bottom of the bag, though most of the items I ordered weren’t that heavy. Not sure how it would look if I had ordered a five-pound bag of potatoes or sack of flour.

And as you now know, hidden fees can make me go from loving an online shopping experience to feeling enough resentment that I should sign up for a membership at a local boxing studio. Once again, Weee! wins. I easily ordered more than $35 worth of groceries, which qualified for free shipping, and aside from tipping the delivery driver, there were no last-minute tack-ons.

2. Speediest Online Grocery Store: Amazon Fresh

TL;DR

  • Do they ship to me?: Amazon Fresh is available in most major U.S. cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
  • Is there an order minimum?: None (but there are added shipping fees; see below)
  • Is a membership required?: You must be an Amazon Prime member​​ to use Amazon Fresh ($14.99/month or $139/year)
  • Are there additional tips and fees?: $1 to $3 service fee, plus a service fee tax; tipping is encouraged.
  • What’s the cost of delivery?: Two-hour Amazon Fresh grocery delivery is free on orders over $35 ($50 for Amazon Fresh in NYC). For orders under $35, a $4.99 fee is charged. One-hour delivery from Amazon Fresh costs $4.99 on orders over $35 or $9.99 on orders under $35.
  • How soon will I get my order?: Usually 1-2 hours after ordering

I’ve placed a lot of orders through Whole Foods Market on Amazon (which is a different service than Amazon Fresh) and always had a positive experience. I didn’t know what to expect from Amazon Fresh, but for some reason, I thought it would be bad. Unfortunately, I loved it. While I have no interest in seeing Jeff Bezos continue to earn billions of dollars to fund his next trip to space, Amazon Fresh did a really, really good job. I placed my order after lunch and received all of my groceries well before dinnertime. If, like me, you rely on instant gratification to get through a regular Tuesday, then you’ll love the convenience and flexibility of Amazon Fresh. You choose which day you’d like to receive your delivery, and then select a two-hour delivery window so you can schedule around Zoom calls, after-school pick-ups, and much-needed midday walks.

My grocery order—which ranged from gluten-free gnocchi and breadcrumbs to frozen dragon fruit and ricotta cheese, salmon fillets, and almond milk—was delivered in three brown paper bags. The non-perishable goods were separated from the perishables, but there was no insulated protection or ice packs to ensure that the cold things actually stayed cold. Fortunately, because the service is so speedy, everything arrived at a safe temperature. But had I pushed back my much-needed midday walk and didn’t get around to putting my groceries away immediately, I’m not sure how cold they would have stayed.

3. Best Online Grocery Store for Bulk Buys: Boxed

TL;DR

  • Do they ship to me?: Boxed ships within the contiguous United States.
  • Is there an order minimum?: $20
  • Is a membership required?: Nope!
  • Are there additional tips and fees?: Nope (but feel free to tip your delivery driver!)
  • What’s the cost of delivery?: Free shipping on orders over $49
  • How soon will I get my order?: 3-5 days

Think of Boxed as the world’s most convenient convenience store: it has pretty much everything that you could find from CVS or the housewares section of Costco. You won’t find produce or many premium brands, but you can order an OXO can opener, COVID tests, two dozen rolls of paper towels, cleaning supplies, and a limited selection of very expensive seafood from Fulton Fish Market all in one order.

I placed my order on a Saturday afternoon and it arrived unexpectedly on a Wednesday afternoon. Unlike nearly every other online grocery delivery service that I tested, I never received a notification that my order was out for delivery nor confirmation once it had been delivered. When I reached out to the brand, Boxed confirmed that it only sends emails to confirm when an order has been placed and when it has shipped. The lack of communication post-shipping not only was out of the ordinary for an online grocery store, but for pretty much any online e-commerce brand these days. I only discovered that my groceries were delivered when I finally left my burrito wrap (aka a fuzzy white blanket that I tuck myself into Monday through Friday), promptly knocked over the iced latte that was haphazardly placed on the floor next to my couch, and stepped outside for fresh air that I desperately needed.

Inside two beat-up cardboard boxes were three cases of AHA sparkling water, 36 rolls of toilet paper, and a secondary beat-up box of fancy electrolyte water. Did I really order all of this? I thought to myself. I live alone and don’t have children, so buying in bulk is not a shopping philosophy I’m well accustomed to. Boxed wasn’t right for me, but if you’re shopping for a large family, have more than 175 square feet of livable space to work with, and don’t mind less-than-perfect packaging, then it’s a solid option for household essentials.

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4. Best Online Grocery Store for Shopping Locally: Instacart

TL;DR

  • Do they ship to me?: Instacart is available in most cities in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Is there an order minimum?: $10
  • Is a membership required?: Not needed to shop, but for $9.99 per month (or $99 per year), Instacart Express will give you unlimited free deliveries on all orders over $35.
  • Are there additional tips and fees?: Tipping is encouraged.
  • What’s the cost of delivery?: Starts at $3.99 for same-day orders over $35
  • How soon will I get my order?: 1-2 hours

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first: Instacart has the most fees of any grocery delivery service that I tried and you will pay significantly more to use its service than if you went to a grocery store and shopped in person. My $75 order was accompanied with a receipt from the store where my shopper purchased everything and the total was just over $50. On the site, it says that “[r]etailers set the item prices on the Instacart marketplace. While many retailers offer everyday store prices on Instacart, some retailers may set prices on the Instacart platform that are different than in-store prices.” So regardless of who is to blame for the increased prices, you’ll pay a lot more for a pint of ice cream or a package of shrimp.

Okay, and now to the good stuff. When you log onto Instacart, you get to select which nearby grocery store you’d like to “shop.” If you live in the middle of Connecticut, you can get groceries from the Stop & Shop or Big Y where you’d normally shop. Once I put in my order, my Instacart shopper communicated with me better and more frequently than most of my friends. I received so many updates—when he started shopping, which items were out of stock (and did I approve of the replacement item), when he was checking out, when he was on his way to my apartment, when he was five minutes away from my apartment, when he was actually at my apartment, and when my groceries had been dropped off. The constant communication could be divisive and I could see how someone might get annoyed by the minute-to-minute texts but I, however, loved it. I knew exactly when I needed to get off the couch to open the door and retrieve my groceries without wasting a minute of full bodily elevation.

If, like me, your Zodiac sign is Cancer, and you rely on constant nurturing and minute-to-minute updates from your loved ones, the service from Instacart is the best in the biz.

5. Best Online Grocery Store for So. Much. Produce.: Umamicart

TL;DR

  • Do they ship to me?: Umamicart is available in the New York City Metro area, as well as certain counties in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
  • Is there an order minimum?: $20
  • Is a membership required?: Nope!
  • Are there additional tips and fees?: Nope, but go ahead and give a cash tip to your driver
  • What’s the cost of delivery?: Free on orders over $49
  • How soon will I get my order?: Same-day delivery in select New York City neighborhoods, and next-day delivery to all other zip codes.

Here’s the thing about my Upper East Side apartment: the buzzer for entry is so alarmingly loud that I swear residents on Staten Island would be able to know when I was getting a grocery delivery. So when my Umamicart delivery arrived, I quite literally fell off the couch. “How is it here already? I just placed the order like a minute ago!”

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Umamicart delivered even sooner than Amazon Fresh and everything was carefully packaged in a cardboard box that was so sturdy, I broke it down to save for my next move to an apartment with a hushed buzzer. Umamicart wins the all-around gold in delivery, but what’s really special about the brand is its vast selection of Asian groceries and produce. Here, you’ll find multiple varieties of bok choy, a medley of mushrooms, at least three different kinds of frozen edamame, and hard-to-find tropical fruits like pink pineapple, fresh guava, three varieties of dragon fruit, champagne mangos, starfruit, black plums, and fresh longans. Unless you’re lucky enough to live near a grocery store that sells a huge variety of southeast Asian or east Asian ingredients, Umamicart offers, by far, the best selection of specialty fruits and vegetables—and the most convenient way to shop for it to boot.

The downside of Umamicart is that delivery is only available in select areas in the tri-state and mid-Atlantic regions. But if you do live in a serviceable zip code, it’s definitely worth trying.

6. Best Online Grocery Store for Pantry Staples: Thrive Market

TL;DR

  • Do they ship to me?: Thrive Market ships within the contiguous United States.
  • Is there an order minimum?: $50 for frozen items; no minimum for non-perishables
  • Is a membership required?: Yes, for $5/month
  • Are there additional tips and fees?: Nope!
  • What’s the cost of delivery?: Free on non-perishable grocery orders over $49; $5.95 shipping on non-perishable grocery orders under $49; free shipping on frozen orders over $99
  • How soon will I get my order?: 24-48 hours; frozen orders are shipped Monday through Wednesday

When you need to restock raw honey, granola, laundry detergent, makeup wipes, supplements, and a few bottles of wine, Thrive Market is your place. It has a lot to pick from, including a huge collection of Thrive Market-branded products such as olive oil, maple syrup, nuts, sweet potato and plantain chips, coffee, bone broth, canned pumpkin, and MCT oil. What you won’t find is anything that should be refrigerated such as fresh produce or real eggs (though you can get plant-based eggs).

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At Thrive Market, you’ll find household goods from brands like Seventh Generation, Better Goods, Molly’s Suds, Biokleen, and Rosey. You can filter laundry detergents by nontoxic, phthalate-free, cruelty-free, and dye- and color-additive-free. You won’t find Crest or Colgate toothpaste, but you will have your pick of earth-friendly toothpaste and mouthwash from Desert Essence, Hello, Thrive Market, and Tom’s of Maine.

While dry goods and household staples are really where Thrive Market excels, you can also stock your freezer with frozen fruit and large quantities of (albeit very expensive) frozen meat and seafood (like $36.99 for a 1.5 lb package of wild-caught sockeye salmon or $29.98 for eight, four-ounce beef patties). However, the prices are generally justified. Nearly all of the beef is grass-fed, the fish is wild-caught, and everything is sold in larger-than-average quantities, though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it bulk shopping.

7. Best Online Grocery Store for Organic Groceries Hive

TL;DR

  • Do they ship to me?: Hive ships for free everywhere within the contiguous United States, plus Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico for a flat fee of $30.
  • Is there an order minimum?: $20
  • Is a membership required?: Nope!
  • Are there additional tips and fees?: Nope!
  • What’s the cost of delivery?: Free on orders over $50; $5.95 on orders under $50
  • How soon will I get my order?: 3-5 days

Hive is for that mom who drives a luxury hybrid, is always talking about needing to “detox” after a weekend away from the kiddos in Palm Beach, and is so passionate about sustainability that she finds a way to position the PTA as an earth-friendly organization. There is a huge selection of organic and plant-based products at Hive, plus a whole section for “wellness” supplements designed to help support everything from collagen production to gut health to seasonal immunity. You won’t be able to get your hands on, say, Betty Crocker cake mix but you will have your pick of plant-based, gluten-free flapjack and waffle mixes, almond flour brownie mix, and tons of baking must-haves from Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur Flour, Simple Mills, and Women’s Bean Project.

If you’re an earth-loving shopper (which I hope you are) who follows a strict vegan, keto, gluten-free, or paleo lifestyle (or some combination), you’ll find plenty of non-perishable groceries. Just don’t expect to come to Hive to stock up on anything fresh or frozen—you’ll metaphorically walk away on an empty stomach.

8. Best Online Grocery Store for the NYC Metro Area: Fresh Direct

TL;DR

  • Do they ship to me?: FreshDirect is currently available in the New York City Metro area and the following counties: Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County, and Rockland County; Fairfield County, Connecticut; most parts of New Jersey; Greater Philadelphia area; Delaware, Washington D.C.; Jersey Shore (summer only); Hamptons (summer only)
  • Is there an order minimum?: $30; $99 in the Hamptons
  • Is a membership required?: Nope!
  • Are there additional tips and fees?: Fuel surcharge on orders over $2.75; applicable bottle deposits; tipping is encouraged.
  • What’s the cost of delivery?: $5.99; free shipping with Delivery Pass ($79/six months or $129/year plus tax)
  • How soon will I get my order?: Next-day delivery

For those living in and around New York City, Fresh Direct has everything. Literally everything. In one order, I purchased my favorite hard cider, crawfish for a Mardi Gras gumbo, three different kinds of oranges, king salmon fillets, assorted bell peppers, wild cockles, and my favorite hard-to-find dragon fruit smoothie packs. I’m lucky enough to live in one of the few zip codes where FreshDirect delivers, so I took full advantage of its abundance of offerings.

The major downside is that it doesn’t serve the majority of U.S. zip codes and there are fees on fees on fees—especially if you don’t pay for a “delivery pass,” which is essentially a membership that guarantees free shipping. Expect your total bill to cost $10 to $20 more than the items themselves once you tack on fuel charges, bottle deposits, shipping fees, and a generous tip for the delivery driver.

9. Best Online Grocery Store for Food Gifts Yümmy Bazaar

TL;DR

  • Do they ship to me?: Yümmy Bazaar ships everywhere within the contiguous United States.
  • Is there an order minimum?: Nope!
  • Is a membership required?: Nope!
  • Are there additional tips and fees?: Nope!
  • What’s the cost of delivery?: Free on orders over $69; $6.99 on orders under $69
  • How soon will I get my order?: 3-5 days

If you’ve ever stepped foot in a World Market, then you’ll be familiar with the concept of under-the-radar global finds. That’s what Yümmy Bazaar is all about. Stock up on Eastern European pantry staples like fried eggplant with prunes and Heidi Chocolates, Herbs de Provence and truffle butter from France, German cocktail weenies and assorted mustards, African peri peri sauce and jarred chutneys, and fruity sodas from Japan.

This isn’t the place where you’ll do a weekly stock-up of chicken thighs, baby potatoes, milk, sugar, a loaf of bread, and a bunch of bananas. But if you want to try some fun food finds from across the world, or better yet gift some (I got so many Christmas present ideas while shopping here), then it’s totally worth an order. Just know that shipping can be pricey if your order is under $69, which can be challenging to reach if you’re only stocking up on niche beverages and spice blends.


Have you ever tried purchasing groceries and household goods through an online marketplace? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!


This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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