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Home Chef Meal Kit Review + Coupon – June 2020

unopened box

Home Chef is a meal kit subscription that delivers a weekly box of the pre-portioned ingredients needed to make 2-6 meals that feed two, four, six, or eight people. Home Chef advertises easy recipes that can be made in about 30 minutes. They offer vegetarian, gluten-free, and calorie/carb-conscious recipes, and in my experience, their ingredients almost always arrive at peak freshness.

close-up of packaging that says let's get cooking

This is a review of my customized delivery that includes three 2-serving dinner options (at $9.95/serving) for two people for the week ($59.70).

Delivery is free for orders over $49. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $49.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

all contents with recipe bags at the back, proteins in the middle, and recipe cards in the front

About Home Chef

The Subscription Box: Home Chef

The Cost: Meals for 2 start at $6.99 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $49. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $49.

COUPON: Save $80 off your first four boxes! No coupon needed - just use this link.

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

Ships to: 98% of the U.S. You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code while signing up.

Home Chef June 2020 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.

So, about the packaging situation…

 

If you’ve been here before or are already a subscriber to this meal kit, it’s business as usual. If you’re new here, welcome—and allow me to explain! The box was cushioned and insulated with cushy packaging featuring a recyclable liner and a soft textile interior. The lining can be placed in a curbside recycling bin, in locations that accept RIC 1 recyclables.

 

Beneath the insulated flap lies all of this month’s meals, neatly packaged into individual, recyclable bags with convenient handles and slide-zip closures. Underneath the ingredient bags is another cardboard divider that keeps the meats separated from everything else and chilled with the help of many reusable/recyclable ice packs.

 

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.

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

tomato shrimp pasta ingredients laid out with recipe card

Meal #1: Tomato Cream Shrimp Campanelle with Broccolini

Calories: 658 per serving

Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 35-35 minutes

Actual Time to Table: 45 minutes

Cook within: 3 days

Difficulty: Intermediate

Spice Level: Mild

 

I’m very much in the habit of ordering a shrimp dish through Home Chef each month because they never disappoint. Plus, as a green vegetable enthusiast and a certified pasta fiend, I could not deny the appeal of this tomato cream campanelle. Let’s get cooking!

 

Like any meal kit, I started with washing and drying the fresh produce, which was just the broccolini for this recipe. While waiting for a pot of salted water to boil, I trimmed the broccolini, crushed the cheese crisps, chopped the garlic (it said to mince but I went the rustic route), and patted the shrimp dry.

tomato shrimp pasta noodles cooking in pot

The recipe suggested letting the pasta cook for 8-10 minutes but I found it was perfectly al dente after 6 minutes. I set a small glass measuring cup behind the pot so I wouldn’t forget to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water for later.

 

In a large pan over medium-high heat, I cooked the shrimp with a touch of olive oil. The recipe suggested cooking each side for 2-3 minutes but my shrimp needed just a bit longer to form a nice sear and to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. I transferred the shrimp to a plate when cooked to my liking, added a little bit more oil to the pan, and tossed in the broccolini for 3 minutes until it turned bright green. Chopped garlic and a pinch of salt joined shortly thereafter, followed by 1/2 cup of the pasta water. I simmered the broccolini until most of the water evaporated which took closer to 10 minutes, rather than the recipe-specified 3-5 minutes, though I was admittedly heavy-handed with the pasta water. Once all of the water cooked off, I killed the heat and stirred in the shrimp and parmesan.

 

I kept the same pot I used to cook the pasta nice and warm after straining the noodles. Well, my pot was a little too warm, because when I poured in the sauce packet, it sizzled, hissed, and splattered violently. Oops! Luckily, no sauce or cooks were harmed in the making of this meal. I quickly dumped in the rest of the pasta water plus a pinch of salt and pepper, then things calmed down. I tossed the noodles in this tomato goodness and removed the pot from the heat.

 

Just try to tell me this doesn’t look absolutely delicious. I dare you! To finish, I filled each bowl with a bed of saucy noodles, added the parmesan-broccolini-shrimp mixture, and sprinkled the cheese crisps on top. What’s that sound? Oh, it’s just my stomach growling all over again. This recipe was a slam dunk and incredibly easy to whip together. The rosee sauce was creamy and savory and I appreciated not having the extra step of creating a sauce from scratch. The broccolini lent color and texture, and those cheese crisps were to die for! Forget a cherry on top—cheese crispies are a far superior treat. Plus, the shrimp made this meal nice and filling. Truly a restaurant-quality experience, this dish made a quiet night at home feel very special.

 

Meal #2: Chimichurri Steak Flatbread with Mozzarella and Tomato

Calories: 931 per serving

Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 35-45 minutes

Actual Time to Table: 40 minutes

Cook within: 5 days

Difficulty: Intermediate

Spice Level: Medium

 

Much like shrimp pasta dishes, I am fiercely loyal to Home Chef‘s flatbread recipes. The first time I ordered one I thought it wouldn’t be sufficient enough for dinner, but I was quickly proven wrong. I’m always delighted by the unique flavor combinations and how easy these flatbreads are to make. This particular recipe was higher in calories than I’d normally enjoy at dinner, but like everyone else, I’m in a nonstop state of craving comfort foods to deal with all the stress happening in my life. So, how did these flatbreads measure up?

 

Upon cleaning my fresh produce, I made quick work of the prep: minced the cilantro (and kept the stems because they’re basically free flavor!), halved and juiced the lime, cored and roughly diced the tomato, and minced the jalapeño. In a small bowl, I combined the sour cream with 2 teaspoons of water and pepper, and I patted the steak strips dry as best I could. I was supposed to season them on the plate but I missed that step. These things happen!

 

In a 400 degree F oven, I parbaked my flatbreads directly on the rack for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, I combined the cilantro, all of the jalapeño (the recipe said “to taste” and I wanted to taste it all), one tablespoon of olive oil, another tablespoon of water, a pinch of pepper, and all of the lime juice. Voila, chimichurri! I had no idea it was so easy to throw together.

 

In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat with a little bit of olive oil, I cooked the steak strips for close to 10 minutes until all of the pink was gone. About 3 minutes in, I realized the seasoning packet hadn’t been used yet, so I frantically dumped it in the pan and gave everything a generous stir. It didn’t affect the outcome, thankfully. Once the steak finished cooking, I assembled my parbaked flatbreads starting with shredded mozzarella on the bottom, followed by the steak strips and chopped tomato on top. These baked for 7 minutes until the cheese was beautifully melted.

 

It’s a pretty handsome meal, right? To serve, I topped the flatbreads with the sour cream and chimichurri. The color palette of this dish is gorgeous and the flavor was fantastic, as I’ve come to expect from Home Chef. The bright and zippy chimichurri was a wonderful complement to the rich sour cream and hearty seasoned steak strips. Add in the melty cheese and fresh tomatoes? A winner, all around. I was completely stuffed after finishing this for dinner and got the comfort food experience I so desperately need these days, but in a way that’s way more creative and original than the weird, improvised stuff I’ve been feeding myself.

 

Meal #3: Truffle Butter Chicken Breast with Mushrooms and Asparagus

Calories: 499 per serving

Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 15 minutes

Actual Time to Table: 26 minutes

Cook within: 4 days

Difficulty: Easy

Spice Level: Not Spicy

 

My boyfriend was the most excited about this recipe and for good reason! One, it promised to come together in 15 minutes, and two, truffle butter. Even though I spend 99% of my time at home these days, I’m shocked that I still have to scramble to get dinner together each night. The time-saving aspect of this recipe appealed to me greatly and I’ll never turn down a simple meal with sophistication.

 

Here you can see I once again cleaned up all my produce, patted the chicken breasts dry, and seasoned each side with garlic salt and pepper. What you do not see is me chopping the ends off the asparagus, but I promise you I did.

 

In a medium nonstick pan over medium heat, I covered and cooked the asparagus with two tablespoons of water and a small bit of salt for 5 minutes. Can you believe I’ve never cooked asparagus before? Yeah, me either. It was incredibly simple!

truffle butter chicken chicken cooking in pan

Using my trusty large nonstick pan heated to medium-high, I cooked the chicken breasts with a little bit of olive oil for about 12 minutes. The recipe said it should take about 5-7 minutes for the chicken to brown and for the internal temperature to reach a safe 165 degrees F, but my chicken was a little fussy and needed some extra time to properly heat inside. Tacking on a few extra minutes to an extremely quick recipe is a fair trade-off when food safety is involved!

 

While the chicken continued to heat through, I quickly quartered the mushrooms and tossed them in the same pan used for the asparagus with a bit of oil, some salt, and pepper. After 5 minutes when the ‘shrooms were looking dark and tender, I threw in 1 tablespoon of water, the demi-glace, and the butter packet. This all melted down into a mouthwatering sauce and coated the mushrooms in no time.

 

Before serving, I topped each chicken breast with the truffle butter and about fell on the ground upon sneaking a taste. You could put that stuff on an old boot and I’d gladly eat it. SO GOOD. The only thing to rival the buttery truffle-enhanced chicken was the mushrooms. My goodness, I couldn’t believe the depth of flavor that sauce had! Plus the mushrooms themselves were very meaty and filling. Let’s not forget how good the asparagus was, too. It’s rare for me to make a simple plate of protein and easy veggies for dinner instead of pasta, pasta, pasta, but this recipe has me rethinking my ways. I was really blown away by the ease and payoff of this streamlined yet elegant dish and I’ll definitely be scheming to make it again soon.

Verdict: Home Chef, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed this meal kit but we’re reunited and it feels so, so good. My delivery came at the perfect time—I’d just run out of groceries and was really dreading making a trip to the store. There’s no arguing against the convenience of this service just showing up at your house! I was able to put off going grocery shopping for a few extra days and for that I am thankful. Additionally, if you haven’t gathered, I was over the moon with my recipes for the month. The quality, creativity, and ease were all there and all appreciated. Now, let’s talk cost. My delivery total for the month came to $59.70 for 6 meals (three recipes with 2 servings each). That’s $9.95/serving with free shipping since my order was over $49. From a budgetary angle, I don’t think Home Chef is a feasible be-all-end-all solution to groceries since it is definitely more expensive than a strategic trip to the store. However, I really love it as a monthly treat and as a supplement to everything I’ve been making at home. I’d easily spend $60 on takeout for 2-3 people, so this hits like a great midpoint between buying all of your groceries and ordering out all the time.

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.

COUPON: Save $80 off your first four boxes! No coupon needed - just use this link.

Value Breakdown: At $59.70 plus free shipping for this box, the three 2-person dinners break down to $9.95 per serving.

Check out all of our Home Chef reviews and our list of the best meal kit subscriptions!

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 | 11 comments

Comments (11)

  1. I love Home Chef and get it at least once a month! Quality is top notch compared to the other meal services boxes out there. However shipping is not free…i am charged $6.99 every time I order which comes out to around $59 before shipping usually. Unless you have a secret I don’t know about!

    • Are you ordering three meals?

      • Yep – every time! I’ve ordered about 5x and always get charged shipping… Maybe I will message them as I cannot find anywhere on their website that outlines their shipping costs.

    • Hi Caroline! Thanks for sharing your experience with shipping. I felt similarly frustrated that HC doesn’t outline their shipping practices anywhere; the information included in this review is from my experience going through the regular checkout flow while writing this review + double-checking my order history details. Feel free to follow up here with what you find if you reach out to CS!

      • I just received clarification directly from Home Chef CS regarding shipping: For orders above $49, the shipping fee is $6.99 and for orders below $49 the shipping fee is $13.99.

  2. I love HC! I have been doing it for a couple months now. I wanted to try it out at first, but I feel in love with it!. I have not been going to the store. We get our groceries delivered. HC is great because it gives you all of the stuff you need. I run out of stuff a lot, so it is nice to have everything measured out. As far as choices go, they give a good variety. I have made meals that I would never of chosen to make, and ended up loving them. I do it for three dinners out of a week. For the most part my kids have loved the meals too. It may be more expensive than going to store, but the convenience of it is amazing for me. I feel like a chef every time I finish a meal!

    • Same, Prettypony. When I first reviewed HC back in 2018 (I think? Has it been that long now?), I had my skepticisms about meal kits as I’m pretty savvy with trips to the grocery store and cooking from scratch. Home Chef’s got my heart and there’s no denying the convenience—especially right now—or the satisfaction of finishing a really beautiful and creative meal. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Great HC review! The recipes are basic with amazing twists like the demi glacé or mirepoix (tried to make this, miserable fail). You can see which chef developed the meal when filling out your order and I’ve found some favorites.
    A while ago, HC included customization options in the proteins, quick meals, salads and oven meals complete with their own pan. At first the pan didn’t look like it held 2 full portions but once plated, they were as much as usual. Daughter likes the vegetarian options.
    Customer Service is great. If there is a problem, they’ll make it right but missteps are rare.

    • Thanks, Katie! I’m happy to be reviewing again. Your experience with the oven meals was the same as mine; I thought, there’s no way this dish is simple *and* filling. It was! And my rare experiences with customer service have been wonderful as well.

  4. I have been so disappointed with Home Chef the past year or so. I’ve subbed to them since summer of 2014 so 6 years and I’ve watched it decline. I decided to cancel and they said “take $10 off your next box”. So I ordered another box. No discount even though it showed up in my account. One dish was chicken breast with truffle butter and green beans with goat cheese and crispy onions. Was supposed to receive 13 oz. of chicken breast. Received 9.5 oz. One was 6.5 and one was 3 oz. Seriously. I was so hungry afterwards I made a frozen meal I keep in the freezer for an emergency (i.e. don’t feel like cooking). Not work $20 for for a dish with ordinary ingredients and stuff I always have on hand.
    A second dish was the same – chicken breast and a side of carrots. I think they need to round these small dishes (protein and side veggie) with a salad.
    Okay, I’m done ranting. Everyone, just go to Marley Spoon. There the prices go down the more dishes your order. And their dishes are more exotic. I’ve had Moroccan spiced salmon and African peanut chicken dish and a miso glazed salmon poke bowl. And they sent me coupons sometimes just for no reason: Here take $20 off your next box.

    • Bummer, Zo. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a crummy time with HC. Thanks for the Marley Spoon recommendation—maybe we’ll review it in the future!

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