This post is sponsored by Blue Apron.
My family is a curious bunch, and we decided to discover for ourselves the best meal delivery service out there. We have been Blue Apron customers for a couple of years now, and wanted to try some competitors to see if we were missing out on something better. Over the course of 2 weeks, we tried 5 different meal delivery services and have the pros and cons of each one laid out below. If you’ve been curious about the best meal delivery services too, here’s a deal especially for you: the first 50 readers will get $30 off their first Blue Apron order! Just click here.
Blue Apron’s Best Meal Delivery Service
Pros: The recipes teach new techniques and introduce new ingredients — and they include fun facts and interesting tidbits of info right on the recipe card. Another plus? The box came with the least packaging of any of the 5 meal delivery services we tried. You might also appreciate the wine pairing recommendations that come with each recipe.
Cons: The ingredients take a bit longer to organize than other boxes. Each ingredient is labeled, but you don’t know which recipe it goes with until you study the recipe cards.
Summary: Chefs in training around the world wear blue aprons. It’s a symbol of life long learning in cooking. I love that. And I really feel that way when I cook with Blue Apron’s meal delivery service. It’s like getting a cooking lesson from world-renowned chefs.
We made the Chicken Sandwiches with Buttermilk Dressing and Roasted Carrot Fries. It was super yummy and my kids asked me to keep the recipe so we could make it again. My kids love raw carrots but sometimes turn their noses up at cooked carrots — the texture can be so mushy. I was skeptical that they would eat the carrot fries, but they LOVED them. Being able to dip them in the homemade “ranch” dressing helped too.
Hello Fresh’s Best Meal Delivery Service
Pros: Each box comes with one meatless meal (so if you’re trying to go meatless, this helps). And the packaging is especially charming.
Cons: The recipes didn’t feature anything new or adventurous. The promise was no-prep or easy prep, but it didn’t quite deliver. On one recipe, there was very little prep, but on the second one, we needed to chop the onion, potatoes, carrots and rosemary.
Summary: The recipe we tried was the Herb-Roasted Chicken Dinner with Carrots, Potatoes, and a Pecan Cranberry Salad. It was delicious, but ultimately pretty basic. Hello Fresh is focused on easy meals that can be prepped quickly — they promise 30 minutes or less. That, combined with the familiar flavors, makes me conclude this meal delivery service might be good for those with small children or picky kids.
Sunbasket’s Meal Delivery Service
Pros: The recipe we tried was labeled Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free and Spicy. It was the first bean-less chili I’ve tried.
Cons: To cut down on the spiciness, we didn’t use some of the ingredients, but it was still really spicy. I felt bad wasting some of the food that came in the box — like 2 large poblanos.
Summary: At Sun Basket, the focus seems to be on healthy eating — with the word “healthy” being defined however you like (paleo, gluten-free, etc.). If you have certain dietary restrictions, this service might be the best fit for you.
We tried the Chorizo and Tomatillo Chili With Coconut and Lime. We thought it was delicious (and were glad we cut out some of the spiciest ingredients, because it was still plenty spicy for our taste buds). Something different about Sun Basket is that instead of recipe cards, the box comes with a 24-page recipe book for that week with 16 recipes. We only needed 2 of the recipes in that book, so it felt like kind of a waste to me.
Plated’s Meal Delivery Service
Pros: The instruction sheet included a list of things you’ll need that don’t come in the box. In our case it was canola oil, salt, pepper, aluminum foil, 1 pot, and 2 pans.
Cons: The recipe used two frying pans and a pot. That’s a lot of cleanup for one recipe.
To me, Plated seemed like the most direct meal delivery service competitor with Blue Apron. The recipes felt more unusual and require similar amounts of prep. I would say Plated is aimed at foodies or adventurous eaters.
We made the Beef Rendang with Lemongrass, Thai Lime, and Yellow Rice. It was delicious, and did a great job replicating the Thai Curry taste we love and have had a hard time recreating at home. But I felt like trying to make the recipe again on our own would be difficult — some of the ingredients seemed hard to find or a bit mysterious like the packet of spice for the rice, and the curry paste. I wouldn’t know exactly what to look for if I wanted to shop for those items.
Home Chef’s Meal Delivery Service
Pros: Your first box comes with a 3-ring binder to keep your recipe cards, and nutrition and calorie info is included right on the recipe card.
Cons: You can choose from 11 meal options each week. This might seem like a plus, but for me it’s a minus. I don’t want to have to make a lot of decisions. And when I do have to choose, I tend to pick whatever recipes look “safest.”
Summary: The recipe we tried was Oktoberfest Pork Medallions with Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts. No complaints on the flavors or ingredients — my kids love Brussels sprouts and they love potatoes. I knew this recipe would be a winner with my family just by glancing at the title. But that also means, it’s something we’ve made before. Or if not this exactly, a version of this. It felt very familiar.
Which Is The Best Meal Delivery Service?
Ultimately, I’m a big fan of meal delivery services overall. For me, one of the biggest benefits continues to be that the decision-making and planning and shopping is done for you. You get a home cooked meal, and it just feels better and tastes better than another night of take out. I confess, when we cook at home (without a delivery box), we tend to focus on one main course — like spaghetti bolognese — with no extras or sides. So I love that these dinner kits offer everything you need to create a complete, balanced meal.
So which one was the best meal delivery service? For us, Blue Apron came out on top. The ingredients are high quality, the recipes are thoughtfully designed, and I love that it continually pushes us to try new foods, new flavors and new cooking techniques. Some of their recipes we fall in love with, others we don’t, but no matter what, we learn something new with Blue Apron.
Want to give it a try? The first 50 readers will get $30 off on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here.
Now it’s your turn. Have you tried any of these dinner kits? What’s your opinion on the best meal delivery service? Do you have a favorite from among these? Or perhaps another company I haven’t tried yet? I’d love to hear.