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.
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.
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.
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).
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!