Home Chef vs Blue Apron vs Plated vs Hello Fresh

Bright Williams
Updated 9:34 pm ET, May 30, 2017
Home Chef Logo

Since 2012 Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated have pampered their patrons with food delivered right to their doorstep. In 2013 Home Chef came onto the scene, offering similar services. Each of these companies sends their subscribers one box each week, filled with fresh ingredients needed to make chef-designed recipes. An exorbitant amount of time is saved each week, since these companies eliminate grocery shopping, finding new recipes, meal planning, and portioning.


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Getting Started

Enrolling in the service couldn’t be simpler. The first screen asks whether you like meat, seafood, or vegetables (you can select more than one, thankfully). You’re also asked whether you’d like to avoid certain ingredients, such as nuts, soy, and gluten. You can also select preferences for low-carb or low-calorie recipes.

 Home Chef offers a lot of plan variants: anywhere from two to six meals per week, for two, four, or six people. Pricing is straightforward; you pay $9.95 per meal for whichever plan you choose. Shipping is free for orders over $45 a week, but only the very slimmest plan (two meals for two people, the one I chose) winds up costing less than $45. Shipping is $10 per week for that plan, so I added a smoothie ($4.95 each serving) and got free shipping.

Other add-on options are breakfast ($9.95 per serving) and a seasonal fruit basket ($4.95 per serving). There are sometimes “premium” meals available that are priced according to the market. It’s fun to have those extra choices, but bear in mind once you pick them, add-ons are automatically included each week, unless you deselect them on your account page.

You then pick a delivery day from three choices, either Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, which represents fewer options than the other services I’ve tried. Afterward, you give up your billing information.

You then move on to the fun part: choosing meals. Home Chef recommends meals, but you can swap them out for any other meals that are on the menu for that week. Click on the meal’s module and you’ll see the recipe card with the recipe, video-based cooking tips, and what you’ll need to supply at home. I tried Swiss and Asparagus Stuffed Chicken and Bone-In Pork Chop with Smoky Maple Butter for my first week.

The Home Chef Experience
The boxes all arrived on my chosen day. There’s a lot of packaging—insulation, cold gel packs, and cardboard—as with most of the other services. Home Chef uses “recycled cotton-enhanced, textile fibers” as an insulator. Plated$48.00 at Plated uses jute as an insulator; both seem to be better eco-options than inflated plastic or styrofoam. Of course, the insulation and cooling is necessary to keep your ingredients fresh in transit and while it waits for you to get home. Everything was well packed and cold when I opened the boxes.

Home Chef

Ingredients for each separate meal are in bags, which makes it easy to pull together what you need before you cook. Blue Apron$59.94 at Blue Apron is the only service that doesn’t separate ingredients per meal, which uses less packaging, but is a bit tedious to deal with.

The recipes were mainly clear and easy to follow, with colorful photos to help you along. I’ve been cooking for years, but if you’re a brand-new chef, you’ll need to study up on how to mince, as opposed to chop coarsely, and the difference between boiling and simmering.

Once in a while, I hit a wall when prepping a meal. For example, a recipe for quick-braised salmon said to check the internal temperature of the fish, but there was no mention of that in the preparation tips, so anyone without a cooking thermometer will be out of luck. I’d recommend thoroughly reading each recipe before starting to cook. And I couldn’t always achieve the look on the recipe cards; my stuffed chicken fell apart immediately, but still tasted fine. Overall, the food I made was simple, but tasty. (Broccoli Mash sounds awful, but was one of my favorite dishes.) As with the other services, portions are generous, so if you like leftovers, you’re in luck.

Home Chef

Canceling the service was as simple as “pausing” my account online. I have the option of reactivating it any time, too. I’ve received the occasional email to remind me of that, but it’s not at all excessive.

Help and Extras
The FAQ on Home Chef’s website is a little sparser than other services, but it answered my questions. The contact page lets you email a question or problem, and there’s also a phone number that’s open during business hours.

Home Chef

Home Chef’s blog, The Table, offers recipes, resources, and stories about food, such as A Brief History of Al Fresco Dining, Killer Tailgate Treats for the Big Games, and The Facts About Food Waste. That’s also where you’ll find a few specifics on how to recycle packaging.

Home Chef is less flashy than other services—you won’t find much chatter about locally sourced food, recycling options, or global cuisine. But it delivers on its simple, homey promise: “Home Chef saves time, reduces food waste, and most importantly, brings people together around the dinner table.” You’ll also learn some handy techniques and garner good, reusable recipes, as each of these services provides, and I liked the ability to add smoothies or fruit baskets to my order. Blue Apron is still our Editors’ Choice in this category, for its great tutoring, careful packaging, ease of use, and tasty meals.


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The Basics


  • All Home Chef meals are priced at $9.95 per serving.
  • Delivery is free for orders over $40, and they don’t charge sales tax. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $40.
  • Select any number of dinner meals (offers 10) for 2, 4, or 6 people.
  • Additional offers: one breakfast ($9.95/serving), one smoothie ($4.95/serving) or one fruit basket ($4.95/serving)
  • They offer many promotions in magazines, on Facebook or search “Home Chef” promo codes online. I got my first box for $29.70 for two people with a 50% off coupon.
  • Active subscribers have access to a referral program, where you can earn credit for every referral that signs up with Home Chef. Both you and your reference will receive a $30 credit.


  • They currently deliver to 60% of the United States and do no specify exactly where.
  • Sends weekly deliveries Tuesday through Friday.
  • You can select the day of week that’s most convenient for you.
  • Delivery day options will vary according to where you live.
  • You can skip weeks according to your availability or interest in the menu.


  • 10 dinner recipes offered, choose any that you want.
  • They will offer suggestions based on your preferences but you can remove those from your cart very easily.
  • Additional offers: one breakfast ($9.95/serving), one smoothie ($4.95/serving) or one fruit basket ($4.95/serving)
  • Create a Diet Profile: Omnivore, Meat, Seafood, Pescatarian, Vegetarian and Vegan
  • Identify dietary preferences: ingredients to avoid, low-calorie or low-carb meals
  • Offers subscriptions for gluten-free and dairy-free also

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