In the Kitchen: Blue Apron vs. Home Chef

Dinner kit delivery services are all over my facebook feed – there are tons of different companies offering the service.

I’ve now tried two of the biggest ones – Blue Apron (what I tried first), and Home Chef (what I currently use). Since I’ve mentioned them both in my monthly recaps, I wanted to give an overview of what I thought of them in general, and the two companies in particular.

Blue Apron vs Home Chef

Overall Impressions and Usefulness

Despite feeling like I should be able to handle the dinner routine without help, it is a STRUGGLE for me many nights. Kids losing their minds right when I need to be in the kitchen, lack of energy to think of things to cook, needing to get to the store (and trying to avoid taking 3 kids there because that is misery for me): it all adds up to dinner being one of my biggest challenges right now.

So I decided to try the meal delivery boxes and see if it helped.

Turns out the meal-in-box really is helpful. Yes, I still had to cook, but having things pre-measured and the recipe right there, and all the ingredients right there = so much easier. Some of the recipes were SO GOOD too, and it helped me get out of the cooking rut I was in. I tried new techniques and ingredients, and that was awesome.

Blue Apron

Blue Apron

What I didn’t like with Blue Apron was their ordering setup. They supposedly have 6 meals to choose from each week. Except you can’t really pick from 6 meals: invariably they’ve got it set up where if you pick one meal, it won’t allow you to pick one or two other ones.

A couple of times I went ahead and ordered a box, and “settled” on a meal I didn’t really want. Invariably those meals I ended up not really liking, and I’m done doing that. When the meals sound like ones I like, I always have liked them, but I’m a picky enough eater that selecting within their restrictions didn’t work for me. (I don’t even think I’m that picky – it was things like I don’t eat shrimp – but when you combine it with their required groupings, it was an issue.) If you will eat anything, you would probably have no issues with Blue Apron, and when I liked their meals I did really like them.

Home Chef

Home Chef

After becoming frustrated with Blue Chef’s ordering restrictions, I discovered Home Chef, and I haven’t looked back. They have more menu options each week, and they let me order anything. No restrictions on combining this-with-that. I love it! They even include a breakfast option each week as well as a fruit basket and smoothie. I have tried the smoothie once, but haven’t ever gotten the fruit basket or breakfast meal.

Unlike with Blue Apron, Home Chef’s meal prices can vary. The smoothies and fruit basket are a lower price, and occasionally they include a “premium” meal that’s a higher price. For Valentines day they had a fancier steak dinner with dessert as an option. They also seem to have other meals that to tie into holidays better – grill-friendly options for Memorial Day and Fourth of July, an April Fools’ Day dessert, etc.

Other comparisons between them

Home Chef prints their recipe cards in a landscape orientation, and Blue Apron uses portrait. I really prefer portrait, but not enough to switch back to Blue Apron.

Home Chef usually bags the ingredients for each meal together in the box, and labels it. Blue Apron has it all in the box, but you have to sort it. Every once in awhile Home Chef has something not in the bag, but it’s always been really obvious – like a head of cauliflower or something similar. Meats are always separate as well. Home Chef’s method is quicker for me both in unpacking the box, and when it comes time to grab the ingredients for dinner. However, Blue Apron’s method is better for not inadvertently refrigerating things that shouldn’t be refrigerated. (Ask me how I know).

Blue Apron ingredients

Available delivery dates vary for each company, so you may find that one or the other one will deliver on a better day for you.

Blue Apron’s instructions are better for really beginner cooks. They explicitly say things like “while you are doing this, start this” or “when this has cooked for this many minutes, start that.” Home Chef has good instructions, but if you’re not used to multitasking, or figuring out when to start one thing to time it correctly with another item, it doesn’t make it as easy as Blue Apron did. If I was wanting to use this as a cooking class for older kids, I’d pick Blue Apron for them.

Giving Them a Try

If either of these sound appealing to you, and you’re interested in trying one or both, I have discount codes available. For Blue Apron I have to know your email address to send it to you (it’ll get you 3 free meals), so you can email me at sheila(at)deliberatereader.com and ask for the referral link. I have one for the first five people who request it. Home Chef will give you $30 off your first box if you use this link (and heads-up, I’ll get $30 credit too).

Both of them have been very easy to cancel deliveries – and both of them publish their delivery schedule far enough in advance that it hasn’t been a problem doing that. I have it on my calendar to remind me to check my deliveries so I don’t get any that I don’t want. While I initially got a box a little more frequently, right now I’m getting a delivery about every 3 weeks. It’s enough to provide new meals to try (and get a very welcome break from menu planning and shopping) without being overwhelming.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Comments

  1. Sheila, I want a Blue Apron code if you still have one, and so long as it can wait a couple weeks to be used. We’ll be out of town next week and I don’t know how much internet access I’ll even have to try and stop a delivery. BUT I really could use a break in the kitchen!

    • I sent it this morning. And as far as I know it can wait as long as you want for it to be used, or you can sign up this week and suspend any deliveries you don’t want right away, not counting on internet access next week.

      Also, if you’re going to be on vacation, I got a box the week I got back from my recent Florida trip – it was SO NICE having that right away after travel – running to the store for perishables and a few lunch items is so much quicker and easier than going for a full shop, and I told myself that from now on I was always going to look into that for my first week post-vacation. Since vacationing with kids is often no vacation at all. 😉

      • I got it, thank you!

        And yes, if I have time, I’m going to order it to be here the week we get back sometime, because that sounds LOVELY.

        And vacation with kids…oy. Plus it’s a family reunion, so it’s not like it’s a lay-around-reading-on-the-beach vacation to begin with. But it should be fun!

        • So I set Blue Apron up to deliver the Tuesday after we get back. For free! Thank you! And the weeks it was showing, it let me click around and pick any two, or at least, the two I wanted, so maybe they’ve changed that? We’ll see how it is, but at least now I know I’ll have two meals taken care of that first week we’re back!

          • That’s great – and maybe they have changed it? I checked when I drafted the post, and it was still blocking me from picking the meals I’d really want, but that was at the end of last week when I checked. That would be so nice if they did stop that – it really was my main issue with them, and I’d give them a closer look again if I could truly pick my meals from all of their choices. 🙂

            Don’t forget to keep an eye on the future delivery schedule so you can opt-out for any you don’t want. They make it easy to do so, but you do have to actually do so. Ask me how I know. haha.

          • Ha, yeah. I opted out of the next couple weeks after that, but I’ll need to remember to keep opting out or canceling.

            For the next two deliveries that I played with, at least, it let you select any combination of the four meals. I have the two-meal Family Plan. I mean, it let me pick seafood and lamb for sure, and I would guess those are the two most expensive ones. Maybe it varies by week, or maybe they just did an update.

  2. I’ve tried Blue Apron and didn’t like it for just the reasons you mentioned. Plus both times I got it, it was missing ingredients. One time a very important ingredient. Plus, I got a bad potato. Was so disgusted, sent them an email. No response. So I canceled. Maybe I’ll try Home Chef. I love trying new things.

    • Oh that would be frustrating! I had issues with tomatoes with them, but I always had extra tomatoes on hand (and I do realize tomatoes are so delicate it’s hard to ship them) so it never ruined a meal. I would have been so irritated if it had been missing an important ingredient, and then to not respond!

      You actually reminded me that my first or second box with Home Chef there ended up being an issue – they’d had an error in the smoothie recipe and contacted everyone who had ordered the smoothie. We all got credit for that amount on our account. I hadn’t even made the smoothie yet so I could make the correction and not ruin the recipe but I still got the credit. That was nice!

  3. Alison S. says:

    I’m curious about Home Chef if they deliver in my area (Blue Apron doesn’t). How much do their meals run? I couldn’t find out easily on their website without signing up. I like the idea of using a service like this to bring some new life to our normal meal rotation.

    • I’m not sure if it varies geographically, but at least for me (in Indiana) most of the meals are $9.95 a serving. The premium meals have been $14.95 or $19.95 a serving (and those are clearly marked, so you don’t end up getting them without realizing you’ve requested a pricier meal).

Leave a Comment

*