Everything You Need to Know About the Most Popular Meal Subscription Box
Here at My Subscription Addiction, we know a thing or two about meal kits. We’ve been reviewing them since 2013, our writers have published hundreds of reviews of dozens of subscriptions, and we even collect and share ratings and reviews from our community of readers. (Personally, I’ve written over a hundred meal kit reviews for MSA!)
If you’re new to the world of meal kit subscriptions, it can be difficult to know where to begin. There are a lot of meal subscription services to choose from, and they all bring something different to the table. HelloFresh is one of the original meal kit delivery services, and it makes some big claims. According to the HelloFresh website, it’s America’s favorite meal kit and will save you serious time, money, and stress. But is HelloFresh right for you?
In this HelloFresh review, we’ll use our vast experience with meal kits to help you answer that very question. We’ll consider things like budget, recipes, difficulty level, convenience, and taste to help you determine if HelloFresh is the best meal kit for you. We'll even look at competitors in the space to see if there's another meal kit that might be a better fit. Without further ado, let’s dive into this HelloFresh review!
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
HelloFresh Pros & Cons
- HelloFresh has one of the largest menus around. Every week, there are over two dozen different meal choices available. The menu is chef-designed and super tasty, and new recipes are released regularly, which keeps things exciting.
- Every shipment contains all the high-quality, fresh ingredients you'll need to make delicious, healthy meals at home in your own kitchen.
- A HelloFresh subscription helps you save time on meal planning, and is a hassle-free way to get dinner on the table, while even helping to cut down on food waste.
- This subscription features recipes with varying difficulty levels, so it's great for beginning cooks and seasoned home chefs alike.
- Easy-to-follow recipe cards list ingredients and outline nutritional information.
- Cooking for kids or picky eaters? There are plenty of quick and easy meals that work for those with not-so-adventurous tastebuds.
- There are a number of different plans are available (vegetarian, family-friendly, low-cal), and you can order meals for two people or sign up for a family plan.
- It's easy to pause or cancel your subscription online.
- HelloFresh doesn't offer a ton of accommodation for those with special diets, but with so many items on the menu there's a bit of wiggle room. Subscriptions can be customized to be Beef-Free, Pork-Free, Seafood-Free, Veggie, Family-Friendly, Calorie Smart, or Quick.
- While there are plenty of vegetarian options, vegans might come up short.
- Looking for organic ingredients? You may sometimes see them in your HelloFresh box, but this is not an organic meal subscription. If eating organic is important to you, check out Green Chef or Sun Basket, instead.
- While the price point is competitive, HelloFresh is not the cheapest meal kit around. If you're on a tight budget, another box might be a better fit.
All About HelloFresh
How did HelloFresh get started?
HelloFresh got started all the way back in 2011. The company was founded in Germany, but it expanded quickly. Before long, HelloFresh moved into the Australian, British, and American markets, and over the years, the company has continued to grow. It's now one of the largest and most popular meal subscription services in the US-- and for good reason. HelloFresh offers a range of plans to suit both individuals and families, and it has a huge menu that supports a variety of different diets. In recent years, the company has even branched into more niche markets by acquiring Green Chef, an organic meal delivery service, and EveryPlate, a meal kit delivery service designed for those on a budget.
At MSA, we’ve been tracking HelloFresh's progress every step of the way and reviewing HelloFresh from almost from the very beginning. Our very first HelloFresh review was written way back in 2013, and we've since reviewed hundreds of different HelloFresh meals.
How does HelloFresh work?
In this HelloFresh review, we'll go over all the things you need to know about this meal kit delivery service, but in case you're new to meal kits, let's start with a quick overview of how HelloFresh works. The first thing to know is that HelloFresh is a recurring subscription. When you sign up, you're agreeing to receive meal kits on an ongoing basis. You'll enter your credit card information when you join, and you'll continue to be charged until you decide to cancel. Here are the steps you can expect to follow when you sign up for HelloFresh:
- Choose your plan and personalize it: when you join HelloFresh, you'll set up the parameters of your subscription. How many people do you need to feed? Do you have any special dietary restrictions? Personalize your plan to make sure it works for you.
- Set your weekly delivery day: most subscribers will have several different delivery days to choose from. Some people prefer to receive meals at the very start of the week, while others like to receive deliveries mid-week. You can select your preferred weekly delivery day when you join.
- Pick your meals for the upcoming week: after you enter your dining preferences, HelloFresh will automatically pick meals for you each week that fit your style of eating. However, you can always log in, override your auto-picks, and hand-select your own meals.
- Check back regularly to skip weeks or set your menu for upcoming deliveries: don't want to receive a box every single week? No problem. Log into your account to manage your upcoming deliveries. In your account portal, you'll be able to skip shipments, pick out what meals you'd like to receive, or cancel your subscription.
How much does HelloFresh cost?
When you sign up for a subscription to HelloFresh, you'll first need to decide how many people you want to serve with each meal and how many meals you'd like to receive each week. The cost of your subscription will vary depending on how many meals you order each week. Here's an overview of what subscription costs look like:
- 2 recipes per week: $12.49 per serving + $8.99 shipping
- 3 recipes per week: $8.99 per serving + $8.99 shipping
- 4 recipes per week: $8.99 per serving + $8.99 shipping
- 5 recipes per week: $8.99 per serving + $8.99 shipping
4 person plan:
- 2 recipes per week: $8.99 per serving + $8.99 shipping
- 3 recipes per week: $7.49 per serving + $8.99 shipping
- 4 recipes per week: $7.49 per serving + $8.99 shipping
Does HelloFresh have different plans available?
You can personalize your subscription by customizing your plan to suit your special dietary needs. At signup, you can choose from the following plans:
- Everything- choose anything from the full menu of over 27+ meals each week
- Veggie- the veggie plan matches you with vegetarian recipes
- Family Friendly- recipes on the family friendly plan are kid-tested and quick to make
- Calorie Smart- calorie smart recipes are dietician-approved and contain fewer than 650 calories each
- Quick and Easy- cut down on prep, cooking time, and cleanup with the quick and easy plan
- Pescatarian- the pescatarian plan will match you with both vegetarian and seafood meals
The full HelloFresh menu features 27+ recipes each week, and each plan automatically filters the available recipes to match you with the meals that will work for your special diet.
Where and how does HelloFresh ship?
HelloFresh delivers to all states across the continental U.S. except Hawaii and Alaska. Your delivery may be handled by UPS, FedEx, or a local carrier.
Good to know:
- Deliveries typically arrive via next-day shipping between 8 am and 8 pm.
- Delivery days vary by area, but most subscribers will have several options to choose from. You can change your preferred delivery day at any time.
- A signature is not required, and you don't have to be home to accept the box.
- Food is kept cold in transit with insulated liners and frozen gel packs.
How is a HelloFresh delivery packaged?
HelloFresh shipments are securely packed in a brown cardboard box. Food is sent cold and kept at a safe temperature with the help of insulated materials, ice packs, and paperboard separators. Most of the packaging is recyclable, and there's a whole page dedicated to how to recycle the packaging on the HelloFresh website. Here's a quick run-down:
- Insulating liners: paperboard is 100% curbside-friendly, and summer liners can be recycled at a recycling facility.
- Gel packs: use scissors to cut a small corner and empty water soluble contents into the trash before recycling plastic outer packaging.
- HelloFresh box: break down cardboard boxes are recycle curbside.
- Separator and meal kits: 100% curbside-friendly.
All of the ingredients come in a recyclable paper bag except for proteins, which are packed at the bottom of the box with ice packs to keep them cold. Produce is sometimes loose, and sauces, herbs, and various other ingredients come in baggies so they don't get lost at the bottom of the box.
What recipes does HelloFresh offer?
HelloFresh offers a ton of options when it comes to choosing meals. Every week, there are 27+ recipes to choose from! Depending on which plan you choose, the selection may be narrowed down to feature recipes that will work for you. Recipes are creative and enticing, and most would be right at home on the menu of a neighborhood bistro or café. You'll often see homestyle favorites offered up alongside global-inspired cuisine. Expect to also see comfort classics, burgers, veggie bowls, pasta, and flatbreads.
Want some specific examples? Here are some recent meals we've spotted at HelloFresh:
- Hot Honey Chicken with BBQ-Roasted Potatoes and Buttery Broccoli (Calorie Smart option)
- Korean Beef Bibimbap with Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Carrots (Hall of Fame meal)
- Middle Eastern Chickpea Bowls (Vegetarian)
- Steelhead Trout over Basil Parm Risotto with Burst Tomatoes (Gourmet option: extra $5.99/serving)
- Cheese Tortelloni with Mushroom Sauce, Parmesan, and Chili Flakes (Vegetarian)
- Lemon-Thyme Pork with Roasted Zucchini and Garlic Herb Rice (Calorie Smart option)
- Nacho Pork Burgers with Roasted Jalapeño Cheese Sauce, Crispy Fried Onions & Sweet Potato Wedges (Spicy)
Are HelloFresh recipes hard?
HelloFresh is designed for cooks of all ability levels. If you're just starting out in the kitchen, we recommend picking the easiest recipes that are labeled as "level 1." Once you build up a solid skill base, you can give the more challenging "level 2" and "level 3" recipes a try. Our reviewers have tried them all, and while there are some more difficult techniques in the harder recipes, nothing is expert-level. The instructions are always written clearly and easy to follow.
What ingredients and tools does HelloFresh NOT provide?
When you sign up for a HelloFresh subscription, you'll receive most of what you need to get dinner on the table. Meal kits include produce, meat, spices, and sauces; however, there are a few things you'll be expected to provide yourself.
The ingredients to have on hand:
The kitchen tools to have on hand:
- Baking Sheets
- Small, Medium, and Large Bowls
- Potato Masher
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- Large Pans
- Small and Large Pots
- Paper Towels
- Aluminum Foil
Does HelloFresh accommodate dietary restrictions like allergies?
As we looked at previously in this HelloFresh review, there are different meal plans available that support vegetarian and pescatarian diets. However, if you have allergies or need to avoid certain specific ingredients, there isn't a lot of support available. Allergens are called out online and in the recipe cards, but you'll need to make sure you're selecting meals that work for you.
Is HelloFresh's food tasty?
We've been consistently impressed with the quality of HelloFresh's meat and ingredients, and our reviewers have found that most of the recipes are delicious-- many try to recreate HelloFresh meals again with their own ingredients! The recipes included in meal kits can vary from "solid home cooking" all the way to "restaurant quality," and HelloFresh's food regularly matches what we'd expect to receive in a neighborhood café or gastropub.
Is HelloFresh convenient?
Without a doubt, we can say with 100% certainty that HelloFresh is convenient. When you receive meals from HelloFresh, you'll save time meal planning and grocery shopping, and picking meals from an online selection helps streamline the weeknight dinner process. If you ever struggle to plan a menu for the week, feel like you're stuck in a run of cooking the same handful of meals, or don't have time to make up a shopping list and shop for groceries, HelloFresh will most certainly add convenience to your routine. Signing up for a subscription for a plan that works for you will put your weekly meals on autopilot, and boxes will show up on your doorstep every week like clockwork. What's more convenient than that?
What information is available in the HelloFresh app?
HelloFresh has an app for Android and iOS that allows you to manage your account on the go. You can browse upcoming menus, lock in your recipe choices, skip deliveries, and update your account information. Recipes are also available through the app, so if you prefer to cook from a screen (vs. a piece of paper), HelloFresh has you covered.
What do MSA reviewers say about HelloFresh?
We've had a variety of different writers step in to review HelloFresh over the years, each with a different set of preferences and level of cooking experience. Curious about what they have to say? Let's take a quick peek back at some past HelloFresh reviews.
Liz's HelloFresh Reviews
- Review expertise: As the founder of My Subscription Addiction, Liz is the OG of subscription box reviews. She's written more reviews than anyone else at MSA, and she knows a thing or two about what makes a good subscription box. That said, when she first reviewed HelloFresh back in 2013, she made it clear that she's no cooking expert. Says Liz, "I’m definitely not a chef, so I need all the help I can get."
- Eating profile: Liz is a pretty adventurous eater, but she avoids dairy and gluten. As someone with intolerances who needs to be careful about what she puts into her body, Liz approaches food with caution. Her partner, however, eats pretty much everything, so her HelloFresh reviews tend to focus on what the dining experience is like for both those with dietary restrictions and those without.
- Thoughts on HelloFresh meals: For her first ever HelloFresh review, Liz picked the following meals:
- Beef and Broccolini Flatbread with Sun-Dried Tomatoes- Of all the dishes Liz tried in her review, this one posed the most challenges for her. Since she couldn't eat the bread or the cheese, she opted to turn her portion into a salad. However, that certainly didn't ruin her dining experience. Says Liz, " I can’t stress enough how wholesome and fresh everything was in this meal."
- Thyme Roasted Chicken with Lebanese Fattoush Salad- It's pretty clear from her review that Liz absolutely loved this dish. She writes, "this was probably the freshest tasting salad I’ve ever had in my life... We made this two nights ago and it was so amazing that I already went to the grocery store to re-buy all the ingredients!"
- Sesame Crusted Swordfish with Couscous & Grape Tomato Salsa- Liz's third meal choice was a seafood dish, which she doesn't go into much detail about. She does, however express surprise that HelloFresh features premium protein like swordfish. She writes, "yes, those are swordfish filets!"
- Verdict: From the very beginning of her review, it's clear that Liz is impressed with HelloFresh. During the cooking process, she says, "I love that each step of the recipe has a photo!" As someone with dietary restrictions, she has to tweak the recipes as she goes (keep in mind that back in 2013, HelloFresh didn't have the same selection of meals offered today), but for Liz, this isn't a bad thing at all. "This box is so life-changing for me because of how difficult it can be to eat meals when you have food intolerances or allergies. Unless a restaurant has major transparency on their ingredients in food (most don’t), it’s nearly impossible to eat out without wondering if there’s gluten, dairy etc in the dressing, chicken marinade etc. This has definitely limited my food options to the things that I feel comfortable making, or the few restaurants I trust. With Hello Fresh, I feel like I’m getting meals that are better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant, and I know exactly what went into each recipe." That's high praise!
Marne's HelloFresh Reviews
- Review expertise: Marne is a writer and esthetician who's written a lot of beauty reviews for MSA, but she's also something of a foodie. As an adventurous eater, she's always happy to step in and cook up a meal kit, and she's certainly tried her share of them. She's reviewed dozens of meal kits for MSA.
- Eating profile: Unlike Liz, Marne eats anything and everything. She writes, "since I have an unrestricted diet (meat & veggies), I am lucky to all menu choices offered to me from vegetarian, fish, pork, chicken, beef, and more." Her food choices tend to skew towards comfort foods. She says, "I tend to eat a lot of heavy foods like lasagna, pizza, hoagies, etc so the idea of eating meals that are created by a company with “fresh” in their name makes me feel healthy."
- Thoughts on HelloFresh meals: In her first HelloFresh review from October 2019, Marne picked out a wide selection of meals to try. Let's take a look at what she had to say about them.
- Ginger-Turmeric Tilapia with Buttery Coconut Rice and Green Beans- This recipe took a bit longer than expected, but that didn't detract from Marne's enjoyment. "The tilapia fillets were much larger than I’d imagined which was a plus and this meal was quite filling! My roommate enjoyed the other portion and also gave it the big thumbs up. I think the coconut really made the rice. I also have to mention that I learned a new trick with this recipe with how to easily peel ginger. Know what it is? Use the tip of a spoon! Very cool."
- Maple and Rosemary Pork Cutlets with Couscous and a Creamy Apple Salad- Marne admits that she doesn't usually order pork, but the side salad was calling her name. Luckily, she ended up enjoying the whole meal. She says, "everything here tasted super fresh and the sauce for the cutlets came out really well. I also rather liked getting two thinner cuts of pork as opposed to a single thicker one. Adding rosemary to the couscous was an awesome touch that I’ll have to remember for the future. I REALLY enjoyed the salad with this one too."
- Cheesy Beef Tostadas with Long Green Pepper, Tomato Salsa, and Hot Sauce Crema- Of all the meals she ordered, Marne was most excited to try these beef tostadas, and they did not disappoint. She writes, "I ended up making this for lunch instead of dinner which was a great idea. I think the presentation of this one was gorgeous and it was cool to eat with my hands and get a little messy. I had never made tostadas before and it was fun to make them out of tortillas in the oven... These tasted FANtastic, and I found myself struggling to eat the third tostada, so I’d consider this one quite filling."
- Verdict: Marne tried a number of different meal kits before finally giving HelloFresh a try, and it's pretty clear she walked away a fan. She writes, "I think [HelloFresh] makes a solid contender among other kits but uniquely offers quite an impressive array of meal options every week. The ingredients are fresh, the meals taste fantastic, and I’ve even gone a little out of my normal taste profile with positive results."
My HelloFresh Reviews
- Review expertise: I've been writing food reviews for My Subscription Addiction since 2014, and I've reviewed HelloFresh over a dozen times. (I've eaten HelloFresh dozens and dozens of times.) I'm a professional baker, so I know my way around the kitchen, and I tend to approach meal kits with a critical eye. If a recipe is inaccurate or unclear, you can count on me to call it out.
- Eating profile: I eat anything and everything, though my favorite meals tend to feature global flavors and interesting techniques. I'm also a sucker for comfort foods like pizza and tacos.
- Thoughts on HelloFresh meals: Not every meal I've ever had from HelloFresh has been a knockout, but I can safely say that most of the time the food is excellent. One of my all-time favorite HelloFresh recipes is Steak Fajitas with Kiwi Salsa and Crispy Beans. I never would have thought to make tacos with kiwi salsa, but the tangy mix of lime and kiwi cut through the richness of the steak in an utterly delightful way. Since first trying this recipe, I've recreated and riffed on this Tex-Mex masterpiece many times. HelloFresh can also take credit for introducing me to panzanella salad. Their Citrusy Shrimp Panzanella with Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella sparked an obsession with panzanella salad that has made this dish a summer staple for me ever since. I'm also a huge fan of HelloFresh's burgers-- they regularly release new recipes, and they're always creative and delicious.
- Verdict: I've tried A LOT of meal kits in my day, and HelloFresh is the one I recommend most frequently. It's a great all-around meal kit that can work for families of all different sizes and diners with a variety of different taste preferences. It's also one of my personal favorites. After sampling dozens of different meal delivery services, I always seem to come back to HelloFresh.
What do MSA readers say about HelloFresh in their reviews?
At MSA, we don't just publish our own in-house reviews. We also invite our readers to rate and review the meal kits they've tried. Here's what Amy had to say about her experience with HelloFresh:
"I got HelloFresh for my parents, who live in a rural area, for Christmas and they love it so much, they get it every week now! It allows them to try new and different dishes and also keeps them safe by limiting how many trips they make to the grocery store. They raved about it so much, I decided to try it for myself and I love it too! It keeps me out of the grocery store where I always tend to overbuy and the box for 2 is enough for dinners for me for the whole week! I really enjoy all the options, no-waste ingredients and it's so easy to skip weeks. My mother had to contact customer service for something and they were very helpful!" -Amy
Jason made a point of sharing how HelloFresh works for his vegetarian diet:
"My wife and I are vegetarians and we've been getting this box for about six months now. Overall we are satisfied with the recipes and ingredients sent to us every week, and for the weeks where we are less than enthused about the upcoming meals, we can easily skip the delivery. Their customer support is excellent and responds quickly to issues with the box, etc. Highly recommended." -Jason
Audra likes how easy it is to pause her subscription online. She also found the portion sizes to be very generous:
"I just prepared the second meal from my first box and I am so impressed. The quality of both the meat and produce was superb. I don't think I will order weekly but it was easy to pause on the website. This is the first box my husband has actually encouraged me to keep getting! Both the meals I have prepared for 2 were very generous in portion sizes. Highly recommend!" -Audra
If you'd like to learn more about HelloFresh and read even more reader reviews, you can visit our HelloFresh brand page here.
Are there alternatives to HelloFresh?
If you like the idea of a meal kit delivery service, but you're not sure HelloFresh is the right subscription for you, there are a few competitors that might be a better fit.
HelloFresh vs. Home Chef
Like HelloFresh, Home Chef is a meal kit delivery subscription that provides delicious, crowd-pleasing meal kits to cook at home. If you're looking for a meal kit delivery service that's highly customizable, Home Chef is a great choice. Recipes can typically be made in around 30 minutes, and most meals can be customized. While this can increase the cost, it's a simple way to double up on protein or swap ingredients. Let's outline some of the key differences between these two subscriptions:
- Customization: Home Chef offers unparalleled customization. You can tweak the recipes to feature a different protein, double protein, or even meat-free protein.
- Menu size: Home Chef's menu is sizable. There are around 20 menu options to choose from each week! Still, with 27+, HelloFresh offers an even larger selection.
- Add-ons: If you'd like to receive more than just meal kits, Home Chef offers additional items you can add to your weekly order like extra protein packs, dessert, bread, and breakfast items.
HelloFresh vs. Green Chef
Want meals that are organic? Green Chef has you covered. Green Chef also offers a full selection of plant-based, keto, and paleo meals. Let's take a closer look at the differences between these meal kit subscriptions:
- Organic: If eating organic is a priority, Green Chef might be a better choice for you than HelloFresh.
- Special diets: Do you eat keto, paleo, vegetarian, or vegan? Green Chef has dedicated menu plans to support these diets, whereas HelloFresh does not.
- Price: Green Chef offers high-quality ingredients that come at a premium price. Green Chef meals start at $11.49 per serving. If you're on a budget, HelloFresh might be a better choice.
HelloFresh vs. EveryPlate
Looking for a meal kit that's tasty AND super affordable? EveryPlate is a wallet-friendly meal kit delivery service with crowd-pleasing meal options and kid-friendly entrees. EveryPlate cuts out unnecessary expenses to keep their per-meal price low, and it's a great choice for those on a budget. Let's see how these two subscriptions stack up:
- Price: EveryPlate meals cost $4.99 per serving, so it's more affordable than HelloFresh.
- Menu size: With only 14 items on each EveryPlate menu, the selection isn't as large as you'll find at HelloFresh.
- Ingredient quality: EveryPlate meals are tasty, but low-cost ingredients are often included to keep costs down. Expect to see lots of rice, potatoes, and carrots on the menu. By comparison, HelloFresh offers a wider variety of recipes with higher-quality ingredients.
Is HelloFresh worth it?
We've covered a lot of info in this HelloFresh review, but one big question remains: is HelloFresh worth it?
First and foremost, both our writers and readers have great things to say about this subscription. Most have had great experiences with the HelloFresh recipes and like that they're designed to support cooks of varying skill levels. They think the food is excellent, appreciate that there's a large menu with lots of different options, and love that there are different plans to choose from. HelloFresh customer service also gets rave reviews. If you ever have a problem with your order, you can depend on HelloFresh to issue you a credit or make it right.
If you're looking to streamline your weeknight cooking process, want healthy meal kits at an affordable price point, or are looking for an easy way to expand your cooking horizons, HelloFresh has a lot to offer. While not all reviews have been five stars, most experiences have been positive. The large menu, delicious food, affordable price point, and convenience have won over the majority of people who've given HelloFresh a try. If you're ready to sign up, just make sure you understand that you're signing up for a subscription; you'll be charged every week (unless you skip) until you decide to cancel.
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