Do you ever find yourself at the supermarket wondering what to make for dinner, let alone for a week’s worth of meals? If you’re pressed for time or simply unsure of your way around the kitchen, the latest crop of meal delivery kits promises to save you time and get you cooking instead of calling for takeout. In the same time it takes you to pick a dish, pull up reviews on Yelp, place an order on Seamless, and wait for the delivery person to ring your doorbell, you could be playing chef and learning new recipes that you’d otherwise never try.
Mochi tested two popular services, Blue Apron and HelloFresh, and one up-and-coming standout, PeachDish, headquartered in Atlanta. All three offer curated weekly boxes (with meat, fish, and vegetarian options) that include fresh ingredients (all carefully divided and labeled), easy-to-follow recipes, and, occasionally, an extra treat unrelated to the recipe, like chocolate. They offer a helpful hand for the beginner cook, or even the seasoned chef in need of some guidance or inspiration.
Blue Apron is the cheapest of the three services we tried, averaging $8.74-$9.99 per serving. This popular service offers a standard two-person plan or a family four-person plan, as well as free shipping. They enforce a minimum delivery of three meals per week serving two people, or six total servings.
Each recipe includes helpful, step-by-step instructions and photos, as well as context behind a highlighted ingredient. The recipes are developed by Blue Apron’s guest chefs and culinary team so each week’s menu is a new experience. Recipes range from hits like sautéed shrimp sandwiches (loaded with tasty, saffron flavor, but didn’t include enough bread to complete the two servings) to misses like cumin-Sichuan beef & noodles (the pre-made cumin sauce was too sour and the beef was thick and rubbery).
One important factor to consider is that the portion sizes for Blue Apron meals are on the smaller side, so don’t expect leftovers. Although the ingredients were fresh, some of the recipes didn’t always work out flavor-wise. Fortunately, there is no minimum subscription length, so it is easy to test out the service.
Verdict: Blue Apron is worth trying if you’re looking to cook for one rather than a whole crowd. Another plus? You get to pick your delivery dates and times, so you won’t miss a box and waste any food.
HelloFresh, which started in Germany and then expanded to Western Europe and the United States, is currently the largest meal delivery company internationally. Their meals cost between $9.08 and $10.75 per serving and are also shipped for free to most states in the U.S., with no minimum subscription length.
Developed by chefs, HelloFresh recipes are unique (the team aims to reveal new recipes each week) and tend to be seasonal and memorable. The crispy chicken biryani and curry-roasted acorn squash and kale salad were more involved (rated a Level 2 difficulty), but particularly rewarding and delicious. Our HelloFresh meals yielded more leftovers than Blue Apron meals—a great bonus for lunch the next day!
When looking into HelloFresh, something to take note of is their delivery schedule. Unlike Blue Apron’s options to choose delivery dates, HelloFresh delivers boxes for all customers from Wednesdays to Fridays, but only in certain areas on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Verdict: HelloFresh is a well-rounded option for both individuals and groups. With chefs and registered dietitians on staff, you know you’ll get real recipes that have been thoroughly reviewed before delivery.
PeachDish is a standout delivery service that focuses on fresh, local ingredients. With meals that range from $10 to $12.50 per serving, their pricing is slightly higher, especially with a $7-$25 shipping fee, though shipping is free for regular subscribers. This service has a four serving minimum per order, which must be placed by midnight the Sunday before the next delivery.
PeachDish offers recipes for mouthwatering comfort food options like pork and apple-stuffed collard greens and Nancie McDermott’s chicken and sausage gumbo, Cajun-style, and yielded plenty of servings in our test drive. We tried the beef medallions with roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed green beans and the curried chicken breasts with bok choy and basmati rice, both of which were simple to make, easy to tweak if desired, and packed with flavor.
One noteworthy feature is the beer and wine pairings that complement each week’s menu—a thoughtful touch that characterizes PeachDish’s approach to its service.
Verdict: For a taste of Southern cuisine, you can’t go wrong with PeachDish. Although recipes can be a bit salty, they’re easy to modify. Each box comes with plenty of food and then some, with extra treats like seasonal fruit and chocolate squares.
Last modified: January 12, 2016