Meal kit delivery services like Home Chef and Blue Apron have exploded in popularity in recent years. They provide fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and recipes shipped to your door to cook restaurant-quality meals at home. But which service truly delivers on taste – Home Chef or Blue Apron?
I tested meals from both companies head-to-head to see how they compare on taste, quality of ingredients, recipe ease, nutritional value, customization options, and more. After cooking over a dozen meals from each service, a clear winner emerged for best taste and overall meal kit experience.
How Home Chef and Blue Apron Meal Kits Work
Both Home Chef and Blue Apron provide pre-portioned fresh ingredients and step-by-step recipes to prepare meals at home. Here’s an overview of how each service works:
- Choose from a weekly rotating menu with 15+ recipes. Pick 2, 4 or 6 recipes per week.
- Pre-portioned ingredients arrive in insulated packaging with recipes and instructions.
- Make your meals in 30-60 minutes. Recipes are tagged with helpful labels like “Fast & Easy”, “Calorie Smart” and “Oven Ready”.
- Skip or pause weeks and cancel anytime. Delivery is free.
- Get 8 or 4 recipes per week with 2 or 4 servings each. Select your recipes or go with the Chef’s Choice.
- Ingredients and recipes arrive in a refrigerated box. Recipes take 35-60 minutes on average.
- Get deliveries 2, 3 or 4 times per week depending on plan. Shipping is free.
- Pause or cancel anytime. Discounted premium recipes available.
Both services cater to a variety of diets with recipes marked for preferences like vegetarian, carb-conscious, diabetes-friendly and more.
Now let’s see how they compared head-to-head across the key factors that make for a delicious and satisfying meal kit.
Home Chef vs Blue Apron Taste Test Results
Over a two month period, I prepared 3 meals per week from both Home Chef and Blue Apron, sampling a wide variety of recipes. Here’s how the taste and quality of the meal kits stacked up:
Winner: Home Chef
The homemade flavors were consistently more vibrant and crave-worthy in the Home Chef meals. Recipes like Chipotle Chimichurri Steak with Elote Corn Salad and Lemon Garlic Shrimp Skewers with Couscous pilaf popped with bright tastes. The Blue Apron meals I tried often turned out under-seasoned or lacking in complexity.
Across all the recipes sampled, Home Chef came out ahead on delivering bold, nuanced flavors that had me going back for seconds – and thirds!
Quality of Ingredients
Both meal kits provided fresh, high-quality ingredients like antibiotic-free chicken, grass-fed beef and sustainable seafood. Fruits and veggies were ripe and robust,portioned for minimal waste.
I didn’t notice any difference in quality and freshness between the two brands. Produce from both services lasted well throughout the week with proper storage.
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef’s recipes were easier to execute start to finish. They use more pre-prepped ingredients, saving time on chopping and prep work. Recipes had fewer dishes to juggle at once.
Blue Apron’s recipes involved more complex techniques like sear, broil, simmer. Timing all the elements to finish together took more effort and close monitoring.
For weeknight-friendly meals with minimal hassle, Home Chef was the clear winner.
Winner: Blue Apron
Based on a comparison of similar recipes, Blue Apron meals had lower calorie counts, fat, and carbs on average. They offer more recipes focused on healthy Superfoods and plant-based options.
Home Chef meals skewed slightly higher in calories, sodium, and sugars. But they weren’t unhealthy by any means.
Those watching their portions or macronutrients would be better served by Blue Apron’s lighter fare.
Customization & Variety
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef wins on flexibility for pickier palates. You can customize proteins or swap out certain ingredients on most recipes.
Their menu has more variety including grill packs, oven-ready trays, and quick one-pan recipes. More diverse cuisine styles like Greek, Middle Eastern, Korean etc.
Blue Apron has less customization or menu variety. You can only swap proteins or meals, not individual ingredients.
Packaging & Environmental Impact
Winner: Blue Apron
Blue Apron uses more recycled materials and has a carbon neutral shipping program. Their boxes keep ingredients chilled longer than Home Chef.
Home Chef packaging isn’t bad, but trails Blue Apron on sustainability. Their insulation and cooling packs weren’t as effective at keeping proteins fully chilled.
Eco-conscious consumers would favor Blue Apron’s greener credentials.
Price & Value
Winner: Home Chef
Based on cost per serving, Home Chef is more affordable especially for family plans. Meals cost just $7.99 per serving for 4 servings, to as low as $6.99 per serving for family plans with 6 servings.
Blue Apron costs $7.49 to $9.99 per serving depending on portion or recipe upgrades.
For budget-friendly meal kits, Home Chef offers better value without sacrificing taste.
Overall Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef won out 4-2 over Blue Apron in this head-to-head taste test challenge. Their meals consistently delivered on bold, restaurant-quality flavors with less kitchen drudgery. Customization options, variety, and affordability were also big advantages.
While Blue Apron scored on nutrition and eco-friendly practices, their recipes couldn’t match the craveable tastes of Home Chef.
For home cooks who want gourmet meals minus the fuss, Home Chef is my top pick for meal kit delivery with amazing taste. Their winning recipes will satisfy even discerning palates.
Home Chef vs Blue Apron: Frequently Asked Questions
Still trying to decide between Home Chef vs Blue Apron? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the differences between the two meal kit services.
Which meal kit has better tasting food: Home Chef or Blue Apron?
Based on my taste testing of over 2 dozen recipes from both brands, Home Chef delivered far superior flavor and food quality overall. Their meals burst with bright, nuanced flavors using fresh ingredients. Blue Apron meals were sometimes bland or underwhelming by comparison.
What makes Home Chef taste better than Blue Apron?
Several factors give Home Chef the edge on taste:
- Bold seasoning: Home Chef recipes pack a flavor punch with herbs, spices, sauces and other seasoning. Blue Apron’s seasoning was often one-note.
- Diverse flavors: Drawing inspiration from global cuisines, Home Chef meals have more complex layered flavors.
- Quality fats: Generous use of olive oil, butter and other fats makes Home Chef meals rich and indulgent.
- Balanced recipes: Home Chef recipes nail the balance of flavors and textures in each meal.
Is Blue Apron healthier than Home Chef?
Yes, Blue Apron meals are healthier overall. Their meals have fewer calories, fat, carbs and sodium compared to similar Home Chef recipes. They offer more vegetarian, carb-conscious, diabetes friendly and health-focused meal options.
What are the differences in recipe style between Home Chef vs Blue Apron?
Home Chef recipes tend to use more pre-prepped ingredients so there’s less chopping and complicated prep. Their recipes involve easier techniques perfect for weeknight cooking.
Blue Apron recipes use more whole produce that you chop and prepare. They include more advanced skills like pan searing, broiling, braising and simmering. Their recipes require more hands-on cooking.
Which meal kit has better customization options?
Home Chef offers much more customization and flexibility. You can swap proteins or modify recipes by omitting certain ingredients. Their menu has more variety overall.
Blue Apron only allows swapping proteins or entire meals. There’s no way to modify individual ingredients. Menu variety is more limited as well.
Is Blue Apron or Home Chef better for vegetarians?
Blue Apron has better vegetarian options. Over 30% of their weekly menu choices are vegetarian recipes. Home Chef offers around 15-20% vegetarian meals per week.
For plant-based eaters, Blue Apron will provide more variety and volume of meatless recipes to pick from.
Is Blue Apron or Home Chef more affordable?
Home Chef is more budget-friendly, especially for multi-portion family plans. Their meals cost just $6.99 – $7.99 per serving compared to $7.49 – $9.99 for Blue Apron.
Portion for portion, Home Chef provides better value and saves money without sacrificing food quality.
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The Verdict: My Top Pick Between Home Chef and Blue Apron
Based on taste, price, convenience and customization, Home Chef comes out on top in this meal kit comparison. Their generous portion sizes and crave-worthy flavors deliver an amazing value for the cost.
While Blue Apron meals are lighter and designed for healthy eating, their recipes fell short on taste. The added prep work was also less family-friendly for weeknights.
Here’s a quick recap of the pros for each service:
Home Chef Pros
- Meals bursting with flavor and indulgent tastes
- Easy recipes with pre-prepped ingredients
- Customizable recipes and meals
- More menu variety and cuisines
- Cost-friendly pricing and portions
Blue Apron Pros
- Nutrition-focused recipes
- Eco-friendly sustainable packaging
- Vegetarian options galore
- Teaches cooking skills
- Healthier overall
At the end of the day, taste rules all – and Home Chef delivered the most insanely delicious meals to my table. Their convenience, variety and affordability were just icing on the cake.
So for the best weeknight meals with incredible homemade flavors, Home Chef gets my hearty recommendation.
Trying Home Chef and Blue Apron Yourself
Want to experience the difference between Home Chef and Blue Apron meals for yourself? Here are some tips for trying each service:
- Choose best-selling recipes to sample what each meal kit does best. For Home Chef, go with top-rated meals like Chipotle Chimichurri Steak, Pork Carnitas Tacos, or Lemon Garlic Shrimp. For Blue Apron, pick out their standout dishes like Mustard-Maple Glazed Salmon, Beef Bibimbap Bowls, or Moroccan Chicken Tagine.
- Compare similar recipes to judge the flavor differences head-to-head. Try the same style of dish from both companies like shrimp fajitas, chicken Parmesan, vegetable stir fry etc.
- Try a variety of cuisines to see who offers more global flavor. Home Chef excels at Mediterranean, Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine while Blue Apron shines with Asian-inspired dishes.
- Modify and customize where possible to suit your tastes. Home Chef makes it easy to swap ingredients. See how each meal kit accommodates preferences.
- Maximize savings by looking for coupons and promos when you sign up. Both Home Chef and Blue Apron run frequent promotions to try them out at a discounted rate.
- Start with a 2-serving plan. Don’t over-commit to a family plan until you’ve tasted a few meals. A plan for 2 is perfect for sampling each service.
- Compare side dishes and extras. Things like bread, desserts, and protein add-ons should also be judged side-by-side for taste and value.
With both brands, sort recipes by attributes like “Customer Favorites”, “Quick & Easy”, or “Low-Carb” to pick meals in your wheelhouse.
Key Takeaways: Who Does Meal Kits Better?
To wrap up this comparison on a high note, here are the biggest differences between Home Chef and Blue Apron when it comes to taste and meal kits:
- Home Chef excels at bold, craveable flavors using fresh ingredients, generously seasoned recipes and smart techniques. Their meals delight the palate with each bite.
- Blue Apron shines with health-conscious recipes that are lower in calories, carbs, fat and sodium. Their meals cater to clean eating habits and diets.
- Convenience goes to Home Chef with easier recipes, pre-prepped ingredients that save chopping time, and family-friendly options the whole household will enjoy.
- Blue Apron edges ahead on eco-friendliness through their carbon neutral shipping, recycled packaging and partnerships with environmental organizations like Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
- Home Chef wins on flexibility allowing customers to pick unique meals and customize recipes to their taste and diet. Their menu offers more variety overall.
While both brands have their merits, Home Chef is my top choice for incredible taste and convenience without breaking the bank. Their crave-worthy meals delight in every bite.
Ready to dig into fresh, homemade meal kits? Whether you’re looking for tasty comfort foods, healthy clean eating, or an easy weeknight shortcut, both Home Chef and Blue Apron deliver quality and convenience. Browse their tempting menus and dig in to enjoy the benefits of meal kits today!