MSA is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read the full disclosure.

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

top 4 meal review

This month, I reviewed boxes from the top four meal subscription companies: one box each from PlatedHello Fresh, and Blue Apron, and two boxes from Home Chef 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).

NEW DEAL: Get your first Plated Night free with any subscription plan (up to $48 value), 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-  Truffled Grilled Cheese with Creamy Tomato Soup

Calories Per Serving: 780

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 3/5 I love that Plated offered this dish the week of Valentine’s Day— it’s the perfect dish for a romantic night in! Unfortunately, the dish didn’t wow me. I think the soup would have benefitted from a longer cooking time. (I think a longer cooking time would have resulted in the flavors melding together a bit more.) I also think the sandwiches were a little heavy on the truffle oil. I don’t mind truffle oil in small quantities, but I found the truffle flavor in this dish a bit overwhelming.


Meal #2- White Pizza with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Balsamic Glaze

Calories per Serving: 770

Cook Time: 35-45 minutes

Score: 2.5/5 I’m usually a big fan of Plated’s pizza recipes, but this one did not work for me. The veggies were spicy (from the red pepper flakes) but also really sweet (from the maple syrup), and I didn’t think that the addition of the balsamic glaze complemented the other flavors. Overall, there was just too much going on flavor-wise for my palate.


Meal #3- Moo Shu Chicken with Pancakes

Calories: 670

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 4/5 The photo of this dish just doesn’t do it justice— it was really tasty! I loved the combination of chicken, cabbage, and mushrooms, and the sweet and salty seasoning was delicious.

Overall Score: 3.17/5

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

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


Hello Fresh – The 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. Hello Fresh announced that starting in February, they will offer two plans: Unlimited Meal Choice ($11.50 a meal) or Basic Plan ($9.99 per meal). Learn more 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- Lean Mean Chicken and Greens with Rosemary Potatoes and Gremolata

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 659

Score: 4/5 I really enjoyed this dish! The gremolata was a nice topping for the chicken, the salad was fresh and plentiful, and the potatoes were a nice, hearty accompaniment.


Meal #2- Penne with a Kick in a Pancetta-Tomato Arrabbiata Sauce

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 604

Score: 4/5 The arrabbiata-style sauce for this dish was easy to make and really tasty. I added all of the provided red pepper flakes for maximum spiciness (Hello Fresh suggested adding up to the entire packet, depending on how spicy you like your food), and the sauce had a nice kick of heat. The pancetta added some complexity and depth of flavor, and the spinach lent the dish freshness that kept it from feeling too heavy. Hello Fresh sent a huge bag of spinach with the instruction to add it all to the pasta, but I opted to only add about half and serve the rest in salad form.


Meal #3- Turkish-Spiced Salmon with Blood Orange and Couscous Pilaf

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 695

Score: 5/5 How beautiful is that blood orange salad! I absolutely love that Hello Fresh included such a lovely (and delicious!) salad to accompany this meal— it was a knockout. The salmon was great, also, and I’m always a fan of couscous.

Overall Score: 4.3/5

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: 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- Cajun Catfish & Spiced Rice with Collard Greens & Mushrooms

Calories: 760 per serving

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Score: 4.5/5 I enjoyed all of the different components of this meal, but the rice was definitely the star. It was bursting with flavor! I love how the rice recipe incorporated peppers and tomato paste, and I think the spice blend added just the right amount of heat. It paired really nicely with the catfish.


Meal #2- Baked Ricotta Cannelloni with Romain Salad & Meyer Lemon Dressing

Calories: 710 per serving

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 4.5/5 This dish was a winner! The pasta was nicely al dente, the filling was rich and gooey, and the sauce was bright and a little spicy. I also really enjoyed the side salad. I’ve never made dressing like this one before (a mix of meyer lemon juice, olive oil, mascarpone, and parmesan), and I really enjoyed it! The creamy, lemony flavor was delicious!


Meal #3- Spiced Chicken Chili with Chickpeas & Currants

Calories: 700 per serving

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Score: 4/5 This dish was delicious, but it’s not quite what I expected. The combination of spices and currants in this dish reminded me of a Middle Eastern chicken tagine— I’m not sure I’d call it a chili. Still, there’s no denying that it was tasty! It was a nice hearty meal, and I like that Blue Apron sent pita to serve on the side.

Overall Score: 4.3/5

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.)


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

I reviewed two boxes from Home Chef this month. You can check out the first review here, and the second one here!

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

Here’s what I received in my first box from Home Chef:


Meal #1- Roasted Salmon with Ginger-Scallion Sauce

Calories: 518 per serving

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4/5 This dish was really tasty! It was definitely on the lighter side, but the salmon was delicious and I really enjoyed the flavor of the sauce. It also came together really quickly (definitely less than the suggested 30-40 minutes).


Meal #2- Bone-In Pork Chop with Pecorino-Garlic Butter with Hot Honey-Glazed Peas and Carrots

Calories: 600 per serving

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4/5 These pork chops were yummy. I liked the spicy and sweet veggie mix, and the compound butter made this dish feel special.


Meal #3- Classic Chicken Marbella with Red Potatoes and White Balsamic Pan Sauce

Calories: 464 per serving

Prep Time: 35-45 minutes

Difficulty: Intermediate

Score: 5/5 Plums and olives seem like such an odd combination, but I love how they add sweetness and saltiness to Chicken Marbella. This was my favorite dish from this box, and I’ll definitely order it again if I see it on the menu!

Overall Score: 4.3/5

And here are the dishes I received in my second Home Chef box:


Meal #1- Mardi Gras Shrimp Po’Boy with Homemade Remoulade and Romaine Salad

Calories: 516 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4.5/5 Wow- these sandwiches were great! (And I love that they were included on the menu the week of Mardi Gras!) The bread was toasty and soft, the shrimp seasoning was perfect, and the sauce was delicious. The salad felt a little bit like an afterthought (since it was really similar to what was on the sandwiches), but overall this was a fantastic, easy meal.


Meal #2- Skinny Chicken Mozzarella with Marinara and Garlicky Greens

Calories: 564 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4.5/5 This chicken was delicious, and I really enjoyed the greens on the side. The chicken was cheesy and very rich, and the buttery parmesan coating was absolutely delicious. It did leave me a little hungry afterward, but I enjoyed it.


Meal #3- Cider Beurre Blanc Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan Roasted Carrots and Brussels Sprouts

Calories: 586 per serving

Prep Time: 35-45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4.5/5 I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the cheesy parmesan veggies (I’ve never cooked vegetables that way before), but I ended up really liking this dish. The veggies were tasty, and the pork was nice with the beurre blanc sauce.

Overall Score: 4.5/5

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

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! There were a lot of really great meals this month, but I think my favorite has to be Hello Fresh’s Turkish Spiced Salmon— I just can’t get over that amazing blood orange side salad! My favorite overall box, though, has to be the second one I received from Home Chef. The Cider Beurre Blanc Pork, Po’Boys, and Chicken Mozzarella were all very different dishes, but they were all excellent.


Favorite box: Home Chef


Yummiest dish: Hello Fresh‘s Turkish-Spiced Salmon with Blood Orange and Couscous Pilaf

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

Blue Apron

How do subscribers rate Blue Apron?

Created with Sketch.

Never miss a post: get email alerts about Blue Apron!

Enable notifications () to get the latest Blue Apron spoilers, reviews, deals, and news delivered to your inbox.

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. Thank you for your reviews! We’ve had the Blue Apron 2-person meal plan for several months now and we’re satisfied overall, but I’m thinking about trying a different service. I’d love to hear recommendations for which service would work best for a family of 3 with differing dietary needs — one lacto-ovo vegetarian, one omnivore who does not eat red meat or pork, and one 10 y.o. boy who is still a bit picky about vegetables. Our current Blue Apron plan sends us one poultry, one vegetarian, and one fish / seafood dish each week, but we sometimes change it to all-vegetarian. We like the flexibility to change our menu, but we don’t like the fact that we have to choose between meals for 2 people or 4 people. The other issue we have with Blue Apron is that they tend to rely on raw shallots and scallions a lot to flavor there dishes, which we can’t stand. Also, they use a lot of radishes!

  2. This article is inspiring me to try.
    Plated is first.
    Thanks for this.

  3. I’ve been rotating Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Sun Basket. I also tried Green Chef. I eat pork free and try to eat gluten free. That being said I find Sunbasket has the most gluten free, pork free options. There recipes are easy also. I rotate with Blue Apron and Hello Fresh depending what’s on the menu.

    I like Hello Fresh and Sun Basket packaging the best. Easy all around.
    Also I find Blue Apron to be more like french cooking. Lots of butter and cream.
    I want to try a vegetarian plan. Any recommendations out there??

  4. i just started homechef and terras kitchen. love the convenience of precut/chopped TK items but meals are ind. priced. 3 meals for 2 ppl run low $80s free shipping orders over $62. love home chef pork loin and check permasian mentioned n article and steak meal. HC meals r more flavorful. With both companies my husband and i are satisfied but feel somehow shorted. being from south we r used t a 3 item meal w bread and there isnt 2nds w these plans. wud love for HC t add an upcharge for items pre prepped as an option. Before we ate out all the time. So factor n free shipping tax and tips it is a good meal.

  5. I want to get a subscription for my Grandson who will be turning 12
    He enjoys cooking and their family leads a very busy lifestyle. (I also am curious about packaging because I am trying to be a bit more environment conscious. That is another concern but my main focus is what you would recommend for my 6th grade grandson.) Thank you for your great reviews!

  6. I just canceled Hello Fresh tonight and then saw your article. My husband and I have been using Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Sun Basket, and Plated (the newest addition) for months. I keep a running spreadsheet of what is coming when. We enjoyed having all of the options, but we are repeatedly disappointed in the lack of flavor in the Hello Fresh recipes. Plated is by far our favorite, but it’s also the most expensive. I did agree about the truffle oil and soup, though. Sun Basket seems to be the easiest to cook, but is a tie for us with Blue Apron. The convenience is great and I really enjoy not having leftover ingredients. Plus, we often have leftovers from the meals to eat as lunch the next day.

  7. Plated is my favorite. Hello Fresh has been a hit-and-miss with recipes. Tried couple of Sunbaskets and while I love their recipes, I had issues with items not being fresh or missing altogether.

    Sounds like Hime Chef is next one to try 👀

    • I love home chef, would highly recommend.

  8. I love these reviews thank you so much!!!! I am subscribed to Plated and Home Chef and choose one of the two each week based on the menus. I have really enjoyed all my meals, although I order from Plated more often, as I am not a huge fan of the Home Chef menus most weeks. This week I couldn’t choose between them so I am actually getting both for the first time. Thanks again!

  9. I love these reviews. Don’t ever stop. It so much fun to see the comparisons

    • Thanks so much, Sue!! I’m so glad you enjoy them. 🙂

  10. Home chef is one of my all time favorites, but I do use plated occasionally for special meals- Like next weeks peking duck pizza! My home chef box this week has mexican street corn flat bread, turkey stuffed poblano peppers, and a thai lemongrass shrimp fried rice (which i am so excited about- perfect meal for lent!).

  11. Most all of this looks delicious. I think I’ll make some of these on my own. Too bad they don’t have organic and non-gmo food box options. Also, just wondering, is it possible to make sure no pork items are included? I get really sick from pork.

    • Courtney, you might want to give Green Chef a try if you’re interested in organic, non-gmo options. Their meals are certified organic and they have omnivore, carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, and paleo plans. I just ordered my first box so I can’t speak to the taste or ease of their meals, but I’m definitely excited to try it.

    • Hi Courtney- thanks so much for reading! All of the boxes featured in this review allow you to pick which meals you receive each week, so it should be pretty easy to avoid pork. (Some even allow you to update your settings to ensure you’ll never be auto-paired with a pork recipe.) Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Thank you ladies ☺️

    • I have subscribed to Green Chef for almost a year now and am very pleased. Great customer service, easy to choose different plans week to week. I have found the recipes easy, quick and the flavors are great. Have repeated several recipes on my own. Green Chef also has a good first time subscriber incentive to try.

Please do not enter your email address in the Name field or in the comment content!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Remember to post with kindness and respect. Comments with offensive language, cruelness to others, etc will not be approved. See our full comment policy here.