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Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh vs Plated vs Home Chef– March 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-  Peking Duck Pizza with Caramelized Red Onions

Calories Per Serving: 730

Cook Time: 40-50 minutes

Score: 5/5 This pizza was amazingly good! Seriously, I think it has to be one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever received from Plated! The shredded duck was sweet and rich, and it was delicious with the caramelized onion, scallions, cucumber, and melty cheese.


Meal #2- Shepherd’s Pie with Beef, Carrot, and Chives

Calories per Serving: 580

Cook Time: 40-50 minutes

Score: 4.5/5 This was my second time ordering Plated’s Shepherd’s Pie, and it was just as good as I remembered! It was rich and meaty, and I love the flavor the parsnips added to the stew.


Meal #3- Thai Fish Curry with Kaffir Lime and Jasmine Rice

Calories: 690

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Score: 4.5/5 This dish was another winner! It was extremely flavorful, and it definitely tasted like the kind of dish that would take an entire day to prepare. The curry was spicy, rich, and bright— yum! I would absolutely order this meal again.

Overall Score: 4.67/5

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 March, 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- Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken over Risotto Primavera

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Calories per Serving: 730

Score: 4.5/5 Isn’t this dish beautiful? The taste was great, too. The risotto was creamy and fresh, and the prosciutto-wrapped chicken was rich and delicious. The fresh sage leaves were a nice touch, but I think If I make this dish again I’ll fry them so they’re nice and crispy.


Meal #2- Tacos with Sole featuring an Avocado Crema and Crispy Cabbage Slaw

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 770

Score: 3/5 I found these tacos to be a little lacking in the flavor department. I wasn’t able to use the provided avocado (it was rock hard!), so I’m sure that didn’t help matters, but I also thought the dish could have used some more acid. There was a little bit of lime juice in both the slaw and the crema, but I still thought the dish could have used some more.


Meal #3- Butter-basted Sirloin Stead with Parsnip Wedges and Creamed Spinach

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Calories per Serving: 520

Score: 4/5 This dish was pretty tasty. I enjoyed the steak and the spinach, but the photo of this dish on the recipe card shows the plate heaping with roasted parsnip wedges, and I only received a teeny tiny little one in my kit. I added some carrots I had on hand to help pad things out, but I’m disappointed that I didn’t receive as many parsnips as was shown on the card.

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: 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- Green Garlic Pesto Pasta with Butter Lettuce Salad & Creamy Lemon Dressing

Calories: 780 per serving

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Score: 4/5 I enjoyed this dish, but the garlic chives were VERY garlicky. I think if I cook with garlic chives again I’ll make sure to use them a bit more sparingly.


Meal #2- Spice-Rubbed Pork with Sweet Red Onion & Black Beans

Calories: 730 per serving

Cook Time: 35-45 minutes

Score: 3.5/5 This dish was adapted from one of the winning dishes from this season’s finale of Top Chef. Because of that, I had really high expectations, and I’m sad to say that this dish fell short for me. It felt like just another Blue Apron recipe, not a special offering. Blue Apron substituted pork loin for pork belly (as well as some other significant changes), and I really wish that they had tried to stay truer to the original dish. I understand that pork belly might be too expensive to include in a meal offered at the regular Blue Apron meal price, but I would have been happy to pay a premium for a Top Chef-inspired dish that featured higher end ingredients!


Meal #3- Chicken Meatballs & Fregola Sarda with Kale & Scallion Tomato Sauce

Calories: 710 per serving

Cook Time: 35-45 minutes

Score: 0/5 Unfortunately, I was unable to prepare this dish because I didn’t receive the accompanying bag of knick knacks. I reached out to Blue Apron’s customer service and received a full credit for the cost of the meal. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to try out this recipe, but I’m happy with the way customer service handled the issue. Still, since I wasn’t able to make this meal, I feel I have to give it a 0/5.

Overall Score: 2.5/5

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.)


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- Bangkok Lemongrass-Basil Shrimp Fried Rice with Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots

Calories: 488 per serving

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 5/5 This dish was full of flavor and really easy to make! (It even tasted a bit like actual take out!) I loved the layers of salty, spicy flavor, and I appreciated the addition of the sugar snap peas— they added a much-needed freshness that kept this dish from being too heavy.


Meal #2- Korean Pork Medallions with Sriracha Marinade and Crunchy Rice Vinegar Slaw

Calories: 614 per serving

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4/5 The pork medallions were delicious, but I didn’t love the slaw. (I never really love slaw, though, so I can’t really blame the recipe.) I also found that I was hungry again pretty soon after dinner. I think a little bit of rice with this dish would have been a nice addition.


Meal #3- Pulled Ranch Chicken Sandwich with Loaded Potato Wedges

Calories: 817 per serving

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4/5 These sandwiches were really tasty. My only complaint is that, while the ranch flavor of the chicken was great, the meat was a little messy. (I think pulled meats benefit from a little bit of sauce to help bind everything together. I had a hard time keeping the shredded chicken in my sandwich and not scattered all over the plate.) Still, that’s a minor complaint— the sandwiches were tasty! I liked the wedges, too, and the sour cream and scallions were a nice change from my usual ketchup.

Overall Score: 4.3/5

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


Meal #1- Chicken Chili Verde with Lime Crema and Fresh Cilantro

Calories: 591 per serving

Prep Time: 35-45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4.5/5 This dish was extremely easy to make, and it turned out really tasty! It was hearty and filling, and I like that the flavor was brighter and more vibrant than the traditional red chili that I typically make. I think I’m definitely going to try recreating this recipe at home!


Meal #2- Classic French Green Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin with Mashed Carrots and Roasted Asparagus

Calories: 625 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Intermediate

Score: 5/5 This dish was incredible! The peppercorn sauce was extremely easy to make, but it tasted like something I’d expect to receive in a French steakhouse. The carrots were buttery and rich, and I loved the asparagus.


Meal #3- Avocado and Tofu Sushi Bowl with Carrots, Cucumber, and Spicy Mayo

Calories: 686 per serving

Prep Time: 35-45 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Score: 4/5 These bowls were such a delight. First of all, they were so pretty! I also loved the combination of ingredients. Altogether, this was a fresh and tasty meal.

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 Plated’s Duck Pizza— I loved it! Looking at the scores, Plated also wins best overall box this month! Way to go, Plated!


Favorite box: Plated


Yummiest dish: Plated‘s Peking Duck Pizza with Caramelized Red Onions

Do you subscribe to PlatedHome ChefHello Fresh, or Blue ApronWhat were your favorite March 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 | 18 comments

Comments (18)

  1. Great reviews, fabulous photos. I came to my decision entirely based on your reviews; I’m so happy to use your affiliate link. Cheers, happy cooking.

  2. I used to subscribe to both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and stopped the Hello Fresh subscription after it got boring – it seemed like they always used the same vegetables, potatoes, and just lemon and olive oil for dressing. Blue Apron’s meals always came out tasting amazing and more adventurous than I ever would be cooking on my own. I started up Hello Fresh again a year later and they sent me the wrong kit for one of the meals, then sent only half of the meat the following week after I told them of the problem the first week so I ended up canceling again after I had to go to the store two weeks in a row just to get the ingredients in order to cook the meals that were supposed to be delivered. I think I want to try Home Chef and see how tasty it is compared to Blue Apron. I can’t do Plated because I need to serve four people and it looks like they only have a two-person option.

  3. We tried Blue Apron…nice sized portions, interesting flavors but fishy fish and tough beef didn’t impress. We would try the other options but we have no interest in getting a delivery every week….and we don’t want to have to say “no” every week or get an unexpected, unwanted delivery. So their business model just doesn’t fit us. If we could order when we wanted….we’d be subscribers, but we’re cancelling blue apron and we’ll just continue to shop on our own.

    • Munchery now offers kits. There’s no weekly requirement (or the need to skip). You order when you want. Kits won’t mysteriously appear on your doorstep and a charge on your credit card because you have a life and forgot to “skip” the week. Recipes are on par with the rest, certainly it also depends on what you pick!

  4. I have to agree, Hello Fresh was the worst at delivery, not fresh at all, no customer service. We actually have a local company here in Atlanta that is the best of all that I’ve tried called Garnish and Gather. They go further in the prep realm than any of these, preparing the sauces for you to just pour in, chopping the garlic already. Makes it so easy and still fresh!

  5. I would like an opinion.

    I really like Blue Apron but do not like their selection eliminators so I usually only like 2/3 items left over. If they had 8 to choose from (as indicated above) I think I would go that route. I find Blue Apron more creative but usually more challenging recipes.

    Home Chef- I have had issues with poor packaging twice- this last time I was sent the wrong items (it may have been me because their site is so bad) it resets every time I view a recipe and I have to start over. I complained and they turned it around and blamed me- I spent $900 this year with them but never again!

    So now I am trying to decide between Plated and Hello Fresh- Any recommendations?

    • I loved all 3 Hello Fresh meals so far except cauliflower was molded. I read how their CS is awful like Comcast so I didn’t bother to complain since all 4 meals were way better than I anticipated. I see Home Chef offers more selections so I am trying them as well. I may end up ordering from both to have a weeks worth of meals I truly like, however; the more I read about Hello Fresh not caring about customers I doubt I will subscribe much longer.

      • Thanks
        I am trying plated and really like their selection and flexibility. They offER delivery every day of the week (I am doing tues) which is bether for me as I eat out a lot on weekends

        First meal was good but they for got a small part of the instructions

      • I have used Home Chef for a year now and I love them. Customer service is excellent and I have not had a problem with freshness. I am going to try Hello Fresh, just for a change, since they offer first time coupons and no penalties to cancel.

  6. You should try Sun Basket now. It’s my favorite!

  7. I tried to do Hello Fresh, delivery didnt show up on scheduled day. I called them and they said it was on its way….it showed up a week later….all the produce was bad. I filled out all their survey’s, emailed them and posted on facebook and never got a response or a refund. Also the chicken meatball recipe you refer to is delicious. Blue apron vs hello fresh….blue apron wins in freshness amd customer service hamds down.

    Blue Apron has arrived on time, even in the snow storms, when they emailed that it may be delayed. I had a slightly leaky hamburger package and emailes them. They responded in minutes and immediately credited my account. Blue Apron is a far superior service than helloe fresh.

  8. This review is about your personal preference. I think Blue Apron should get a better review than you gave them. You should try each of them for a month and them give a review

    • She reviews all of them every month. I believe she rotates weeks so she can order from 4 different subs.

    • Lindsey has been trying each of these for more than a month – these comparison reviews go back over a year. I believe she rotates boxes each week. Some months are better than others, for all of the meal services reviewed. I think it was a fair assessment!

  9. I’ve received Hello Fresh before (they were great) and Blue Apron (don’t love how they toss all the stuff in a bag), but recently I’ve been getting Home Chef.

    I love Home Chef! First, I love that they give you a binder for your recipes so you can actually find them next time you’re looking for them. The menu options are vast and after receiving two boxes of 3 meals each, I can say all my meals were tasty.

    I’ve only had one snafu with leaking shrimp and customer service was quick to refund the cost of that meal. Also, the referral program with HC is awesome!

  10. Blue Apron launched new features to some of us this week – I get to pick from 8 recipes in any combo. I am particular about the sourcing of my meat and BA is stepping that up too – Niman Beef will eventually be included. We used to get Marley Spoon but I felt like it was not as good as when they started. This week we got the TB12 (Tom Brady) box from Purple Carrot – looks really good bu I haven’t tried the recipes yet.

  11. I get Plated every week, so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but my standouts were the Beef Rendang (tasted like it came from a Thai restaurant), the Korean Beef Burritos (I loved the heat from the gochujang and kimchi), and the Cobb Salad with mushrooms that are seasoned and roasted until crispy and astonishingly similar to bacon!

    I also had what might have been my all-time favorite dessert of theirs – PB&J blondies. It seems like they recently changed some of their dessert recipes so that instead of just two portions, you get a whole pan (they send a disposable tin that’s probably 6″x6″), so the $8 dessert charge goes a lot further! We ended up with 6 good-sized blondies.

    • I loved the Beef Rendang, I just wish it had so much more of that delicious sauce!!!! I also love that the beef that Plated sends is so much better than what I can get at even our best grocery store.

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