If you’ve been on Facebook or ever listened to a podcast, you’re sure to have heard of Blue Apron. It’s one of the original Meal Delivery Services, a box of food delivered to your door, pre-portioned to create easy and delicious recipes. But is it worth it? And is Blue Apron the best service, or just the first?
I reviewed four different services back-to-back and ate a whole lot of home-cooked meals to give you the scoop.
Spoiler: Meal Delivery Services are awesome.
- I tried new things. New recipes, new foods, it got me out of my comfort zone and cooking rut.
- I ate out less. Having a meal in my fridge ready to go in 30 minutes or less meant less impulse delivery/take out orders.
- It saved time. I didn’t have to plan out my meals for the week or do a big grocery trip.
- I spent more time with my husband. We agreed to make all of the meals together, which meant we had a fun activity to do together each day.
- The meals are (mostly) portion-controlled. The meals only make 2 (or 4) servings, so I know I’m not over doing it. (Like I do every time I make pasta…)
- The meals were good! The food was delicious and I was proud of a lot of what we created.
- It’s a bit pricy. The meal plans run around $10-11 a serving, so while it’s cheaper than going out to eat, you could definitely save more money by going to the grocery store and buying sale items/items in bulk .
- There are no leftovers. While I like that it’s portion-controlled, I didn’t love that my fridge was fairly empty and I didn’t have as many options for lunch/additional dinners.
First of all, let’s talk about the process. You sign up for a plan, and then you are invited to pick a certain number of meals each week to have delivered to your door. You can initially personalize your plan with diet preferences, and then it will continue to send you weekly meal deliveries unless you skip that week. (It’s very easy to skip weeks, and you can schedule them out fairly far.)
Your box of food will arrive at your door on the day you specify, and then you’re ready to cook! The ingredients come labeled and with recipe cards, so you know exactly what you need for each dish. The meal plans assume you have some basics: salt and pepper, oil, access to pots, pans, and bowls, a cutting board and knife, and access to a stovetop and oven. The most important ingredient is a large nonstick pan (I’d recommend around 12″). A lot of the meals involve cooking everything in a single pan.
The recipes come with pictures (and often the websites have supplemental video) if you need assistance with cooking it. And then, voila! You’ll have a delicious meal in front of you in around 15-45 minutes, depending on the service you use and the dish you’re making.
Below are a variety of Meal Plans in alphabetical order with info on pricing, what makes their plan unique, what we made, and our reviews. When they’ve been available to us, we’ve also included promo codes that will give you a discounted first box. I’d highly recommend trying a discounted box. You’re getting a great deal on a few meals, and it’ll give you a good idea on if you like the service or not. You can cancel any time! (Full Disclosure: Many of the promo codes are affiliate links, and will provide me with credit for future boxes or a small stipend. Basically, when you use them, we both win.)
Let me know in the comments which Meal Plans you’ve tried, and what your thoughts were!
$8.99-9.99 per meal
TL:DR; It’s the most well-known for a reason. It’s a great first box and you’ll keep coming back to it.
What Makes It Unique?
Blue Apron was one of the first services and they’re continuing to adapt and get better as they grow. You get to choose between 8 meals each week, and they also offer wine boxes and any tools you may need for your kitchen.
- Spiced Beef Pitas and Garlic Lebneh
- Seared Cod and Creme Fraiche Sauce
- Taiwanese-style Chicken
+ The food was all tasty. Not the most amazing dishes in the world, but nothing was a “dud”. Great home-cooked meals.
+Portion sizes were perfect.
-They encourage you to wash and pat dry EVERYTHING and salt and pepper EVERYTHING. You really don’t need to do that.
-Meals can take up to 45 minutes to make.
Would We Get It Again? Yes. And we have!
$11.95-13.95 per meal
Receive a FREE dinner kit for two with this link
TL:DR; This is the quick, gourmet, and FILLING option. It’s the closest to dining at a restaurant in your home.
What Makes It Unique?
Gobble delivers meals that can be made in 10-15 minutes. This means some things are pre-made and most of the veggies are already pre-cut for you. There are 10 meal choices to choose from each week, and you only need to order a minimum of two different meals. Gobble also offers side dishes, desserts, and cocktail mixes for you to purchase ala carte.
- Focaccia Grilled Cheese (plus soup and salad)
- Bistro Filet au Poivre
- Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Cabbage Slaw
+It’s quick! Great for busy nights.
+These meals tasted the best out of all the kits we tried.
+-The portion sizes are HUGE. (This is a pro and a con. Great for hungry appetites or people who want leftovers. Not great for portion-control or diets.)
-You’re not learning how to cook a meal from scratch, so you won’t easily be able to replicate these dishes on your own.
-It’s slightly pricier than the other services.
Would We Get It Again? Yes. On a busy week when we don’t have time to make full meals.
$8.74-9.99 per meal
TL:DR; HelloFresh may have the prettiest packaging, but the food lacks compared to other services.
What Makes It Unique? HelloFresh has the best packaging. Each meal comes packed in its own box that fits perfectly on the shelf of your fridge. You can choose between meat & fish or veggie packages, so it’s vegetarian-friendly. HelloFresh has a breakfast option as one of the 8 meal choices for each week. They also have a wine box and a store for kitchen tools.
- Shrimp Saganaki
- Chicken Lo Mein
- Winning Pork Medallions
+The packaging is wonderful!
+The various meal options (vegetarian, breakfast) were nice to have.
-The meals themselves weren’t the best. (It felt like the flavors were unbalanced.)
Would We Get It Again? Possibly, if a fantastic menu comes up. But we just weren’t super impressed with the meals.
$9.95 per dinner serving, $7.99 per lunch serving, $4.99 per smoothie or fruit basket
+Each meal comes in its own labeled pouch, which is handy and doesn’t take up tons of space in the fridge. The packaging it’s shipped in has printed instructions on how to break it down/recycle it.
+The food is delicious, and many of the options are healthy. (The majority of the meals I’ve received have been under 600 calories per serving.)
+They have tons of choices available, and having the option to add on lunches/smoothies is very helpful!