Picture this: It’s dinner time (again) and you’re feeling uninspired by whatever’s in the fridge. It’s times like these when you might be wishing your past self had pulled the trigger on one of those meal kit delivery services you keep hearing about. But which one is the right one?
Blue Apron may be one of the first big brand names that comes to mind when considering meal kit options. It’s been around for almost a decade, and it maintains its legacy today as one of the most well-known names in the industry.
But how does it compare to its competitors, like Gobble, HelloFresh, and—our pick for Best Overall—Home Chef? I cooked two weeks’ worth of Blue Apron meals to find out how it measured up.
About Blue Apron
Similar to other meal kit services, Blue Apron has plenty of accommodations to fit different diets, lifestyles, and budgets. You can choose customizations like Wellness (curated by an in-house dietician), Vegetarian, Fast & Easy, Chef Favorites, and more. Then, you can decide to have anywhere from two to four meals delivered per week, plus include add-ons like wine pairings, breakfast, and more. There are also some Heat & Eat (pre-made meal) options every week, but those are minimal and tend to repeat themselves fairly often.
How much does Blue Apron cost?
Blue Apron works like other meal kit services: Pricing fluctuates depending on how much you order. For example, ordering two servings per week for two people will cost $11.99 per serving. But if you up the numbers to four meals for four people, each serving goes down to $7.99. There are also premium meal options that are great for special occasions spent at home, which typically contain premium ingredients (think Sweet Chili Duck & Mango Rice) and can cost anywhere from $17.99 to $20.99 per serving.
You can also choose to opt for a subscription that includes wine, which ships six bottles per month at $11 per bottle.
what i tried
Pesto Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes & Romano Cheese: This creamy, “Family Favorite” comfort food dish was full of flavor. I liked that the heaviness of the mascarpone pesto sauce was offset by the fresh tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and chopped scallions. And after sharing it with my own family, I can confirm its label is definitely appropriate.
Sheet Pan Miso-Ginger Salmon: This Fast & Easy recipe was great because it required very little clean-up, given its one-pan nature. There was lots of flavor in it as well, thanks to the inclusion of ingredients like miso paste, ginger, miren, and sambal oelek. Unfortunately, the salmon itself wasn’t the best I’d ever had; there was a white coloring to it that translated to a hyper-fishy flavor.
Baked Eggs & Sweet Potato Hash: This Wellness-approved recipe might have been one of my favorites from Blue Apron. It was addictively tasty, thanks to the provided spice blend, melty cheese, and generous veggie servings. I’d definitely make this again for a hearty brunch or cozy dinner.
Shawarma Chicken & Currant Rice: Another flavorful one, this dish made me feel like I had just ordered takeout. I loved the shawarma spice blend and simple-yet-delicious lemon mayo drizzle. I struggled with the texture of the crunchy rice part of the recipe (especially given that this step required me to wash another pan), but the rest was a win.
Stir-Fried Tofu & Vegetables: I was pleasantly surprised to find this fully vegan option on Blue Apron’s menu, which isn’t a weekly standard. (Blue Apron has several weekly vegetarian options, but most include dairy or eggs.) I loved the generous portions in this meal, especially coated in the spicy sesame-peanut sauce—and the leftovers were just as tasty the next day.
Mexican-Spiced Shrimp Bake: This meal would’ve gotten rave reviews from me—thanks to its accurate time estimate, delicious flavors, and quick clean-up—if Blue Apron hadn’t sent me the wrong pepper (Aloha instead of Poblano) , which meant I couldn’t enjoy the recipe as described.
Seared Steaks & Lemon-Caper Butter: I don’t cook with red meat very often, so I was excited to dig into this recipe and see how well the instructions guided me. The result was a steakhouse-grade meal (if I do say so myself), with wonderful flavor from the flavored butter and a complementary fresh arugula salad. My only complaint lies with the potatoes, which were tiny and resulted in sad-looking fries.
Crispy Skin Salmon: I definitely wasn’t surprised to read that this meal was a Chef Favorite. The flavors from the lemon-parsley sauce and veggie-filled farro were fresh, light, and flavorful. I’d definitely try to recreate it myself.
What I like about Blue Apron
There’s a great variety on the menu
When reviewing any meal kit service, I always want to make sure I’m ordering a diverse variety of ingredients and cultural flavors to get an accurate feel for the menu. So I filled up my weekly boxes with everything from wellness-approved vegan meals to chef-recommended steak and potatoes. I was excited to see that there were unique options with internationally inspired ingredients as well, for a variety of flavors that helped beat home-cooked boredom.
And although Blue Apron doesn’t offer a fully plant-based meal plan (unlike competitors like Sunbasket), there are great options for vegetarians, folks on the WW plan, and families of four.
All the recipes are tasty
I cooked with Blue Apron meals for two weeks straight, and in each one of those eight meals, I didn’t want to leave a bite behind.
Every recipe was tasty, and even though there were some hiccups along the way (we’ll get to that later), I never had an issue with flavor alone. Each week offers a diverse range of options, with flavors inspired from places like Europe and Asia to the American South. And the handy labels—like “Chef Favorite” and “Fast & Easy”—help more easily modify your search to fit your lifestyle.
Skipping or canceling is easy
An important part of any good subscription is flexibility. Sometimes you go away on vacation, don’t feel like cooking, or just want to take a break from meal kits for financial reasons. Blue Apron makes it pretty easy to pause, skip a week of meals, or cancel your plan altogether. The website does prompt you to explain why you’re canceling your plan, but you can always choose “other” if you prefer not to go into details. The process was fairly painless and took seconds to complete.
There are convenient add-ons
Not all meal kit companies provide the convenience of getting your dinner and wine from the same place. Blue Apron’s wine offerings are specifically designed to complement recipes on the menu, so you don’t have to think twice about which bottle to uncork while you’re cooking dinner.
The company also recently rolled out breakfast offerings, which can be added to weekly meals as add-ons. Options include Fried Egg & Prosciutto Sandwiches with Smoked Gouda & Calabrian Mayo and Sourdough French Toast with Cherry-Maple Syrup & Almonds. These are priced between $8.99 and $11.99 per serving, and are available on the Blue Apron menu bi-weekly. Each breakfast option has an estimated cooking time of 15 minutes, so you can even plan to whip these up on weekdays.
What I don’t like
The packaging isn’t ideal
The most confusing part of my experience with Blue Apron was its packaging. Each meal’s ingredients come in their own plastic bags, filled with the individually wrapped items—like spice packets, sauces, and small pieces of produce. But there were also stray ingredients outside of these bags, like heads of garlic, peppers, and potatoes, which made organizing supplies for each recipe a bit of a struggle. And when it came down to cooking and adding in pre-measured spices, the bags were tough to open—which often led to messy countertops.
I also noticed some unnecessary waste in Blue Apron’s packaging, like potatoes and a piece of ginger in their own separate bags, while things like sweet potatoes and zucchini were thrown in loosely. And although the company has recently pledged to become carbon neutral, some of these single-use items still seemed unnecessary.
Perhaps most concerningly, the roasted red peppers for the pesto pasta recipe arrived in a broken plastic container, which had me concerned about shards of hard plastic in the food.
The lack of organization
One of the first impressions of Blue Apron that I had for this review was a delayed shipment and confusing messaging. After setting up my account, I received an email on a Friday informing me that my first box would be a day late, arriving on Tuesday instead of my preferred Monday schedule.
When Tuesday came and went without a delivery from Blue Apron, I was confused, and thought about reaching out to customer service the following day. Instead, I received an email Wednesday morning at 12:45 am, informing me that the package would actually arrive later that day, and that the previous email was a mistake. I was never informed why there was so much confusion and delay.
When my box did arrive, some of the produce didn’t look fresh. The zucchini was a little mushy on the outside, and the scallions were slightly wilted. The following week’s order arrived fresh and on time, but there was an incorrect ingredient in the box: an Aloha pepper instead of Poblano for the Mexican-Spiced Shrimp Bake.
The time estimates aren’t always accurate
I’ll admit that I am someone who likes to take their time in the kitchen. Sometimes that’s because I like to savor the meditative nature of cooking—but in this case, I didn’t want to skip any steps in the provided strict and specific recipes. That said, the time estimates for Blue Apron were almost always about 10 minutes short. Sometimes they’d only go a couple of minutes over the range, but I never found myself finishing at the earlier end of the predicted timespan.
It’s possible that that’s just a I problem, but I imagine that a lot of meal kit customers might be new to the world of cooking and likely aren’t chopping veggies like Gordon Ramsay. So time predictions might be an issue for others, too.
Is Blue Apron worth it?
Yes, if you’re taking advantage of its unique offerings
Choosing the right meal kit to suit your budget, priorities, and diet can be tough. When it comes to Blue Apron, anyone looking for dietitian-approved meals, tasty recipes, and options for wine and breakfast would be very satisfied. The brand has remained relevant since the start of the meal kit craze for good reason: It offers great variety and satisfying flavors.
But if you’re looking for more plant-based meals, faster cooking times, or more pre-made meal options, you might want to consider other meal kit services. (There are plenty!)
Sign up for Blue Apron, starting at $8 per serving
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.