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Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh vs Plated vs Home Chef – May 2016

top 4 meal review

This month, I reviewed boxes from the top four meal subscription companies: PlatedHello FreshHome Chef, and Blue Apron. To get a sense of how the boxes compare, I’ve outlined all of the meals I received below. I’ve assigned each dish a score out of 5, and I’ve averaged the scores from each box together to get a total box score. Read on to see which box came out on top for me this month!

Check out all of our reviews of Meal Delivery Services to see every meal kit subscription box option!


Plated – Recipes begin at $12 per plate. 2 recipes (4 plates)= $48 per week (+ $6 shipping). 3 recipes (6 plates)= $72 per week (with free shipping). 4 recipes (8 total plates)= $96 per week (with free shipping).

COUPON: Free dinner for two with purchase of 3-dinners plan ($24 value), no coupon required, just use this link.

Check out the full Plated review here

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!


Recipe #1- Truffle Pizza with Burrata, Honey, and Pistachios

Calories Per Serving: 750

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 5/5 This pizza was EVERYTHING. I wish I was eating it right now.


Meal #2- Balsamic-Marinated Steak Tacos with Goat Cheese and Chimichurri Sauce

Calories per Serving: 670

Cook Time: 25-35

Score: 4/5 The flavors in this dish were great, but the steak was a little too chewy.


Meal #3- Tarragon Chicken with Spring Vegetable Gratin

Calories: 650

Cook Time: 40-50

Score:4.5/5 This was probably the meal I was least excited about from this box, and it ended up really wowing me.

Overall dish score: 4.5/5

Cost per plate: Meals start at $12 per serving. Dessert is $4 per serving.

Number of meals available to choose from each week: 9 meals + 2 desserts (7 standard dishes, plus 2 “Chef’s Table” offerings.)


Home Chef – Meals start at $9.95 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $40.

COUPON: Save $30 off your first box! with coupon code 3PLATESOFF

Check out the full Home Chef review here

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!


Meal #1- Shrimp Pad Thai

Calories: 681 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 3.5/5 This was a pretty tasty lunch, but it wasn’t Pad Thai. I like sweet chili sauce (don’t get me wrong), but that’s pretty much all I could taste in this dish.


Meal #2- Chicken Quesadillas

Calories: 980 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 3.5/5 I didn’t like the cooking technique Home Chef recommended for this dish (it resulted in the quesadillas cooking unevenly), but the filling and pico de gallo were both tasty.


Meal #3- One Pan Charred Vegetable Farfalle

Calories: 692 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4/5 This dish was homey and comforting, and I loved the addition of the charred vegetables. The garlic bread was delicious, too!

Overall Score: 3.67/5

Cost per Plate:  Meals start at $12 per serving.

Number of meals available to choose from each week: 10 meals + 1 breakfast + 1 dessert + 1 smoothie


Hello Fresh – The Classic Food Box (for omnivores) starts at $9.90 per person per meal. The Veggie Box (for herbivores) starts at $9.08 per person per meal. The Family Box (for families) costs $8.75 per person per meal.

COUPON: Save $40 off your first box with code CFAHSK

Check out the full Hello Fresh review here

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!


Meal #1- Warm Shrimp and Farro Salad

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 497

Score: 4/5 This salad was both hearty and refreshing. The citronette dressing was zippy and light, and I liked the shrimp.


Meal #2- Mozzarella and Pesto Crusted Chicken

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 595

Score: 4.5/5 This chicken was delicious! It was crispy and indulgent.


Meal #3- Marinated Steak Bibimbap

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 621

Score: 3/5 This dish was okay. The steak was phenomenal (tender and juicy), but I found the other components to be just a little bland.

Overall Score: 3.83/5

Cost per Plate: Hello Fresh starts at $9.90 per serving (for The Classic Box).

Number of meals available to choose from each week: 6 meals


Blue Apron – $59.94 for 3 recipes on the 2-Person Plan, $69.92 for 2 recipes on the Family Plan, $139.84 for 4 recipes on the Family Plan.

COUPON: 2 Meals Free on Your First Order, no coupon required, just use this link.

Check out the full Blue Apron review here

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!


Meal #1- Crispy Cod Tacos with Chipotle-Cabbage Slaw

Calories: 770 per serving

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Score: 4.5/5 These tacos were a big hit! Frankly, my cod could have been a little crispier. (Frying isn’t my greatest talent.) Despite that, though, they were still really yummy.


Meal #2- Greek Pizza with Kalamata Olives, Feta & Pea Tips

Calories: 740 per serving

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35-45 minutes

Score: 4/5 This was a really tasty dish, and I very much enjoyed the addition of the pea tips. The only problem I had with the pizza was that it was a little soggy.


Meal #3- Fresh Udon Noodle Stir-Fry with Asparagus, Shiitake Mushrooms & Togarashi

Calories: 700 per serving

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15-25 minutes

Score: 3.5/5 This dish was pretty good, but I found the sauce to be a little too thick.

Overall Score: 4/5

Cost per Plate: Blue Apron costs $9.99 per serving.

Number of meals available to choose from each week: 6 meals (Note: meal choice is limited by the fact that not all combinations of meals are available.)

The Verdict: It’s so much fun looking back at the meals I received this month from PlatedHome ChefBlue Apron, and Hello Fresh, and it’s very interesting to stack them up against each other to see how they compare! Overall, I enjoyed all four of the meal boxes I received, and there was definitely at least one standout dish from each one. This month’s winner for me, though, has to be Plated. All of the dishes they sent me this month were outstanding!

Favorite box: Plated

Yummiest dish: Plated’s Truffle Pizza with Burrata, Honey, and Pistachios

Most fun dish to make: Hello Fresh’s Mozzarella & Pesto Crusted Chicken

Do you subscribe to Plated, Home ChefHello Fresh, or Blue Apron? What were your favorite May dishes?

Blue Apron

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Written by Lindsey Morse

Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.

Posted in Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh vs Plated, Meal Kit Subscriptions| Tags: blue apron | HelloFresh | Home Chef | plated | 17 comments

Comments (17)

  1. I just tried Sunbasket and it really made me feel good to see how they go out of their way to recycle and reuse their packaging. I have tried the others, but I won’t go back to them unless they follow suit with Sunbasket’s efforts to waste not. The lining and ice packs can be used over and over again. Recycling is OK, but reusing is way better. Thank you Sunbasket for helping to save the planet and offering me awesome food.

  2. I have used Blue Apron. I wanted to try Home Chef, but it seems more expensive. Any comments on Blue Apron vs Home Chef?

  3. I’ve tried all of these meal services as well! I just finished up my first box from Sun Basket and it was my least favorite – like Lindsey mentioned, I didn’t like their techniques/directions and I had a bag of asparagus that had completely dissolved into goo. YUCK! I had a $30 coupon off this first box and I don’t think I’m going to order from them again so I didn’t contact their customer service. So I can’t speak to the quality of their customer service.
    Hello Fresh was good but I find that their recipes are a bit boring – nothing really excites me.
    So my favorites are Blue Apron and Plated. Blue Apron’s recipes always turn out great! The quality of their ingredients is the BEST. Even when I’m skeptical about a recipe, I’m usually pleasantly surprised with the end result. Plated is also lovely but I’ve recently had some issues with the quality of their produce. They always make it right but it’s still disappointing when it happens.

    • I should clarify – I didn’t like SOME of their techniques. Overall they were good but sometimes their directions just had me scratching my head.

  4. I’ve had great experiences with both Hello Fresh and Home Chef. I’ve had contact with the customer service at Hello Fresh and they were excellent. I know someone else had a different experience, but they took good care of me.

    Also for those curious, you can skip as many weeks as you like, so I just check both sites and order when I find three meals I like. I only get a box once or twice a month. And if I get something I don’t feel like making, I repurpose the ingredients. That pesto chicken dish became grilled chicken breasts and a pesto shrimp pasta for me (though Lindsey’s review has me regretting that choice a little!)

  5. I started getting Home Chef boxes this month and haven’t stopped. I love everything that they send! I didn’t try any of the meals in this review, though.

  6. I love reading your reviews! Even though I only periodically receive Plated, I check out every review you write not only to see your amazing photographs but also see what other options there are.

  7. I had the truffle pizza from Plated as well and it was a huge hit. I receive both Plated and Home Chef but I think Plated is my fave.

  8. I have tried hello fresh and blue apron. Both had good meals but the customer service at hello fresh stinks. I will never use them again. Blue apron on the other hand has great customer service and I love the way they package their products.

  9. Thank you for this!! I’ve been going back and forth between the subscriptions, and this post is so helpful.

  10. I’m curious about food waste (packaging waste is another story with these boxes). Since you are doing a box a week every month, do you find that you waste less food overall because of how ingredients are portioned and packaged? And, as far as the other story goes, I know these ingredients all have similar packaging needs for food safety but is there any one meal subscription box that is less wasteful when it comes to packaging? I’ve bought some of these and found myself incredulous at getting a teaspoon of sesame seeds inside a sealed plastic bag inside another sealed plastic bag. Thanks!

    • Hi Sheila!

      First of all, yes, I do find that I’m wasting less food now that I’m regularly receiving meal boxes. I think the pre-portioned quantities definitely help with that. In regard to packaging, I think it’s a challenge with all of the boxes. As you point out, it’s important for food safety reasons to keep ingredients separate, but the plastic bags and individual containers do add up. It’s hard to pick one that’s better than the others, imo. If you check out the individual reviews of the boxes, you should get a pretty good idea of what to expect packaging-wise from each subscription.

      I hope that helps! 🙂


    • Sunbasket! They give you a return label and every 2nd box, they ask you to return the lining and the ice packs to them! Also their subscription is all organic. We have been really happy with it 🙂

      • I have also been happy with Sunbasket. I love their recycling efforts. It was part of the reason we went with them initially. It’s so easy to print out the label and send all the packing stuff back to be reused. USPS picked it up from my front door. It weighed 18 pounds!

  11. You should try Green Chef, my husband and I are loving it and we split up the meals even more to cut calories. Always delish!

  12. Your food always looks amazing….I really want that Truffle pizza?

    • Thanks, Katie! 🙂

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