Home Chef Subscription Box Review + Coupon – July 2019


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Home Chef June 2019 Review unopened box

Home Chef is a meal kit subscription that delivers a weekly box of the pre-portioned ingredients needed to make two to six meals that feed two, four, or six people. Home Chef advertises easy recipes that can be made in about 30 minutes. They say their ingredients are fresh (though they don’t provide a lot of information about their sourcing practices), and they offer vegetarian, gluten-free, and calorie/carb-conscious recipes.

a close-up image of the padded box insulation

This is a review of my customized plan that includes:

  • A mix of poultry and pork options (starting at $9.95 per serving) for two people, with two meals a week ($39.80),
  • A smoothie ($4.95 per serving),
  • And a 5-minute lunch ($7.99 per serving) for a $65.68 total.

Delivery is free for orders over $45. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $45.

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

a laydown of all four bagged recipes included in the july 2019 home chef box

About Home Chef

The Subscription Box: Home Chef

The Cost: Meals start at $9.95 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $45. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $45.

The Products: Fresh ingredients and chef-designed recipes—everything you need to make restaurant-quality meals at home.

Ships to: 90% of the U.S. (You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code here.)

Home Chef July 2019 Review

When you first sign up for Home Chef, you take a short quiz about your meal preferences and dietary restrictions. They ask what you like to eat, as well a what you tend to avoid. Based on your answers, Home Chef will choose recipes for you to get each week. As is the case with most meal kit services, you can log in and hand-select the recipes you’d like to receive. Note though, that the more particular you are with your diet, the fewer options you’ll have. There are also some “Add-On” items like fruit, smoothies, or quick lunches that you can choose to include in your box.

There was no green envelope full of promo materials this month, so let’s get straight into the packaging situation:

a top-down view of the interior of the home chef box, topped with a cardboard divider

This month’s box was cushioned and insulated with packaging comprised entirely of recycled water bottles. The whole lining can be placed in a curbside recycling bin, in locations that accept RIC 1 recyclables. Easy enough!

a top-down view of all the bagged recipe ingredients inside the insulated home chef box

Beneath the insulated flap and top cardboard divider lies all of this month’s meals, neatly packaged into individual, recyclable bags with convenient handles and slide-zip closures.

a top-down view of the bottom of the insulated home chef box with a cardboard divider above the ice packs

Underneath the ingredient bags is another cardboard divider that keeps the meats separated from everything else.

a top-down view of the diced chicken and ground pork nestled amid a bunch of ice packs at the bottom of the box

And beneath the cardboard divider is a nest of reusable/recyclable ice packs, which keep the meats and chilled. Also, check out the view of that handy insulated lining!

  • front view of the home chef ingredient bag packaging for the egg roll in a bowl recipe

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  • back view of the home chef ingredient bag packaging for the egg roll in a bowl recipe

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    As previously mentioned, every Home Chef meal comes in a plastic bag, except for the meat, and some ingredients that are too large (such as ears of corn). Most things tend to fit, though.

    close-up view of the egg roll in a bowl bag label

    The bags are also labeled with the title of each recipe for clarity. They really thought of everything!

    a laydown of all the egg roll in a bowl recipe ingredients

    Pork Egg Roll in a Bowl with Crispy Wontons & Peanuts

    Calories: 582 per serving

    Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 10-15 minutes

    Actual Time to Table: 23 minutes

    Cook within: 4 days

    Difficulty: Easy

    Spice Level: Not Spicy

    • front view of the egg roll in a bowl recipe with an example of how to plate the dish

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    • reverse view of the egg roll in a bowl recipe with photo-detailed instructions

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      I recently returned from a brutal music festival camping experience and had extremely limited energy to prepare any kind of meal, so I was pretty pleased with having ordered this quick and seemingly easy option in advance.

      prepared egg roll in a bowl ingredients, with separated and sliced green onions, plus a mixed sauce, all mise en place

      To get things started, I sliced the green onions on an angle, separating the whites from the hollow green ends. While my pan heated, I also mixed together the dijon with the sweet and sour sauce.

      ground pork simmering with green onions in a large white skillet

      Once my non-stick pan with a drizzle of olive oil was heated and ready to go, I threw in the ground pork, the white parts of the green onions, a little bit of salt, and some pepper. The recipe suggested cooking everything for 4-6 minutes, but my unreliable stove needed closer to 8 minutes. After all the pink had cooked off the pork, I stirred in half of the ponzu sauce, waited for the sauce to absorb, and transferred everything to a bowl. 

      slaw mix cooking in a large white skillet

      To the same pan, I threw in the slaw mix with a little more salt and pepper to cook for 2 minutes, until tender but still crisp. 

      ground pork and slaw mixed together in a large white skillet with ponzu sauce

      The ground pork and onions rejoined the party, only to then have the pan removed from the heat. To the meat and veggie mixture, I added the sweet and sour mustard sauce from step 1 and the remaining ponzu sauce.

      completed egg roll in a bowl recipe in a large white bowl white green onion and peanut garnish

      Voila! I was so pleased with how easily this meal came together, and was so grateful as I was completely exhausted while making it. To garnish it, I added the rest of the green onions, the crispy wonton strips, and the provided peanuts. You can’t tell me this isn’t a beautiful dish. As for the taste, it was excellent. I made a similar recipe about a year ago and it wasn’t nearly as outstanding as this one, and I think it’s because the Home Chef iteration had a lot of excellent sauces going on. Plus, you can’t go wrong with all those garnishes. A win in my book!

      • front view of the home chef ingredient bag packaging for the cajun chicken grits recipe

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      • close-up view of the cajun chicken grits bag label

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      • a laydown of all the cajun chicken grits ingredients

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        Cajun Chicken & White Cheddar Grits with Mushrooms & Grape Tomatoes

        Calories: 640 per serving

        Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 10-15 minutes

        Actual Time to Table: 35 minutes

        Cook within: 4 days

        Difficulty: Easy

        Spice Level: Mild

        • front view of the cajun chicken grits recipe with an example of how to plate the dish

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        • reverse view of the cajun chicken grits recipe with photo-detailed instructions

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          I’ve had grits maybe twice in my life, and have not once cooked with it. One thing I like to do with Home Chef is challenge myself with new dishes, because they make it really hard to mess things up. It’s like going bowling and having the bumpers put up. Sure, it’s less challenging than real bowling, but you still get the points in the end. Anyway, this isn’t about bowling, this is about grits, so let’s get into it.

          cajun chicken grits produce cleaned and laid out to dry on a checkered towel

          As with most recipes, my first step was cleaning the produce. For the mushrooms, it was removing debris with a damp paper towel, and for the green onions and cherry tomatoes, it was a rinse in the sink. Please excuse the green stains on my kitchen towels left over from squeezing the water out of some frozen spinach. It’s been laundered since then, I promise.

          diced chicken cooking in a large white skillet for the cajun chicken grits recipe

          After patting the chicken dry, I added it to a skillet heated to medium-high with some olive oil. I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews, but I love when Home Chef includes diced chicken. It’s a small thing, but it’s the kind of convenience I really appreciate from a meal delivery kit. The chicken cooked in the skillet for about 10 minutes while I continued on with the other steps.

          chopped mushrooms and sliced green onions on a red cutting board, prepped for the cajun grits recipe

          I sliced up the mushrooms and made quick work of chopping the green onions. The prep for this recipe was so easy. Off to the side, I heated 2 cups of water in a medium-sized pot.

          mushrooms, tomatoes, chicken, and green onions cooking in a large, white skillet for the cajun grits recipe

          I added the sliced mushrooms, all the green onions (despite being directed to leave some for garnish—I was hungry, excited, and had limited patience for frivolous things like decoration), the tomatoes, and the entire pack of seasoning blend to the chicken. The recipe suggested letting this all cook together for 3-5 minutes, but I let it go for quite a bit longer in order for the tomatoes to properly break down, and for the mushrooms to cook to my desired doneness.

          grits being whisked together in a medium-sized pot over high heat

          Once my two cups of water had come to a boil, I stirred in the grits and a generous pinch of salt. Then, I reduced the heat to low and constantly stirred the grits for 4 minutes until everything was nice and smooth. Upon removing the pot from the heat, I whisked in the white cheddar, butter, and some pepper. I couldn’t help but sneak a taste, and it was really good. Though, you can douse anything in white cheddar, butter, and pepper, and I’ll still give it 5 stars without a second thought.

          chicken and vegetables cooking in a large, white skillet for the cajun grits recipe with a demi-glace

          After I finished up the grits, I added the demi-glace and 1/4 cup of water to my chicken and veggie mixture. This cooked for another few minutes, until the sauce had started to thicken.

          completed cajun chicken and grits recipe in a large, white bowl

          Looks pretty delicious, right? It was! The chicken and veggies had a great depth of rich flavor, while the cheesy grits were the perfect vehicle for all of that savory goodness. I don’t think I really missed anything by forgetting to reserve some green onions for garnish, because it all wound up the same place in the end. Grits are super easy to make and even easier to whip into something pretty delicious. The only thing that confounded me with this recipe was its suggested cook time of 10-15 minutes, but I tend to take my time and be really careful when cooking a dish for the first time, especially when there’s meat involved. I’m glad I went for something outside of my typical home cooking repertoire, because it’s a gamble that really paid off. So good!

          • front view of the home chef ingredient bag packaging for the 5 minute lunch korean chicken BBQ recipe

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          • close-up view of the 5 minute lunch korean chicken BBQ sandwich label

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          • a laydown of all the korean BBQ chicken sandwich ingredients

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            5 Minute Lunch: Korean BBQ Chicken Sandwich

            Calories: 623 per serving

            Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 5-10 minutes

            Actual Time to Table: 17 minutes

            Cook within: 5 days

            Difficulty: Easy

            Spice Level: Not Spicy

            5-minute lunch korean BBQ chicken sandwich recipe with a photo example of how to plate the dish

            I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—I love Home Chef’s 5-minute lunches. Truly, I do. Another thing I really love? Korean food. Lucky me! I was super excited to try this sandwich recipe out.

            prep work for the 5-minute lunch korean BBQ chicken sandwich, including a juiced lime, a bowl of slaw mixed with mayo, and stemmed cilantro

            To start, I halved and juiced the lime, stemmed the cilantro, and tossed the slaw into a mixing bowl. The slaw was looking kind of sad and grey when I unboxed it, and a few days in the fridge certainly didn’t help its pallor. A quick mix of mayo, lime juice, salt, and pepper masked its previously unpleasant shade. When in doubt, just cover things in mayo?

            diced chicken for the korean BBQ chicken sandwich mixed with BBQ sauce in a striped bowl

            I microwaved the chicken for a minute and a half until warmed through, then tossed it in the Korean BBQ sauce. Of course I snuck a small taste of the sauce, and it was incredible—deep, savory, a little sweet, and just spicy enough to keep things interesting.

            completed korean BBQ chicken sandwich on a small white plate

            What a sandwich! The cilantro kept things really bright and fresh, the slaw turned out fine despite its sad origins, and the BBQ chicken was so tasty. I skipped a step and didn’t toast the bread because I was pretty spent from being up terribly late the night before and just wanted to eat lunch, but that was probably a mistake. My boyfriend said the bread had a stale consistency in the way it came apart while eating, which might’ve been easily remedied with a quick toasting, but it didn’t bother me much. Overall, I was pretty happy with this dish.

            • front view of the home chef ingredient bag packaging for the pineapple passion smoothie recipe

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            • close-up view of the pineapple passion smoothie bag label

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            • a laydown of all the egg roll in a bowl recipe ingredients

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              Pineapple Passion Smoothie

              Calories: 242 per serving

              Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 5-10 minutes

              Actual Time to Table: 11 minutes

              Cook within: 7 days

              Difficulty: Easy

              Spice Level: Not Spicy

              pineapple passion smoothie recipe with a photo example of the smoothie

              Ah yes, the good old Home Chef smoothie add-on, one of my favorite weekend treats.

              pineapple passion smoothie ingredients laid out in front of the blender

              For prep work, all I had to do was peel the orange, bust it up into slices, and prepare 2 cups of ice. It really doesn’t get any easier.

              pineapple passion smoothie ingredients in the blender with unblended ice on top

              I blended the pineapple pieces, passionfruit puree, and orange slices together for just shy of two minutes. Then I added in the 2 cups of ice, and let everything rock in the blender for 2-3 minutes.

              completed pineapple passion smoothie against a tile backsplash

              This didn’t turn out as smooth as some other smoothies I’ve made previously (possibly too much ice? Too little time in the blender?) but the peaks it formed in the glass still made me smile. It wasn’t my favorite Home Chef smoothie I’ve ever had, but it was still a healthy, delicious way to kick off a long Sunday.

              Verdict: My Home Chef experience this month was, once again, wonderful. It continues to be my favorite meal delivery kit I’ve tried. From the organized, recyclable packaging, to the easy and approachable recipes, Home Chef has yet to let me down. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the 5-minute lunches and the smoothie options. The meals themselves don’t cost less than picking up the ingredients at a grocery store, but they do cost considerably less than takeout. The convenience has also been great for my somewhat ridiculous schedule as of late (international and domestic travel, a massive EDM festival, general debauchery—I need all the help I can get over here). My favorite meal was the cajun grits, but everything was truly delicious. If you’re going to try a meal delivery kit, I definitely stand by this one. Bravo, Home Chef!

              To Wrap Up:

              Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Since Home Chef menus change weekly and you must choose them ahead of time, you won’t be able to order these dishes unless they are offered again in the future. However, if you see the egg roll in a bowl pop up in your menu rotation sometime down the line, GO FOR IT.

              Value Breakdown: At $65.68 for this box, each dinner was $9.95 per serving, the smoothie was $4.95 per serving, and the chicken sandwich was $7.99 per serving (with free shipping). Per Marne’s advice, it’s always a good idea to get at least one add-on if you’re only ordering 2 dinners since it pushes you over the free shipping threshold.

              Check out all of our Home Chef reviews and find other meal kit boxes in the Food Subscription Box Directory!

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

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              Written by Savannah Sprowls

              Savannah Sprowls

              Savannah spends her days testing the creative limits of an all-black wardrobe, rattling about years spent overseas, and whipping up carb-heavy meals at home. Degustabox was her first foray into the world of monthly subscription boxes, and she still gets wildly excited every time a package arrives.

              Posted in Food & Drink Subscription Boxes, Home Chef Reviews, Meal Kit Subscriptions, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: Home Chef | 5 comments

              5 Comments

              1. Thanks for the thorough review. I just saw Home Chef on my Facebook feed, and it is touting the new oven ready one pan meal options (pan provided). I see you reviewed one of those a few months ago. Are they offering a fair number of those options? That along with this review might make me try it out. I already am trying EveryPlate, first box to come next week. It’s a lot cheaper, and it might be good to compare with a more expensive box to see the differences.

              2. I just got my first box from them. While I love the meal kits and the 5 min lunch, I thought the smoothie portions were really small for the price and we were really disappointing. I think I’d be better off using the money to just buy smoothie ingredients.

              3. Home chef is the only meal box I’ve gotten that I actually really liked, and would consider subbing again. The worst was Hello Fresh. Everything about that was a disaster.

              4. Another great review! Love your writing style.

                • Thanks, SusanY! I really appreciate the feedback.

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