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Home Chef Meal Kit Review Review + Coupon – December 2020

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.

This is a review of my customized delivery that includes three 2-serving dinner options (3 x $9.95/serving) for two people with free shipping. This box cost $59.70.

Delivery is free for orders over $49. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $49. (Please note: these shipping thresholds were what I was able to find by tinkering with my account—Home Chef’s FAQ is opaque about this.)



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.)

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 December 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 receive 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.

Before we look at the meals I picked, let me point out the extra item that came with this delivery:

 

Two gift cards that will provide two friends each with $30 off their first order. Now, on to the food!

Meal #1: BBQ Mushroom Flatbread

Calories: 720 per serving

Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 25-35 minutes

Actual Time to Table: 30 minutes

Cook within: 7 days

Difficulty: Easy

Spice Level: Not Spicy

 

Can I tell you something that’s just a wee bit embarrassing? Despite being an adult who wholeheartedly enjoys “grown-up foods,” pizza is still my hands-down favorite. It has been ever since I was little. (True story: when I was around 6, all I wanted from Santa one year was “two pizza pies.” No joke. I’m still in awe that my parents managed to navigate such a crazy Christmas morning demand.) Anyway, all of that is to say that if there’s pizza or flatbread on the menu, I’m probably gonna order it.

I really enjoy CPK’s classic BBQ chicken pizza, but I’ve never had a vegetarian version before!

Prep for this dish was quick and easy: I cleaned and chopped a handful of mushrooms, picked the leaves off some cilantro, and sliced a couple of shallots.

Into the pan went most of the shallots and the mushrooms, along with some oil, salt, and pepper. While they cooked, I par-baked the flatbreads in a 400-degree oven.

When both were ready, it was time to assemble. I spread BBQ sauce on top of the flatbreads, sprinkled cheese on top, and divided the mushroom mixture between them. Then, they went back into the oven for another 10 minutes for the cheese to melt.

When they came out, I drizzled ranch dressing and more BBQ sauce on top and then finished the flatbreads with the reserved shallots and fresh cilantro.

 

Overall, the flavors here were spot on. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, and cheese. I liked the addition of the mushrooms, and par-baking the flatbread resulted in a perfectly crispy base. The only downside was that there was a bit too much sauce on top for my liking. I only used a portion of what was supplied, but it was still too much for me. I really should have used less or just put it on the side for dipping. Despite kicking myself for that slip-up, these were great. I would make a version of these again for sure, and I think a side salad would be a nice addition.

Meal #2: Huli Huli Tofu Rice Bowl

Calories: 975 per serving

Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 25-35 minutes

Actual Time to Table: 40 minutes

Cook within: 7 days

Difficulty: Intermediate

Spice Level: Mild

 

I really love crispy tofu, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to order it. I was also captivated by the promised flavors: I never say no to teriyaki and pineapple.

Before I received this box, I got a message from Home Chef alerting me to a small ingredient change. The dish was supposed to come with uncooked rice, but due to a shortage, I was set to receive par-cooked rice as a substitute. Instead of boiling the rice in water, I was now instructed to simply transfer it to a bowl, cover it with a wet paper towel, and microwave it. No complaints here. That’s a pretty straightforward substitution, and I had zero concerns it would affect the outcome of the dish.

I began by prepping my ingredients. I sliced the scallions, juiced 1/2 a lime, and sliced the tofu and patted it dry.

 

I then made the coleslaw by stirring mayo, olive oil, lime juice, scallions, salt, and pepper into the slaw mix.

 

Next, I added some oil to a pan and cooked the pineapple slices until they developed a nice caramelization. I set them aside and reserved the pan for the tofu.

 

I prepared the tofu and fried it off. I tossed the cubed pieces with corn starch, salt, and pepper and slowly cooked them in oil over medium-high heat. The instructions recommended cooking for a combined total of 6-8 minutes, but this is not my first time cooking tofu, and I believe it takes longer to develop a nice crust. I wasn’t willing to settle for tofu that wasn’t truly crispy, so I took the time to get it golden brown. This took about 8-10 minutes per side.

 

Since Home Chef substituted in par-cooked rice, the next step was easy. I just zapped the rice in the microwave, and I was ready to plate. I portioned the rice between two bowls, topped each portion with coleslaw and tofu, divided the pineapple between the plates, topped the dishes with teriyaki, and garnished each one with scallions, red pepper flakes, and lime slices.

This dish was an exercise in patience (I’m looking at you, tofu), but it was well worth the trouble. I loved this meal. The creamy coleslaw, tangy teriyaki, sweet charred pineapple, red pepper flakes, and lime juice were fabulously balanced; each flavor struck its own unique note and when I got a bite with all of them, this dish sang. It was one of those meals that hit every single one of my taste buds. The tofu was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, and I’m glad I took the time necessary to really get it crunchy. Last but not least, the scallions on top added the perfect pop of freshness. This dish gets a gold star. It was awesome.

Meal #3: Cajun Shrimp and Cheddar Grits

Calories: 565 per serving

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

Actual Time to Table: 45 minutes

Cook within: 3 days

Difficulty: Intermediate

Spice Level: Mild

 

My final meal pick for this box was shrimp & grits, a classic I’m never unhappy to see at dinnertime. Home Chef’s version piqued my interest; I’ve never seen peanuts as a garnish before!

I was excited to give it a try! I got started on this recipe by quartering the mushrooms, chopping the red peppers, slicing the scallions, roughly chopping the peanuts, and seasoning the shrimp.

 

To begin, I made the grits. I tend to use stone-ground grits, so I was surprised by just how quickly these grits cooked in boiling water. Like 3 minutes? Awesome. When they were done, I seasoned them and added cheddar, scallions, and a knob of butter.

 

Next, I cooked the shrimp by quickly sautéing it in a little olive oil and then set it aside while I made the sauce.

 

In the shrimp pan, I cooked the mushrooms and then added the red pepper, some water, tomato paste, a bit more of the provided seasoning blend, and some butter. Once the sauce thickened slightly, it was time to plate.

 

I divided the grits between two plates and topped each one with shrimp and sauce. To finish, I topped each plate with scallions and peanuts.

I am always happy to eat shrimp & grits for dinner, and these hit the spot. That said, they weren’t the best I’ve ever had. I know Home Chef can’t send a million ingredients for every recipe, but I think if the grits had been cooked with milk or stock and the sauce had been cooked with broth instead of water the flavor would have been punched up just a little bit. That small issue aside, I still enjoyed this dish. I liked the cheesiness of the grits and the flavor of the pan sauce. The shrimp was nice with the mushrooms, and the crunch of the peanuts was a nice addition. I enjoyed the pop of savory, nutty flavor each time I crunched down on a peanut. My biggest takeaway, however, is that instant grits are awesome! I don’t think I’ll ever give up stone-ground completely, but for weeknight dinners, I think instant is definitely the way to go.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this Home Chef box. The Huli Huli Tofu was awesome, definitely a high point, but the other two dishes were solid as well. I might have preferred a bit more flavor in the shrimp & grits, but it was still good. The flatbreads were solid, too, and my only issue (that they were too saucy) was entirely the result of my own overzealous dressing. The ingredients all arrived in good condition and stayed fresh for nearly a full week. (Since I had this box delivered the week of Christmas, I didn’t make these meals back to back like I usually do.) In terms of value, this box cost $59.70, or $9.95 per serving. I’ve been trying to limit my grocery store trips this past year, so I appreciate the convenience of having meal kits delivered to my front door. I may be able to spend a little less to create similar meals myself at home, but for me, there’s a lot of value in what Home Chef provides.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, this week’s meals have passed. But, you can sign up for Home Chef today and receive meals next week!

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

Value Breakdown: This box cost $59.70, or $9.95 per serving. Shipping is free on orders over $49.

Check out all of our Home Chef reviews and our list of the best meal kit subscriptions! And check out our weekly meal kit menu round-up to see what’s coming up on the Home Chef menu.

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

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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 Food & Drink Subscription Boxes, Home Chef Reviews, Meal Kit Subscriptions, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: Home Chef | 8 comments

Comments (8)

  1. Long time Home Chef user. I order about 2x/month. I agree, with Covid, this really is the way to go. No guessing what I need to order separately to make complete meals. It reminds me of home cooked dishes with delicious twists that make them special. The salads are actually really good, reasonably priced for a dinner meal. I didn’t think the oven ready selections were going to be enough but when plated, they had the same portions as a regular kit.

  2. Thank you for this very helpful review! Home Chef is one of the meal kits I am currently considering since I have no interest in going to the grocery store while the virus is raging out of control here in Southern California. I appreciate the useful information you included about the taste and preparation of the food, and it’s nice to see the variety of meals you received, which all look great to me!

    • I’m so glad it was helpful, Jeanette! Stay safe!

      • Thank you! You too 🙂

    • We’ve been using Home Chef for about 2 years now and have had no issues. We don’t get a box every week but have been pleased with every meal – can’t beat the convenience of the pre-portioned ingredients – especially when life gets busy or you don’t want to risk the store, cost isn’t ridiculous and there’s a large variety of options! Decent sized portions, too. I’d recommend it. 🙂

      • That’s great to know! I’ve had groceries delivered several times but I never receive everything as items are inevitably out of stock, and of course those are the items I need to make the meals I have planned!! I am really liking the idea that I don’t have to think about what to make, and everything I need will be included in the kit with no waste or worries about how to use leftover food.

  3. Wait, so your parents actually got you 2 pizzas on Christmas morning? I need this story, lol!

    • Haha, sure! Apparently, they called up our local pizza place to see about picking up pizzas the night before Christmas, but it didn’t work out for whatever reason. Then they considered frozen pizza but decided they couldn’t pull off an early AM pizza bake “from Santa.” Ultimately, they went for gift certificates that promised pizza SOON (… and probably some kind of explanation that Santa doesn’t have room for a pizza oven in his toy shop), which apparently made 6 year old me happy enough. 😂

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