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Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh vs Plated vs Home Chef – July 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!


Meal #1-  White Pizza with Asparagus, Gruyere, and Ricotta

Calories Per Serving: 630

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Score: 5/5 This pizza was delicious. Five stars!


Meal #2- Garlic Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Summer Squash

Calories per Serving: 450

Cook Time: 30-40

Score: 3.5/5 This dish was tasty, but it didn’t wow me. I feel like this is the kind of dish I can easily make myself, and I expect Plated’s dishes to be a bit more special.


Meal #3- Crispy Chickpeas with Zucchini and Greek Yogurt Tzatziki

Calories: 510

Cook Time: 35-45

Score:4/5 I really liked this dish! It’s the kind of thing that I might order in a restaurant but would never think to cook myself. The crispy chickpeas were crunchy and delicious and the tzatziki really pulled the dish together. (It’s never occurred to me to make crispy chickpeas before, but they’re so good!!)

Overall Plated dish score: 4.17/5

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- Lemon Shrimp Couscous with Spinach, Peas, Radish, and Feta

Calories: 561 per serving

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4.5/5 I really liked this dish! It was fresh and filling.


Meal #2- Classic Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair Pasta and Lemon-Caper Sauce

Calories: 572 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Intermediate

Score: 3/5 Unfortunately, I thought this dish was a bit of a letdown. The sauce lacked the tanginess I usually look for in a good piccata, and the pasta was a little bland. I had a fantastic Chicken Piccata in last month’s Blue Apron box, and this one wasn’t nearly as tasty.


Meal #3- BBQ Turkey Burger

Calories: 778 per serving

Prep Time: 35-45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4.5/5 These were some of the juiciest turkey burgers I’ve ever had! Yum!

Overall Home Chef Score: 4/5

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 HTCST2!

Check out the full Hello Fresh review here!

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


Meal #1- Heirloom Tomato Flatbread

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 674

Score: 5/5 This was really yummy. The combination of pesto, prosciutto, and tomatoes was great— rich, comforting, and fresh all at the same time. I think this is the best flatbread I’ve had from Hello Fresh (I’ve tried a few), and I would happily make this again anytime!


Meal #2- Jamie’s Tomato, Spinach & Olive Fusilli with Fresh Oregano & Cheese

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Calories per Serving: 534

Score: 4/5 This dish was pretty tasty. It falls into the category of “dish I could easily make without a recipe,” but I enjoyed it. I loved the big chunks of broccolini and the salty kick from the olives.


Meal #3- Seared Steak and Creamy Chipotle Pan Sauce

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 699

Score: 5/5 This dish was fantastic! The hash had lots of flavor, the steak was tender, and the creamy adobo sauce was delicious!

Overall Hello Fresh Score: 4.67/5

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- Spiced Shrimp & Pearl Couscous with Sautéed Zucchini

Calories: 685 per serving

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15-25 minutes

Score: 4/5 I liked this dish a lot! The spice blend (ground fennel, turmeric, and Aleppo pepper) was flavorful, and it was kind of like summer comfort food- warming and satisfying without being too heavy.


Meal #2- Brown Butter Gnocchi with Summer Squash, Almonds, and Soft-Boiled Eggs

Calories: 650 per serving

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Score: 2/5 Unfortunately, this dish didn’t quite work for me. The tart flavor of the lemon juice didn’t complement the nutty caramel flavor of the brown butter, in my opinion. I love gnocchi with lemon and I love gnocchi with brown butter, but I think the flavors together work in opposition, not harmony.


Meal #3- Eggplant Tagine with Couscous, Chickpeas, and Feta Cheese

Calories: 785 per serving

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Score: 3/5 I really enjoy Moroccan-inspired flavors, and I thought this dish was tasty. Points off, though, because Blue Apron sent wilted cilantro and a bag eggplant…

Overall Blue Apron Score: 3/5

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, but there were definitely a few dishes that stood out from the rest. Both pizzas this month (from Plated and Hello Fresh) were fantastic, and I LOVED the Seared Steak and Creamy Chipotle Pan Sauce (from Hello Fresh). Looking at my overall box scores this month, Hello Fresh is clearly the runaway winner!

Favorite box: Hello Fresh

Yummiest dish: Hello Fresh’s Seared Steak and Creamy Chipotle Pan Sauce

Most fun dish to make: Plated’s Crispy Chickpeas with Zucchini and Greek Yogurt Tzatziki (I can’t believe I’ve never made crispy chickpeas before! They’re certainly going to be added to my cooking repertoire!)

Do you subscribe to PlatedHome ChefHello Fresh, or Blue Apron? What were your favorite July dishes?

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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 | 5 comments

Comments (5)

  1. I cancelled my Hello Fresh membership. The two orders from Hello Fresh I received both contained spoiled produce upon opening. At $79 for 3 meals (which is $10 more than Blue Apron and Home Chef) I expect fresh food. One slip up is understandable, but two weeks in a row indicates that there is a quality control issue. I had to use my own produce to make the meal. They did credited me the first round, but I didn’t bother asking the second time. Also, unlike HF & BA, butter isn’t included in the meal packets. Butter, in my opinion, isn’t the same as salt, pepper, and olive oil. It’s an ingredient and should be included. Had to make a trip to the store to make my meal. Also, it was frustrating that HF only has menus prepared a couple of weeks in advance. For my money, Home Chef is the hands down winner out of the three. Have ordered numerous times and have never been disappointed with the ingredients, selection, or the recipes. Need to try Plated!

  2. I just received my second shipment from hello fresh. We enjoyed the first week, although I’m not big on dark meat chicken, my hubs and kids liked the kabobs. I liked the rigatoni al vodka better than my husband.

    Our second box had been in transit for greater than 48 hours. There was little ice remaining in 1 pack and the meat did not feel cold at all. One tomato was bad and there was so much moisture, all the packaging was soaked.

    We have also tried home chef and I liked their packaging much better. Everything is contained in a clear plastic bag, whereas with hello fresh it’s just rolling around in a flimsy box.

    • I had the same issue with a delivery. Delivered to wrong house and sat out all day in 100 degree heat. I called them and they comped my box even though it was the courier’s fault. Call them. They will make it right.

  3. Thanks for the review! My boyfriend is wanting to try one (or some) of the meal delivery services. Do any of the ones you reviewed allow you to avoid certain ingredients? (I avoid gluten and dairy.)

    • Home Chef lets you filter the choices (10) by gluten free or dairy free (you have to do one at a time). I checked next week and it seems that there are a lot of gluten free choices but not many dairy free. But, there is cheese added to a lot of them, so if that is all, you could leave it off/out. You can check the recipes before ordering to see how it’s made, what ingredients, etc.

      I’m pretty sure Blue Apron is similar, but I’d have to reactivate my account to check.

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