Home Chef Review – Everything You Need to Know About the Best Customizable Meal Subscription Box
Home Chef Review
Everything You Need to Know About the Best Customizable Meal Subscription Box
We’re reviewed dozens of meal kits here at My Subscription Addiction, and since we published our first meal delivery subscription back in 2013, our writers have penned hundreds of reviews for different subscriptions (personally, I’ve written over a hundred meal kit reviews for MSA!). We also collect and share ratings and reviews from our community of readers.
We’re often asked for recommendations, and it can be hard to figure out which subscription is the best fit– there are a lot to choose from. One of the requests we hear most frequently is that people want to be able to customize their meals, so today we’re going to take a close look at the best customizable meal subscription out there, Home Chef. Home Chef claims to offer “more meal variety,” “more flexibility,” “more flavor,” and “more satisfaction” than its competitors, but is it right for you?
In this Home Chef review, we’ll use our years of experience with meal kits to help you answer that question. We’ll consider things like budget, recipes, difficulty level, convenience, and taste to help you determine if Home Chef 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. Now, let’s take a look at Home Chef!
COUPON: Use code LD50 to 50% Off First Box.
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.)
Home Chef Pros & Cons
Home Chef Pros
- Home Chef has a very large menu. Every week, there are nearly two dozen different meal choices available.
- The menu features easy recipes that can be made in about 30 minutes.
- Recipes can be customized. You can swap proteins, double up on meat, and even sometimes substitute in plant protein.
- Every shipment contains all the high-quality, fresh ingredients you’ll need to make delicious, healthy meals at home in your own kitchen.
- A Home Chef subscription helps you save time on meal planning, cuts down on food waste, and helps ease mealtime stress.
- For those who want to streamline the cooking process, “easy prep” meal kits are available.
- Easy-to-follow recipe cards list ingredients and outline nutritional information.
- Different plans are available that focus on traditional meal kits or low prep options, and you can order meals for two people or sign up for a family plan.
- You can add bread, dessert, and additional protein to your weekly order.
- It’s easy to pause or cancel your subscription online.
Home Chef Cons
- Home Chef doesn’t offer a ton of accommodation for those with special diets, but subscriptions can be customized to avoid pork, beef, poultry, fish, shellfish, mushrooms, tree nuts, or peanuts. When you sign up, you can also indicate a preference for calorie-conscious or carb-conscious recipes.
- While there are plenty of vegetarian options, Home Chef is probably not the best pick for vegans.
- Looking for organic ingredients? You may sometimes see them in your Home Chef box, but this is not an organic meal subscription. If eating organic is important to you, check out Green Chef or Sunbasket, instead.
- While the price point is competitive, Home Chef is not the cheapest meal kit around. If affordability is a top priority, another box might be a better fit.
All About Home Chef
How did Home Chef get started?
Home Chef has been around since 2013 and was started by Patrick Vihtelic, who had a passion for cooking and was frustrated by grocery shopping. Since then, the company has grown to be one of the largest and most popular meal subscription services in the U.S. With its large menu and customizability, it’s easy to see why!
At MSA, we’ve been tracking Home Chef’s progress every step of the way and reviewing Home Chef from almost the very beginning. Our very first Home Chef review was written way back in 2016, and we’ve since published nearly 70 Home Chef reviews.
How does Home Chef work?
In this Home Chef 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 Home Chef works. The first thing to know is that Home Chef 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 Home Chef:
- Choose your plan and personalize it: when you join Home Chef, you’ll set up the details of your subscription. How many people do you need to feed? Do you have any special dietary restrictions? You’re invited to 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, Home Chef 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 Home Chef cost?
When you sign up for a subscription to Home Chef, 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. Meals for 2 start at $6.99 per serving and most cost $9.95 per serving. Shipping costs extra and may change depending on your location.
COUPON: Use code LD50 to 50% Off First Box.
Does Home Chef have different plans available?
With Home Chef, there are two main plans to choose from. Depending on how much time you have for dinner prep, you can set up your subscription to include traditional meal kits or easy prep meals that help minimize cooking time. At signup, you can choose from the following plans:
- Home Chef- this plan includes the ingredients and recipes you need to cook Home Chef’s standard recipes. It’s great for those who love to cook but want to streamline the process.
- Home Chef Fresh & Easy- this plan features low and no prep options that are best for those who want fresh meals that are on the table as fast as possible.
The full Home Chef menu features around 20 recipes each week, and there are usually around 8 Fresh & Easy options. Once you’ve selected your plan, you can further customize your subscription by requesting carb-conscious or calorie-conscious meals. You can also let Home Chef know if you prefer to avoid recipes that contain pork, beef, poultry, fish, shellfish, mushrooms, tree nuts, or peanuts.
Where and how does Home Chef ship?
Home Chef delivers to 98% of the U.S. You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code while signing up.
Good to know:
- 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 Home Chef delivery packaged?
Home Chef 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 liners. The packaging is reusable or recyclable, and you’ll find detailed recycling tips on Home Chef’s website. Here’s a quick run-down:
- Home Chef box and divider: made from partially recycled materials and 100% curbside recyclable.
- Ice packs: cold packs are reusable, but they can also be disposed of by emptying the gel filling into the trash can and recycling the outer plastic shell.
- Plastic containers: all plastic containers are recycle curbside.
- Produce bags: these can be recycled at locations that accept #4 and #5 plastic recycling.
What recipes does Home Chef offer?
Home Chef offers a large number of options when it comes to choosing meals. Every week, there are around 20 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 feature homestyle classics and comfort foods, and most would be right at home on the menu of a gastropub (or on grandma’s table). You’ll often see American classics offered up alongside dishes that feature global flavors. Expect to also see comforting dishes, tacos, “meat & potatoes,” and pasta regularly on the menu.
Want some specific examples? Here are some recent meals we’ve spotted at Home Chef:
- Mahi-Mahi and Rosee Sauce with Parmesan-Stuffed Tomatoes and Broccoli Beurre Blanc
- Bacon Jam Steak Sandwich with Roasted Potatoes
- Butter Cracker-Crusted Chicken with Honey Butter Carrots and Pecans
- Shrimp Campanelle Primavera with Zucchini and Parmesan Cheese
- Sesame-Mirin Pork Rice Bowl with Broccolini and Peanuts
- Turkey and Guacamole Tostadas with Pickled Shallot, Sour Cream and Chayote
- Pork Meatballs and Portobello Sauce with Parmesan Broccoli
- Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice with Corn Salsa
Are Home Chef recipes hard?
Home Chef is designed for cooks of all ability levels. If you’re just starting out in the kitchen, we recommend picking the simplest recipes that are labeled as “easy.” Once you build up a solid skill base, you can give the more challenging “intermediate” and “advanced” 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 Home Chef NOT provide?
When you sign up for a Home Chef 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. Salt, pepper, water, and oil are not provided, and we recommend checking recipes after ordering to check for additional items you may need to provide yourself. In addition to these basic ingredients, you’ll also be expected to have essential kitchen tools available like cutting boards, knives, bowls, baking trays, vegetable peelers and zesters, measuring cups, and pots and pans. Home Chef also assumes subscribers have access to disposable items like aluminum foil and paper towels.
Does Home Chef accommodate dietary restrictions like allergies?
As we looked at previously in this Home Chef review, there are different customization options available that support vegetarian and pescatarian diets, but this service is also not designed to support diets like keto and paleo, though there may be options available that will work for such diets. 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 the Home Chef packing facility is not certified allergen-free. You’ll need to make sure you’re selecting meals that work for you.
Is Home Chef’s food tasty?
We’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of Home Chef‘s meat and ingredients, and our reviewers have found that most of the recipes are delicious! The recipes included in meal kits can vary from “solid home cooking” all the way to “restaurant quality,” and Home Chef’s food regularly matches what we’d expect to receive when dining out. The recipes tend to be big on flavor, and many of the recipes are good enough that we’d order them again.
Is Home Chef convenient?
Home Chef is extremely convenient. When you receive meals from Home Chef, 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 need new recipe inspiration, or don’t feel like hitting up the grocery store, Home Chef will most certainly add convenience to your routine. Signing up for a subscription will put your weekly meals on autopilot, and boxes will show up on your doorstep every week like clockwork. Without a doubt, Home Chef is convenient.
Does Home Chef have an app?
Home Chef has an app that allows you to manage your account on the go. You can browse upcoming menus, lock in your recipe choices, skip deliveries, refer your friends, and update your account information. Recipes are also available through the app.
What do MSA reviewers say about Home Chef?
We’ve had a variety of different writers step in to review Home Chef 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 Home Chef reviews.
Marne’s Home Chef 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, and she has 19 Home Chef reviews under her belt.
- Eating profile: Marne eats anything and everything, though she’s not always the biggest fan of vegetables. 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.”
- Thoughts on Home Chef meals: In her first Home Chef review from 2017, Marne picked out meals that appealed to her love of comfort foods. Let’s take a look at what she had to say about them.
- Sunday Supper “Pot Roast” Steak with Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Carrots, and Peas- This recipe appealed to Marne right away. She says, “This meal is RIGHT up my alley! I love a good ol’ meat & potatoes dinner, and I love pot roast.” She does not, however, love carrots and peas, but she didn’t let that get in the way of enjoying the meal. “I pawned the peas and carrots off to my friend Shadrach, because I am a baby, but those potatoes and steak were perfect! The meat wasn’t overdone and had a lot of the flavor of a slow cooker meal without the 4-8 hour cook time.”
- Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatball Sliders with Parmesan Fries- Despite some initial disappointment that the slider buns got a bit squished in transit, this meal turned out to be a hit for Marne. Her dining companion, however, still felt a bit hungry after eating. “Even with the buns being smooshed, they still looked alright and tasted even better! This recipe serves two people, but left my friend a bit hungry still. It all depends on your hunger level, of course. I felt pleasantly full myself.”
- Crispy Onion Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Green Beans – Marne selected this meal because she’s a huge fan of chicken. Onion? Not so much. She writes, “chicken is at the top of my favorite meats list, so I was excited for this recipe, regardless of my arch nemesis (the onion) being a prominent ingredient.” Luckily, she ended up really enjoying the crispy onions in this dish. “This meal was definitely my favorite this week! I have now accepted crispy onions into my life, and just adored the pairing with green beans and mushrooms! The chicken was super moist on the inside and I devoured every last piece, while dipping it into the cream sauce.”
- Verdict: Marne reviewed Home Chef quite a few times, and she had a lot of great things to say. Most of her reviews are very positive, and she loves the convenience aspect of meal kit delivery. She writes, “My favorite part is that I never waste food and I don’t have to go to the grocery store or measure anything out.”
Savannah’s Home Chef Reviews
- Review expertise: Savannah is an open-minded foodie who’s reviewed all kinds of food and wine boxes for MSA. She took over reviewing Home Chef from Marne, and she’s reviewed it over two dozen times.
- Eating profile: She’s an open-minded eater who enjoys just about everything (except for tuna).
- Thoughts on Home Chef’s meals: Let’s take a closer look at some of the meals Savannah reviewed:
- Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps– This is the first meal Savannah ever tried from Home Chef, and it was pretty clear from first bite that she was a fan. She says, “Man, these were good. (…) I can’t believe how quickly it all came together, and above all, how emotionally satisfying it was.”
- BBQ Mushroom Flatbread with Ranch Drizzle and Cilantro– When Savannah ordered this meal, she had a feeling it would be delicious, but she wasn’t sure if it would be big enough to satisfy her for dinner. Home Chef didn’t let her down. She writes, “What a beautiful meal! I wasn’t surprised about this dish being as delicious as it was, but I was surprised to discover how filling it was. Turns out, the flatbreads are indeed a dinner-sized portion. The flatbread had a great crisp to it, the mushrooms were meaty and savory, and the combination of barbecue sauce, ranch, and cilantro was a winner. I’d order another flatbread meal again without hesitation.”
- Cheddar & Crispy Potato Crusted Chicken with Chipotle Ranch Roasted Vegetables– This kid-friendly meal was a rare mess for Savannah. She says, “This meal was tasty but came up a little short compared to the expectations set by the recipe card. (…) My partner mentioned the veggies would have been fine without the ranch and I agree, which is shocking, because I really, really love ranch. We enjoyed this meal nonetheless, and I can see how it would be a hit with kids or generally-hesitant eaters.”
- Verdict: Despite a handful of not-so-highs, Savannah’s experience with Home Chef was overwhelmingly positive. over her time reviewing Home Chef, Savannah “My first Home Chef experience was overwhelmingly positive. In one of her reviews she gushed, “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—this is my favorite meal delivery kit I’ve tried. The packaging is organized and almost entirely recyclable, the recipes are very easy to follow, and all of the meals I picked were a home run.”
My Home Chef Reviews
- Review expertise: I’ve been writing food reviews for My Subscription Addiction since 2014, and I’ve reviewed Home Chef a grand total of 19 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 Home Chef meals: I’ve tried nearly 60 different Home Chef recipes over the years, and I have to agree with Savannah and Marne. More often than not, Home Chef brings it. The recipes are consistently delicious, and I never struggle to pick out dishes from the weekly menu that look tasty. I also really appreciate that I can swap proteins when I feel like it. I’ve been making an effort to eat less meat over the past year, and I like that Home Chef often lets me sub in plant protein. I’ve tried both the traditional meal kits and the low and no-prep options, and my personal preference is for the traditional meal kits– I don’t mind the extra steps, and I think the recipes are often just a little bit more exciting. Like Savannah, I ordered and loved the BBQ Mushroom Flatbread. Another standout recipe in my book is Huli Huli Tofu Rice Bowl, a dish that blends flavors of teriyaki and pineapple in a way I found utterly delicious. Recently, I was also blown away by Home Chef’s Tuscan Farro Ribollita with Croutons, a dish that was big on flavor and extremely easy to make.
- Verdict: I’ve tried A LOT of meal kits in my day, and Home Chef is one of my favorites. I often recommend it to friends and family members that are looking for comfort classics, as well as for those that are a little bit picky about their proteins and will appreciate the customizability.
What do MSA readers say about Home Chef 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 Bridgette had to say about her experience with Home Chef:
“We have been ordering from them for a couple of months now and so far everything has been delicious and really easy to make!!! My favorite part about the whole thing is that it takes the stress out of having to plan dinner and I’m learning how to cook the right way. Even my husband loves cooking these meals. The portions are very generous! They are restaurant size portions. I would say that you get about 1.5 meals out of one serving. The meals are very well packaged, have always delivered cold, no missing ingredients and always on time. The only reason for knocking it down a star is because the meals are starting to get pretty similar. A lot of them have used red meat, cream cheese and sour cream. Looking ahead for the next few weeks I do see a little bit more variety.” –Bridgette
Maggie made a point of sharing how Home Chef can work for kids:
“Our family subscribes to Home Chef as well as 4 other food subscription services. Home Chef is the best deal for your $$$ in my opinion. Plus…. the meals are the most kid friendly I am discovering.” –Maggie
Gina subscribes to both Home Chef and Blue Apron, and shares how they compare:
“I have tried Blue Apron and Home Chef. After my first meal with BA, I was hooked. I loved the inventiveness of the recipes and feel it makes me a better cook. Home Chef food is “fine” Just fine. I received a box on Friday of a steak dish and two chicken dishes. One of the chicken dishes was basically chicken and an arugula salad. A lot of the reviews of HC like it because it is more akin to a comfort food selection and think that BA is too weird. I can see that. I ate one of the BA meals for breakfast because in Israel, its country of origin, it is a breakfast dish and it made more sense. With HC, my first meal was a steak meal with grains of paradise. Basically Steak Au Poirve. With mashed sweet potatoes and zucchini. Nothing I couldn’t make myself. So one steak dish, a chicken and salad dish and Butter Chicken. The butter chicken is a good Indian curry dish but still not very exciting. I didn’t learn anything new. Upside to HC- they give you a binder upfront for your recipe and all the food is bundled together. Both better than the presentation for BA. BA is definitely for someone who wants to learn some new cooking techniques. If that’s not your thing, then HC would be great.” –Gina
If you’d like to learn more about Home Chef and read even more reader reviews, you can visit our Home Chef brand page here.
Are there alternatives to Home Chef?
If you like the idea of a meal kit delivery service, but you’re not sure Home Chef is the right subscription for you, there are a few competitors that might be a better fit.
Home Chef vs. HelloFresh
Like Home Chef, HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery subscription that provides delicious, crowd-pleasing meal kits to cook at home. It’s one of the most popular meal subscription services out there, and the weekly menu is huge. Let’s outline some of the key differences between these two subscriptions:
- Menu size: Home Chef’s menu is sizable, but HelloFresh’s is even larger. With 27+ recipes to choose from every week, HelloFresh has the biggest menu around.
- Customization: HelloFresh offers a lot of recipes to choose from, but Home Chef offers unparalleled customization. If you want to make changes to menu items, Home Chef is the way to go.
- The food: Both companies send tasty meals that our reviewers love, but the “vibe” is a little bit different. Home Chef recipes tend to skew a bit more traditional, while HelloFresh is more likely to feature international dishes and global flavors.
Home Chef 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 Home Chef.
- Special diets: Do you eat keto, paleo, vegetarian, or vegan? Green Chef has dedicated menu plans to support these diets, whereas Home Chef 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, Home Chef might be a better choice.
Home Chef 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 Home Chef.
- Menu size: With only 14 items on each EveryPlate menu, the selection is a little bit smaller than what you’ll find at Home Chef.
- 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, Home Chef offers a wider variety of recipes with higher-quality ingredients.
Is Home Chef worth it?
We’ve covered a lot of info in this Home Chef review, but one big question remains: is Home Chef worth it?
Looking at what our writers and readers have to say about Home Chef, it’s clear that this is a popular subscription that’s doing a lot right. The menu is large, the meals are enticing, the recipes are easy to follow, and the food is tasty. Additionally, the ability to customize recipes is an incredible feature of this subscription that opens up a lot of options for those who don’t love a particular protein or want to make a dish vegetarian by swapping in plant protein.
Not every dish is a winner, and there are sometimes issues with ingredients being damaged in transit, but overall, this subscription gets a thumbs up from our community of reviewers. Home Chef eases the burden of meal planning and offers delicious meals at an affordable price point. It works for cooks of varying skill levels and is hugely convenient. 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.
Ready to subscribe? Make sure to sign up using our coupon below to ensure you get the best deal.
You can try Home Chef for yourself here:
COUPON: Use code LD50 to 50% Off First Box.
Have you tried Home Chef? Head to the comments section and let us know!