Home Chef and Blue Apron are both veterans of the meal kit delivery service industry, with meal kits and some prepared dishes to satisfy a variety of appetites. But they have some key differences when it comes to the structure of their plans and how their customizations work.
I examined both companies closely, studying their prices, menus, ingredients, shipping, and more. I consulted colleagues, read reviews, and compiled as much data as I could gather. It was a very close match between 2 excellent meal delivery services.
Ultimately, I gave the trophy to Home Chef, thanks to its more sophisticated menu and its abundance of extras and add-ons. But Blue Apron is certainly a worthy, family-friendly contender whose international cuisine options and wine boxes give you loads of flexibility with your meals. Read on to find out which is best for you.
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef has a significantly wider overall menu compared to Blue Apron. It offers 30+ meals and 18+ extras every week, while Blue Apron only offers 20 to 25 meals and a few extras. But this round was considerably closer than those numbers might suggest.
Both menus have American favorites like burgers, pasta, steak, and seafood, as well as a selection of more adventurous recipes. I found Blue Apron’s menu to be a bit more international. For example, check out the Grilled Dukkah-Spiced Pork Chops (below).
Both Home Chef and Blue Apron offer quick-prep meals. But while all of Home Chef’s fast menu offerings require at least some assembly, Blue Apron has a selection of prepared meals that require just a few minutes in the microwave.
Blue Apron’s Market goes beyond just meal kits and meal bundles. Customers can browse through kitchen pans and utensils, along with signature Blue Apron spice blends that can add different international flavors to your home cooking. Wine bundles let you order wine by the bottle or box, and wine lovers can even sign up for Blue Apron’s optional wine club subscription.
Though Home Chef's menu is a bit less adventurous, you won’t be bored with meals like the Seared Pork Chop with Dijon Mushroom Pan Sauce above. Blue Apron also offers many family-friendly dishes, but Home Chef might be a better choice if you’re feeding picky eaters.
Home Chef's market selection is more limited. It offers breakfast and lunch entrees, along with a selection of desserts and bulk protein packs like salmon filets or chicken breasts. But Home Chef gives you a slightly larger selection of meals every week.
Blue Apron gets many ingredients from sustainable, family-run farms. Home Chef gives you an organic protein option on many recipes but provides little information about where it sources its ingredients.
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef’s Customize It feature allows you to swap, double-up, or upgrade the protein in many of its meals. When my colleague tried out Home Chef, they found that the Customize It feature vastly expanded their potential menu options.
Almost all Home Chef recipes offer Customize It, frequently with multiple options. Vegetarian Butternut Squash Alfredo Penne with Spicy Walnuts and Garlic Bread (pictured) can be ordered with an optional protein – take your pick of shrimp, diced chicken breast, Italian sausage, or vegetarian Beyond Sausage.
Home Chef lets you choose Calorie-Conscious and/or Carb-Conscious as dietary preferences when signing up. Calorie-Conscious meals have less than 625 calories per serving, while Carb-Conscious meals have 35 g or fewer net carbs. There are also a few veggie meals on the Home Chef menu – but very few, if any, vegan options.
Blue Apron offers some customizable meals – you can order its Cheesy Pork Chorizo Enchiladas with ground turkey, or swap the prosciutto for chicken in its Prosciutto Fried Rice – but its selection is much more limited.
Blue Apron’s menu is sorted into 5 categories:
Fast & Easy
The Wellness plan features healthy, nutritionist-approved dishes and low-calorie recipes, while the Fast & Easy plan features speedy 30-minute meals and microwavable dinners. And while Blue Apron has many recipes that cater to sophisticated palates, you can also search for Family Friendly meals for fussy eaters.
The low-calorie meals are great if you’re watching your weight. Many other recipes include substitutions you can make to lower the calorie count, like replacing sour cream with nonfat yogurt or using a nonstick spray instead of cooking oil.
Blue Apron’s vegetarian offerings are more limited (around 5 per week) and only serve 2 people. If you’re feeding a household of herbivores, check out our list of the best vegetarian meal delivery services for better options.
You can also make some meals vegetarian. If you’re not a fan of pork, you can replace the pork chops with egg and avocado in the Mexican-Style Pork Chops pictured below. Look for the Make it Vegetarian tag for eligible meals.
When it comes to omitting certain ingredients, Home Chef offers a set list so you only see the recipes that don’t contain those ingredients. The list is short, but it does cover basic allergies such as tree nuts, pork, and shellfish.
Home Chef leaves out a sizable portion of the population that’s sensitive to dairy. The recipe cards feature allergy information, but it would be nice to be able to see an entire menu of dairy-free recipes.
Blue Apron offers even fewer options when it comes to leaving out certain ingredients, only giving you the option to check off the meats you don’t want, such as pork, beef, poultry, fish, etc. Or you can tick We’re Vegetarian.
If you have serious allergies, neither Blue Apron nor Home Chef are a good option. You should instead check out our list of the best allergy-friendly delivery services. If you don’t have specific ingredient requirements, however, Blue Apron’s Wellness menu may be a great fit if you’re looking for healthy, balanced dishes.
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef wins with its eco-friendly packaging and better selection of serving sizes. Blue Apron is a worthy contender in all these categories but Home Chef is just a little better.
The sign-up process is a little quicker for Blue Apron, but that’s mostly because there are more customization options when signing up for Home Chef. With both services, the minimum order is 2 meals for 2 people (or 4 servings) per week. Once you’ve opened your Home Chef or Blue Apron account and selected your plan, it’s time to pick out your meals.
Home Chef allows you to order up to 6 meals per week for up to 6 people. Not only is this more than Blue Apron (which limits you to 5 meals per week for 4 people), but it’s more than many other meal kits I’ve tried before.
Home Chef only delivers on weekdays while Blue Apron offers weekend delivery too. While both Blue Apron and Home Chef both offer delivery several days per week, your specific delivery day will depend on your address.
Home Chef delivers to 98% of the US, while Blue Apron delivers throughout the continental US. Sorry, Hawaii and Alaska – neither service has expanded outside the mainland yet! Both services offer zip code confirmation on their websites that will check whether or not you can receive deliveries. They’ll also let you know which days are available in your area.
Home Chef and Blue Apron both do an excellent job of packing your meal kits so they arrive chilled and fresh. But in order to do that, both use a lot of packaging, which you’ll have to dispose of each week.
Home Chef promises to use only recyclable or reusable materials in its packaging. It also offers a wealth of information on its website on how to dispose of (or reuse) it. Home Chef meals arrive packed by recipe in plastic bags, with proteins on the bottom between cooling packs.
Blue Apron sends individually wrapped and labeled ingredients in its meal kits. While this helps customers quickly identify ingredients, it generates a lot of plastic, which isn’t ideal for the environment. Blue Apron's packaging could take inspiration from other meal delivery services that use more eco-friendly packaging solutions, such as paper bags.
Winner: Home Chef
Overall, both services offer easy-prep meal kits, but Home Chef ultimately wins this round. Though Blue Apron has a few prepared meals in its add-ons section, it really only has around 6 every week.
On the other hand, Home Chef has an entire line of quick, low-prep meals. For example, its Fresh and Easy line includes a range of low and no-prep kits.
You’ll find these under the Easy Prep Meal Kits section of the menu. These include Express 15-Minute Meal Kits, Oven-Ready dishes, and Fast & Fresh meals that can be heated in either the microwave or oven after some minor assembly.
Each service provides pre-prepped ingredients in some, but not all recipes. You’ll have to check the labels to see which meal kits come with pre-chopped vegetables.
Home Chef’s Oven-Ready meals can take up to 60 minutes to cook, but they call for next to no prep, just some minor assembling in a recyclable pan that comes with each dish.
Similarly, Blue Apron offers a Fast & Easy preference with meals designed to be ready in 30 minutes, including sheet-pan recipes that are light on prep. There are some Ready to Cook meals, too, that come with pre-chopped ingredients and a recyclable baking tin. All you have to do is assemble it and pop it in the oven!
Blue Apron also has a range of prepared meals for fans of super-quick dinners: its 5-minute Heat & Eat options. There are at least 3 each week and these microwave meals are slightly easier than Home Chef’s – just pierce the film and heat in one go (most of Home Chef’s Fast & Fresh meals require assembly and heating in stages).
Both services expect you to have some pantry basics like olive oil on hand. Home Chef makes it clear which utensils and ingredients you’ll need for each recipe, while Blue Apron doesn’t make this information as obvious.
Of course, both services also offer standard meal kits. But Blue Apron scores points here for offering videos on its website that teach you cooking techniques and walk you through cooking your meal kits.
Both Blue Apron and Home Chef offer solid customer support options. This round is too close to call, so I made it a draw.
Both have robust FAQ pages and toll-free numbers should you want to speak to a rep. Home Chef has a chatbot on hand to answer basic questions, while Blue Apron lets you chat directly with a real person. Neither offers customer support via text.
Ultimately, both services offer a wide variety of customer support options. Both are also equally easy to cancel (just check out this short blog post on How To Cancel Blue Apron in 3 easy steps).
Winner: Blue Apron
Blue Apron is cheaper per serving than Home Chef, so it takes this round.
Both Blue Apron and Home Chef offer similar discounts for students and seniors as well as first responders, teachers, and other heroes. Both offer special occasion meals that cost a bit more per serving. Blue Apron labels its range as Premium while Home Chef uses the Culinary Collection or Plus label.
Prices at Blue Apron start from $5.74 per serving when you sign up for the largest plan of 4 meals for 5 people per week. The price goes up on smaller orders, costing as much as $12.49 per serving for the minimum order of 2 meals for 2 people per week and $9.99 per serving for 4 meals for 2.
Home Chef also charges $11.99 per serving for 4 servings and $9.99 per serving for 6. But its prices stay at $9.99 per serving even if you order the maximum 36 servings (6 meals of 6 servings).
Customization makes Home Chef unique, but it can also make it more expensive. If you choose to customize a dish by doubling up or upgrading your protein choice, you can expect to pay up to $5 more per serving.
Then, of course, there’s shipping. Blue Apron and Home Chef both cost $10.99 per week, regardless of the size of your order. Check out my colleague’s Blue Apron review for a more in-depth look at its pricing and discounts.
Variety and customization
Foodies who like to cook
$7.99 per serving
$5.74 per serving
2 meals for 2 people per week
2 meals for 2 people per week
30+ choices per week
19+ choices per week
5 to 60 minutes
5 to 50 minutes
Oven-Ready, Express 15-Minute Meal Kits, Fast & Fresh Meals
Heat & Eat Meals, Fast & Easy Kits, Sheet-Pan Recipes
Allergies catered to
Vegetarian, Calorie-Conscious, Carb-Conscious
FAQ, email, phone
FAQ, email, phone
After careful consideration, I believe that Home Chef edges out Blue Apron. It was a very close match between 2 very good meal delivery services, though.
Overall, Home Chef has a more fun menu, better add-ons, and easier prep. You can tell that it cares about details and quality, and that it wants to help people create striking dishes with ease. But Blue Apron might be better for those wanting more gourmet meals along with solid wine pairings.
Both Blue Apron and Home Chef are included on our list of the best meal delivery services, so you can’t go wrong with either service – or with any of the other providers on our list.
Blue Apron is an excellent meal delivery service with very reasonable prices. Its sophisticated menu and wide range of add-ons will ensure that you never get bored, while prices starting at $5.74 per serving mean you can eat healthier without breaking your bank account.
Home Chef offers some quick-prep and oven-ready meals, but they require cooking. Blue Apron has a selection of fully-cooked Heat & Eat meals you simply pop in the microwave for a few minutes.
Blue Apron isn’t part of Weight Watchers. There are many recipes in the Wellness plan that are low in calories and are ideal if you count calories or are trying to lose weight. Many Blue Apron recipes also include suggestions on substitutions you can make to prepare lower-calorie meals.