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Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh vs Plated vs Home Chef– January 2017

Top 4 meal box 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 range from $9.95 to $11.95 per serving. Choose to receive everything you need to make 2, 3, or 4 servings of each meal 2, 3, or 4 times a week. Vegetarian, gluten-free, low-calorie, and low-carb options are available!

NEW DEAL: Save 25% off your first four weeks, no coupon required, just use this link!

Read all of our Plated Reviews here!

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


Meal #1-  Saucy Meatball Sliders with Classic Caesar Salad

Calories Per Serving: 760

Cook Time: 35-45 minutes

Score: 5/5 I’ve been subscribing to Plated for almost two years now, and this is one of the first recipes I ever ordered. It still sticks out in my mind as one of my favorite subscription box meals ever, so when I saw it was back on this week’s menu as a featured encore recipe, I couldn’t resist adding it to my box! Luckily, it was just as good as I remembered. The meatballs were tender and juicy, the sauce was rich and flavorful, and I love that Plated sent enough parmesan to ensure the sliders were super cheesy. The salad was great, too. Plated’s caesar dressing is some of the best I’ve ever had— I can’t believe it was so quick and easy to make!


Meal #2- Baked Penne with Roasted Mushrooms and Ricotta

Calories per Serving: 840

Cook Time: 40-50 minutes

Score: 4.5/5 This dish was tasty, comforting, and cheesy. (There were three kinds of cheese incorporated into this dish: ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella!) Plated provided a mushroom medley for this dish, which added a nice meatiness and flavor, and the portion size was huge. Divided between two, our plates were heaping!


Meal #3- Peanut Chicken Curry with Sticky Rice

Calories: 660

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Score: 5/5 This dish was another winner! The flavor was incredible, and I was able to have it on the table in under 30 minutes. I’d be impressed if I was served this dish in a restaurant, so I’m thrilled that I was able to make it myself at home! The sauce was delicious— rich, peanutty, tangy, and a little spicy. So good!

Overall Score: 4.83/5

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


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 our Home Chef reviews to learn more about this meal kit delivery service

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


Meal #1- Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Water Chestnuts and Sesame Dipping Sauce

Calories: 576 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4.5/5 These lettuce wraps were delicious. The filling was really tasty, and I loved the combination of sweet and spicy flavors. My only complaint about this dish is that I wasn’t in love with the dressing Home Chef sent for dipping, so I ended up skipping it. Luckily, the lettuce wraps were juicy and flavorful enough that I didn’t think they needed a dipping sauce, anyway.


Meal #2- Mushroom- Spinach Lasagna Rolls with Ricotta and Mozzarella Cheese

Calories: 756 per serving

Prep Time: 40-50 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4/5 Okay, so this may not be the most elegant dinner I’ve ever had, but it was a lot of fun to make! I did run into an issue with this dish, though. Home Chef sent spinach to incorporate into the rolls, but my spinach arrived in pretty bad shape. I decided to substitute some fresh Italian parsley, instead, and I was happy to have something fresh to balance out all the pasta and cheese. Despite the hiccup with the bad spinach, I ended up really liking this dish. The rolls were warm, gooey, rich, and very cheesy.


Meal #3- Sirloin Steak with Brown Butter Bordelaise with Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Potatoes

Calories: 734 per serving

Prep Time: 35-45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4/5 This was a really tasty, comforting dinner! The potatoes were nice and crispy, the Brussels sprouts were yummy, and the Bordelaise sauce was fantastic.

Overall Score: 4.17/5

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


With Hello FreshThe Classic Food Box (for omnivores) starts at $9.99 per person per meal. The Veggie Box (for herbivores) starts at $9.99 per person per meal. The Family Box (for families) costs $8.74 per person per meal. Starting in February, Hello Fresh will offer two plans: Unlimited Meal Choice ($11.50 a meal) or Basic Plan ($9.99 per meal). Learn more about this update here!

COUPON: Save $40 off your first box – no coupon code necessary, just click this link!

Check out the full Hello Fresh review here!

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


Meal #1- Mozzarella-Crusted Chicken with Blistered Tomatoes and Potato Wedges

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 545

Score: 4/5 This dish was pretty tasty. I really liked the crispy, mozzarella topping, and the chicken was really tasty with the roasted tomatoes. (It was kind of like a deconstructed chicken parmesan!) The potatoes were good, but I think if I make this dish again I’ll serve the chicken with a green salad instead.


Meal #2- Sweet Italian Sausage with Couscous and Spinach

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 769

Score: 4.5/5 This dish was really yummy. It was rich, meaty, and super comforting, but the addition of the spinach on top gave it a nice boost of freshness and helped keep the meal from feeling too heavy. This is exactly the kind of food I want to eat when it’s cold outside, and I think I’m going to make a version of this dish again soon. (I’m thinking it would be great with chicken sausage, kale, and butternut squash!)


Meal #3- Shawarma Meatballs with Bulgur and Sumac Veggies

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 569

Score: 2.5/5 This dish was just okay. The veggies were delicious and the bulgur was a nice base for the dish, but the meatballs were very dry. Also, sour cream seemed like an odd choice to use as a topping. I think I would have preferred yogurt, labneh, or humus.

Overall Score: 3.67/5

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


Blue Apron is $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: Get 3 Meals Free in 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- Spicy Shrimp & Korean Rice Cakes with Cabbage & Furikake

Calories: 580 per serving

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 5/5 This dish was really tasty! The rice cakes were chewy and delicious, and I loved the flavor of the sauce. It was rich, creamy, and a little spicy. This is the first time I ever cooked Korean-style rice cakes at home, and I couldn’t believe how fun and easy they were to prepare! (I loved this dish so much I’ve made rice cakes again twice since this dish. I’m hooked!)


Meal #2- Seared Chicken & Couscous with Broccoli & Lemon-Yogurt Sauce

Calories: 570 per serving

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 3.5/5 This was a simple and healthy dish that made for a quick and tasty mid-week meal. It’s not the kind of dish I couldn’t make myself without a recipe, but I enjoyed it.


Meal #3- Guacamole Burgers with Roasted Red Onion & Sweet Potato

Calories: 790 per serving

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Score: 3/5 This dish was simple and tasty, but I felt the burgers were a little naked. I ended up adding lettuce, tomato, and onion to mine to give it some freshness and crunch.

Overall Score: 3.83/5

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.)



It’s so much fun looking back at the meals I received this month from PlatedHome ChefHello Fresh, and Blue Apron, 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 January, but I think my favorite dish has to be Plated’s Meatball Sliders. Plated takes the award for best box, too. All of the meals I received from Plated this month were fantastic!

Favorite box: Plated

Yummiest dish: Plated’s Meatball Sliders

Do you subscribe to PlatedHome ChefHello Fresh, or Blue ApronWhat were your favorite January dishes?

Blue Apron

How do subscribers rate 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 | 14 comments

Comments (14)

  1. I have cooking skills so that part isn’t an issue.

    What I’d like to know is if one wanted to use this as a way to get back on track for eating correct portion sizes and balancing protein and high veggie, lower carbs content, which over all would be the best?

    Also which boxes come the with the most prep work done? (life gets busy)

  2. I am a fan of Home Chef because they offer a Paleo/gluten-free option. However, I currently am very smitten with SunBasket. Best quality food and value, organic produce, creative recipes, great variety, recycled packaging materials.

  3. So Far; I am very happy with Home Chef at least for the 2 weeks I have tried them. What I like so far is, not a lot of pasta, the Sirloins ala Robert were A+. The Sirloins were almost Filet Mignon tender. the Korean Noodle beef was really extraordinary. Some dishes taste good for the first 5 bites then get bland, not the Korean Noodle Beef. I was a hog dog on that.

    I find (and I haven’t tried any other vendors) Home Chef usually challenges my meager skillsets. 3 pans and a colander. Chopping dicing timing and exact proportions of demi glaze, white wine toasted sesame oil is a great time and money saver. I have only had one meal the Pork eggroll wrap that was a B+, otherwise over all, I love the Idea of learning how to cook gourmet style.

    You single guys and gals should love getting great gourmet meals in the mail. It makes romance and conversation so much more elegant. Hey I’m 66 and married…so..

    I will try Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plate soon but, I will select non pasta or bread meals.

  4. I subscribe to both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. With both of these services you can skip a week so I bounce back and forth between them. My delivery dates are Tuesday for Blue Apron and Wednesday for Hello Fresh. The secret is to work several weeks ahead so that I don’t have a double delivery. Working with both services I get to choose between 15 meals each week. My wife and I decide which service has the best meal each week. Both services are extremely responsive if there is a problem.

    • This is ingenious. I’ve been battling switching from BA to HF just because of how boring the options tend to be ( OH. Kale again -_-) Thanks for the idea!

  5. I have used Home Chef in the past and I like it. I got a little tired of the meals so I took a break. Plus, some of the vegies were starting to come a little “old”. But I told them about it and they made it right with a credit.
    Now I have my first order of 3 meals from Hello Fresh. Last night I made the first one and it was decent, but the directions had me using like 5 pots and 2 baking sheets. The Home Chef meals were almost all done in 1 skillet and 1 baking sheet, with some prep equipment. Clean up was SO much easier. Plus, for some reason I found the instructions easier to follow on the Home Chef cards. Maybe that’s me.
    So, I haven’t tried Blue Apron and I’m not sure I will. I AM going to try Plated after the review here.

    • I like Home Chef. I just turned my fridge down to 39F and Home Chef meals last 10 days, even though they say cook in 5 days.

      Green Beans do get some rust but, pulling them through a Scotch Pad and cold water cleans it off and they are still good.

      I’m 66 and I REALLY enjoy trying new non pasta recipes. BTW: I love pasta and bread.

      IMHO: Home Chef has 4-5 really A++ recipes and only one B++ recipe. I’m a 2 weeker Home Chef subscriber so I’m game to try others. The 6 meal I got so far are OMG really great. They are low carb high fiber. Which i great for weight control and low cholesterol, even though they give you yummy butter. 🙂

      • Thank you for your review I am looking for healthy and low carb so your notes were the most helpful to me.

  6. Seeing that Plated review side by side with the others makes me sooooo want to try it! I just don’t know if I can justify the cost…

    • Search out Home Chef vs the grocery store for a price comparison.

  7. It’s 11:40am, I can’t eat lunch yet, and I’m really regretting reading this (wonderful) review lol.

  8. Thanks for doing this! I keep looking at these subscriptions afraid to take the plunge because I couldn’t decide which one would be best. This side by side really helps a ton!

    • Thanks, Rosa! I’m glad it’s helpful! 🙂

      • *Resa* Apologies for the misspell. Autocorrect is against me!

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