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Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh vs Plated vs Home Chef– October 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-  Truffle Pizza with Burrata, Honey, and Pistachios

Calories per Serving: 750

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 4.5/5 The smell of this pizza was incredible, and the taste was even better. It was delicious! I have to dock a fraction of a point, though, because this pizza was supposed to be served with a side salad, but I was unable to make it because the greens arrived in bad shape.


Meal #2- Korean Beef Tacos with Bell Peppers, Gochujang, and Kimchi

Calories Per Serving: 750

Cook Time: 35-45 minutes

Score: 4.5/5 These tacos were great. All of the ingredients worked together really well, and I really enjoyed how the gochujang added a bit of heat and the tangy kimchi cut through the richness of the meat. My one complaint is that the meat was just a little on the oily side, but other than that this dish was perfect.

Meal #3- Salmon Poke Bowls with Avocado and Brown Rice

Calories: 790

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Score: 0/5 Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make this dish because the ingredients for it were damaged in transit. After I noticed the problem, I reached out to Plated to let them know, and they promptly responded to my email with an apology and a $30 credit.

Overall Score: 3/5

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

Number of meals available to choose from each week: 11 meals + 2 desserts


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 DM30

Check out the full Home Chef review here!

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


Meal #1- Pumpkin Pancakes & Bacon Brunch

Calories: 969 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4.5/5 I love how seasonally appropriate this recipe is, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. The pumpkin/walnut/spice combination was delicious, and you can’t go wrong with bacon. I’m a maple syrup purist, though, so I have to dock some points for the inclusion of “breakfast syrup” and not real maple syrup. Luckily, I had some of my own on hand.


Meal #2- Rosemary-Cider Chicken with Roasted Apples and Butternut Squash

Calories: 520 per serving

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4/5 This meal was fresh and tasty. I liked the mix of roasted squash and apples, and the shallot sauce was delicious. I also appreciate that this dish came together really quickly. The prep time was listed as 3-40 minutes (and the actual cooking time was pretty close to that), but the hands-on cooking time was far less.


Meal #3- Steak Marsala with Parmesan Mash with Sautéed Cremini Mushrooms

Calories: 793 per serving

Prep Time: 35-45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4.5/5 This was a really tasty, comforting dinner! The potatoes were cheesy, the steak was tender and juicy, and the sauce was rich and creamy.

Overall Score: 4.33/5

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- Thai Pork Meatballs with Fresh Noodles and Green Beans

Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Calories per Serving: 760

Score: 4/5 This dish was pretty tasty. The noodles had great texture, and I liked the slight snap from the green beans. For me, though, the meatballs were just okay. I think if I recreated this dish, I’d probably skip the meatballs and add in more noodles and veggies.


Meal #2- Marble Potato and Brussels Sprout Hash

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 464

Score: 2.5/5 I just couldn’t get into this dish. All of the individual components were fine, but, altogether, I thought the dish lacked flavor. Maybe some sauce would have helped? Sriracha or a little lime creme might have added some much needed pizazz.


Meal #3- Chicken Paillard with Chimichurri, Sweet Potato Wedges, and Salad

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 511

Score: 2.5/5 I didn’t love this dish. The chicken was cooked nicely and the salad was fresh, but I didn’t like that both the sauce and potatoes were seasoned with cumin. I like cumin, but I felt it overwhelmed this dish.

Overall Score: 3/5

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- South Indian Squash Curry with Jasmine Rice

Calories: 570 per serving

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 4.5/5 This curry was really tasty! I don’t think I’ve ever put squash in curry before, but I really like how it added sweetness to this dish.


Meal #2- Seared Salmon with Glazed Carrots & Saffron-Yogurt Sauce

Calories: 500 per serving

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Score: 2.5/5 This dish was really pretty, but the flavors didn’t quite work for me. Conceptually, I like the idea of all the different components together, but the completed dish didn’t live up to my expectations. I think maybe the carrots were just too sweet for my liking, which threw off the balance of this dish for me.


Meal #3- Crispy Chicken with Mashed Potato & Spicy Collard Greens

Calories: 580 per serving

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 3.5/5 I served the chicken with some barbecue and ranch sauce for dipping, and both my husband and I thought this dish was really comforting. It wasn’t the best fried chicken I’ve ever had, but it was still a treat.

Overall Score: 3.5/5

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! I made (and ate) a lot of great dishes in October, but I think my favorite dish has to be Home Chef’s Pumpkin Pancakes. Home Chef takes the award for best box, too. They really blew me away!

Favorite box: Home Chef

Yummiest dish: Home Chef’s Pumpkin Pancakes & Bacon Brunch

Do you subscribe to PlatedHome ChefHello Fresh, or Blue ApronWhat were your favorite October 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 | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. I do really like Home Chef and have been using it since September 2016, but would really like to be able to pick my sides. I hate to throw out veggies that we are not fans of……..

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. I signed up for HomeChef (because of the $30 off offer) just to try it out and realized I had not done any comparative research or anything. I am about to make my first meal and I saw your post! YAY! You validated my blind choice.

  3. How funny that we’re both commenting on the same dish – Chicken Paillard. We had this dish this week, and even though I strongly dislike cumin I really liked this meal; barely noticed the cumin. I enjoy your reviews, and it just goes to show how different people’s tastes can be.

  4. So fun to see all of these photos/reviews compared to one another on the same page! Great job Lindsey. I secretly love cumin, so I’m thinking that I would dig the chicken paillard- don’t judge me too harshly haha.

    Just a thought for you and Liz to consider- why not make a series of posts about the reviewers day jobs. Like– Lindsey bakes these epic, incredibly beautiful, drool worthy creations by day ( photos included of said baked goods) and then whips up subscription box masterpieces by night.
    It would be very interesting, in my humble estimation.

    ( I would call it the telephone booth effect– where we get to see what you look like before you change into your superhero reviewer suit 🙂 )

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