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Written by: Felicity Kay on Jul 9th, 2021

Home Chef vs. HelloFresh 2021: Key Differences Explained

Both Home Chef and HelloFresh are excellent options if you're looking for good value, family-friendly dishes, and a solid range of meal options – but which is the better meal kit delivery service for your lifestyle and dietary needs?

With its no-fuss American fare and easy-to-follow recipe cards, Home Chef is a great option for anyone looking to enjoy home-cooked food that’s not super fancy or complicated. It also has some great customizable options and a range of low-calorie and low-carb dishes, so you’re sure to find something that suits what you want to eat that week. 

On the other hand, if farm-fresh, sustainably sourced produce is high on your list of priorities, HelloFresh may be the meal delivery service for you. With a focus on responsible ingredient sourcing and reducing food waste, its recipes are a great way to eat more sustainably. 

Taking all these factors into account, here’s what we thought in the case of Home Chef vs. HelloFresh. If you find that neither of these services is right for you, be sure to check out our complete list of the Best Meal Delivery Services out there right now.

At a Glance: Home Chef vs. HelloFresh 


Home Chef

HelloFresh

Dietary preferences

Balanced, Vegetarian, Calorie-Conscious, Carb-Conscious

Balanced, Veggie, Calorie-Smart, Pescatarian, Beef-Free, Pork-Free, Seafood-Free, Family-Friend

Menu variety

20+ dishes per week

23+ dishes per week


Starting price

$6.99 per serving

$7.49 per serving

Shipping costs

$7.99 to $13.99

$8.99

Prep time

15 to 40 minutes

20 to 45 minutes

Learn more

See our expert Home Chef review

See our expert HelloFresh review

Dietary Preferences

As you probably know only too well if you have specific dietary requirements, finding a meal kit delivery service that caters to your needs can be tricky. This is certainly the case with both Home Chef and HelloFresh – but, luckily, there are ways around it.     

Home Chef is the more limited of the two. When you sign up, you have the option to choose whether you're an omnivore, carnivore, pescatarian or vegetarian, low-calorie or low-carb, and on the next screen, you’ll be able to select from a small number of foods that you want to avoid. 

It’s not quite enough if you have a serious allergy or dietary preference (there’s no option to exclude egg, for example, if you’d like to make your box vegan), but if you're following a paleo diet, you might be able to make do with these options. 

Things look a little better at HelloFresh, where you can choose from a range of “free” plans (beef-free, pork-free, seafood-free), as well as Veggie, Calorie-Smart, Pescatarian, and more. Still, if you're very strict about your dietary preferences, you might still find it tricky.

I think HelloFresh just about wins over Home Chef here, simply because of those extra few plans. 

Winner: HelloFresh  

Menu Variety

Home Chef has a great deal to offer in terms of the number of meals, as well as some great customization and upgrade options. There are about 20 meals available each week (including Vegetarian and Calorie-Smart, so kudos!). There’s mostly standard American fare on offer here, although I did find some more slightly adventurous options, such as Cajun Shrimp Tacos and Teriyaki-Lime Ahi Tuna.

Home Chef also has some gourmet options, which are slightly pricier and take longer to prep and cook, as well as 15-Minute Meal Kits and Oven-Ready dishes for those on a busy schedule.

The standout feature of Home Chef, however, is that it allows you to customize your meals, so if you’d like to swap your protein for an alternative, double-up, or even “upgrade” it, you can do so. Some swaps are free, while others might cost an extra few dollars. It makes for the most customizable meal kit I’ve ever seen. 

HelloFresh has pretty good variety too, with more than 23 new recipes on the menu each week. But it doesn’t have the customization options or the meal upgrade options that Home Chef does. You’ll start by choosing one of HelloFresh’s six plans :

But actually, there are even more options; finish the sign-up process to see these extra options to choose from: 

I played around with each plan, and there were always 17-20 meals to pick from, no matter which option I chose. I also really liked that the allergen information and nutritional facts are clearly displayed on each recipe card.

I think Home Chef just beats out HelloFresh here, for both the types of meal kits it offers and the customization options. 

Winner: Home Chef  

Starting Prices

It’s a little tricky to compare Home Chef and HelloFresh when it comes to the pricing. 

Home Chef offers per-meal pricing, which doesn’t change if you choose to order more servings per box. HelloFresh offers a set-price plan, with portion prices changing according to the number of diners and number of meals a week.  

So while Home Chef’s meals start from $6.99 per serving, in actual practice, these meals are mostly salads, and otherwise, you're looking at around $9.99 per serving. Home Chef also offers delicious-looking gourmet options, although these are slightly more expensive.

In contrast, HelloFresh’s prices start from $7.49 per serving, based on an order of three or more meals a week for four people. But, you’ll also have to pay a flat shipping fee of $8.99, bringing your grand total to $98.87 per week. For the same amount of food at Home Chef, you’ll be looking at around $108 per week, plus $7.99 shipping. 

This means that HelloFresh is actually cheaper than Home Chef, but how does it compare for two-person plans?  

At HelloFresh, three meals per week on a two-person plan starts from $8.99 per serving, plus $8.99 shipping, which will cost you a total of $62.93 per week. The same plan at Home Chef (providing you don't buy any gourmet meals or upgrades) would cost $53.94, plus $7.99 shipping, which comes in slightly more affordable than HelloFresh at $61.93

Tie: Home Chef for two-person plans and HelloFresh for larger orders.

Delivery and Packaging

Both Home Chef and HelloFresh deliver your meals weekly – although the available delivery days will depend on your location. Home Chef only offered me a three-day window to receive my box, while HelloFresh offered me every day of the week.

HelloFresh also gave me an online tracking link, which allowed me to track my delivery right to my front door. Home Chef doesn’t do this, although it does win out when it comes to packaging. 

I try my hardest to be plastic-free, so I appreciated Home Chef’s attempt to reduce its plastic use. 

There was some really nice use of recyclable plastic containers, which I washed out and saved for reuse. For the most part, the loose ingredients were presented in these or paper bags.

HelloFresh was more disappointing. Its packaging was mostly recyclable but I noticed that the individual ingredients were each wrapped in plastic film – and this increased as the number of diners increased. There is information on the website about how to recycle plastic film, along with the insulator and ice packs, but I feel more work could be done here. 

Winner: It’s a tie. HelloFresh for its flexibility and cool ability to track your delivery and Home Chef for its more eco-friendly packaging. 

Meal Prep

Home Chef certainly gives you plenty of options when it comes to the amount of prep and skill involved. You can choose from standard meal kits that take around 30 minutes, speedier 15-Minute Meal Kits, and even a range of low- to no-prep options including Oven-Ready and Grill-Ready meals and salads.

With a range of quick and easy options, Home Chef gives you plenty of ways to fit cooking around your schedule. Alternatively, if you have more time or want to create something for a special occasion, check out its Culinary Collection – a range of premium dishes that take a little longer to make.

On the other hand, HelloFresh delivers standard meal kits for all of its recipes. Its dishes usually take around 30 minutes to prep and cook but there are “Quick” options as well as dishes that require “Lightning Prep”. If your kitchen skills or equipment are limited, look out for recipes tagged as One Pan to keep things simple.

Cooking-wise, I’d say that Home Chef is a little more straightforward than HelloFresh. At times, HelloFresh’s cooking instructions can be vague – there was one recipe that told me to cook my meat to my “desired doneness”, which I didn't really understand, and I ended up burning the meal. The meat still tasted fine, but it wasn't perfect, as I had come to expect. 

Winner: Home Chef  

The Bottom Line

Home Chef vs. HelloFresh was always going to be a tricky one. I enjoyed both meal kit delivery services, and both are pretty similar in what they offer; the only real difference is the pricing structure, and as I pointed out above, one is actually cheaper for two-person plans, while the other is cheaper for families of four.  

Both Home Chef and HelloFresh do things really well in terms of meal options, although if you’re a serious vegan or have a different dietary need, neither are a perfect fit. Instead, maybe you should consider one of the other companies in our best meal delivery services roundup

Winner: Home Chef has the edge!

About The Author

Felicity Kay

Staff Writer, Delivery Rank

Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
When shes not out walking her dogs, shes trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
When shes not out walking her dogs, shes trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!
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