Blue Apron vs. HelloFresh: I Tried Both Meal Kits and One Is Actually Worth the Price

published Apr 2, 2024
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Blue Apron farro and chicken next to Hello Fresh tagine
Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Some weeks (ahem, most weeks), I just don’t want to decide what to eat at every meal. Researchers at Cornell University have estimated we make about 225 food-related decisions a day. That’s simply way too many, I think! If I could off-sell just some of these tasks to someone, anyone, trust me — the job would go to the lowest bidder. 

Thankfully, this is somewhat a reality I can test out, with all the different exciting meal kits that can be delivered to my front door. Don’t you love the future?

In an effort to cut down on at least a few dozen of those daily food decisions, I decided to test out meal kits from both Blue Apron and HelloFresh. It was a real duel for the ages, with many questions to consider: Would they be as delicious (or more) than my own kitchen creations? Could they save me money, time, and dishwashing elbow grease? Here’s how this showdown shook out.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson


For each meal kit, I opted to try three different recipes (two servings each). The total price of both shook out as follows:

Blue Apron Meal Kit: $76.93 ($10.99 per serving plus $10.99 for shipping)
HelloFresh Meal Kit: $70.93 ($9.99 per serving plus $10.99 for shipping)

From these base offerings, you can opt in for more upgraded options, such as Blue Apron’s “Craft” or “Premium”-marked recipes, which add between $6.99 to $14.99 per serving, or HelloFresh’s “Premium Picks,” which add between $1.99 to $9.99 per serving. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Recipe Variety

HelloFresh boasts 100+ recipes per week (reality check: I clocked 44 for the week of April 1), while Blue Apron offers about 80+ recipes to choose from (reality check: I clocked 16 for the same week), with a wide variety of proteins and sides. Both services also offer recipes with options to switch out the protein or side.

For my kits, I went with the following recipes: 

Blue Apron


One thing to note for the gluten-averse out there (waving my hand here): Both Blue Apron and HelloFresh have limited gluten-free options, which is a bummer for those of us with gluten sensitivities. Some recipes had no gluten-containing ingredients, although they weren’t labeled gluten-free. You can also swap in your own gluten-free ingredients — breadcrumbs, bread rolls, and flour — in some of the meal options I tried. Note: It’s very possible some meal ingredients and components were made in a gluten-containing facility. Similarly, there aren’t any noted vegan recipes on Blue Apron (only vegetarian), but there are often a few vegan recipes on HelloFresh in addition to vegetarian options. 


Each service allows you to add on extra meals, but also a fun assortment of other fridge-fillers. HelloFresh, for one, has more add-ons than I was expecting, like GoodChop meat and seafood boxes, dog food from Pet’s Table, prepared meals, charcuterie boards, and breakfast and lunch kits.

Blue Apron offers slightly fewer add-ons, more so things to fill out your original weekly meals, like appetizer and side kits, extra proteins, and desserts, as well as prepared meals. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Meal Quality & Ease

The very first thing I ask myself is would I make this again? Meal kits really earn their space in my fridge when the recipes are easy enough that I am excited to make them again. I’ve got binders full of recipes I’ve tried and loved, recreating and riffing on them over and over again. I also pay attention to recipe pacing, noticing if I’d wished a step came earlier or later (depending on what other process is going on), and how warm the resulting meal is at dinner time. 

I also give major props to a meal kit if it teaches me something, like a new technique or way to prepare an ingredient. My last marker of quality? I call it the Tiny Bowl Test. Did this recipe force me to use too many tiny bowls to separate/mix/marinate various ingredients? Yeah? Well, that’s cause for some points off. I even kept a checklist of tiny bowls per recipe to see how each meal kit stacked up in my sink. (I don’t have a dishwasher!) 

With all that in mind, let’s talk taste: If it’s easy, teaches us something, uses minimal tiny bowls, but doesn’t taste good, then what’s the point, right? In terms of flavor, both kits delivered medal-worthy meals: Blue Apron’s Pesto Farro Bowls and HelloFresh’s Apricot, Almond & Chickpea Tagine. They were simple, tasty, and more complex than I anticipated. I’d gladly make them over and over again!

Both HelloFresh and Blue Apron have a similar level of ease, which I call “can do it while holding a conversation.” I actually made a few of these recipes while carrying full-on conversations with the friends I was cooking for. So if you’ve got many distractions (kids, a barking dog, a buzzing phone), are short on time and multitasking, or simply a sociable cook, both would be great options. Each kit was also accommodating to those nights you’re making dinner and don’t want to (or can’t) babysit your dish. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Final Thoughts

Each kit had its pros and cons. When it came to recipe pacing, Blue Apron’s meals were much easier to complete — each component stayed the same temperature at serving time, while HelloFresh’s pacing often meant one component of the meal was not as warm as desired (like the mashed potatoes for the Crispy Buffalo-Spiced Chicken). Blue Apron also won out majorly with the variety of produce each recipe included — it’s a literal garden variety of options. Conversely, I found the sides for my HelloFresh meals to be a bit “same-y” and wished there was slightly more variety outside of carrots and potatoes. 

Sign up: Blue Apron

For being a “Premium” option, Blue Apron’s Seared Scallops in Creamy Tomato Sauce was my least favorite recipe of the kits. I was expecting a much more complex dish based on the ingredients (Verjus Blanc, marinated Cipollini onions, a mirepoix), but much of those got lost in the heavy cream. Blue Apron also did not win the Tiny Bowl Test, with many recipes needing between three to seven tiny bowls each (HelloFresh only needed one to two tiny bowls).

All in all, I’d call HelloFresh the winner, but it’s a close one. HelloFresh has more dishes I’d be likely to recreate, with a mix of comfort food (Cheddar-Stuffed Meatloaves) and more complex options (Apricot, Almond & Chickpea Tagine). For what I like to make throughout the week, this mix felt like it matched my current needs. 

Sign up: HelloFresh

That being said, both kits taught me something new, which inevitably brought them to the close tie. Blue Apron actually got me to like mushrooms (thanks, Seared Steak with Mushroom Agrodolce!), while HelloFresh changed how I’ll make my rice (with onion and stock), plus it taught me how to make the frizzled crispy shallots I want to put on everything.

Blue Apron is “date-night”-capable, while HelloFresh is more family- and picky eater-friendly. They’re both great, but likely fulfill a different niche based on your household, style, and the people you’re eating with. I could see myself alternating between the two, depending on what I’ve got going on throughout the month. 

Have you tried Blue Apron or HelloFresh? Tell us about it in the comments below.