HelloFresh is one of the most popular meal delivery services in the country – you’ve likely seen the ads for it, right? But how well does it hold up to scrutiny? I wanted to try the service for myself to see if HelloFresh can deliver on its promises.
While I’m not a strict vegetarian, I do prefer to center my meals around veggies. Thankfully, HelloFresh offers at least six to eight vegetarian recipes on its weekly menu of 25+ meals, so flexitarians like me are taken care of.
I’m not a particularly great cook either, but it’s hard to knock my experience with this service. I enjoyed all the dishes I tried, including the non-vegetarian options.
HelloFresh taught me to be more adventurous in the kitchen, and – dare I say it – even connecting with customer service was a joy! Read on for my thoughts on ingredient quality, delivery experience, value for money, and more.
Easy Prep recipes for busy nights
Recyclable, eco-friendly packaging
Good value for money
Current deal – 16 Free Meals + 3 Gifts + Free Shipping
You may still end up with lots of dishes to clean
There could be more plant-based meals
Beginner cooks who are keen to learn
Individuals who want leftovers for lunch
People who don’t enjoy cooking
Those with food allergies
HelloFresh’s menu is organized into six categories, making it easier than ever to choose recipes that suit your taste and lifestyle. The plans are:
Meat & Veggies
Fit & Wholesome
Quick and Easy
Each week you can pick your own meal kits from any of these categories, but initially, HelloFresh will select recipes for you based on your chosen plan(s). And if you forget to choose your own meals, HelloFresh will do it for you so you don’t miss your weekly delivery.
I selected the Veggie and Pescatarian plans. When it first started, HelloFresh’s vegetarian options were pretty limited. Thankfully, the company has since expanded its meatless offerings!
Regardless of the plan you choose, you have the option to order between two and six recipes per week for either two or four people. This is more-or-less on par with other mainstream meal delivery services.
When it comes to the all-important menu, HelloFresh makes a point of providing balanced yet crowd-pleasing comfort food dishes. This – combined with the option to order up to six meals per week – makes it a great choice for families with young children, and with picky eaters.
And with the company’s rather enticing food photography, and more than 25 options, you’re sure to find plenty of craveable recipes every week. The One-Pan Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas, for example, are sure to be popular with kids and grown-ups alike!
It wasn’t available when I went ahead and did my review, but HelloFresh has recently launched HelloCustom, which allows you to swap out certain proteins or sides on a number of its dishes.
You may recall Home Chef has had this option for a while, so it’s great to see HelloFresh catching up!
Even with the customization options, however, HelloFresh doesn’t cater particularly well to certain diets. If you have allergies or dietary restrictions, or you’re looking for keto, paleo or plant-based meals, other services such as Green Chef or Sunbasket could work better for you.
That said, the company has taken steps to help out people who might have intolerances or other food aversions. Dishes containing major allergens (like nuts, dairy, or soy) are clearly marked on the recipe cards. The Meat & Veggies plan can also be customized to omit beef, pork, or seafood.
Despite being delivered pretty early in the day (just after noon), the ice packs in my HelloFresh box were almost melted. They were still cold, but things were starting to feel a little… moist. Nevertheless, all of my ingredients remained perfectly fresh.
The ingredients for each dish are contained within their own paper bag, making it easy to store and there’s no guessing what goes with what. I’ve tried other meal kits where all the ingredients are simply dumped in the box, so this was a massive plus for me!
Underneath, you’ll find the chilled proteins and HelloFresh recommends freezing them until a few hours before you want to cook them. Any other fresh ingredients, of course, should be kept in the refrigerator.
At a glance, it seems like HelloFresh does a pretty good job of using recyclable packaging where possible. I often feel guilty about using individually packaged ingredients, so I appreciate any effort to minimize waste.
After getting my first delivery, I delved even further and discovered that HelloFresh purchases carbon offsets for 100% of its deliveries. I try to be an eco-friendly consumer, so this fact makes it much more likely that I’ll order from HelloFresh again.
I also really liked the recipe cards that came with each meal. I don’t like having to follow instructions on my phone or computer while I’m cooking. Plus, these are perfect for saving and referring back to later on. I keep them around in case I want to try and remake a dish!
The cards themselves are big, bright, and easy to follow. In addition to the recipe, you’ll also find full-color photos of every step, a complete list of the required utensils and pantry ingredients, and all prep and cooking time information.
HelloFresh doesn’t utilize many organic ingredients like some of its more-expensive competitors do (e.g., Sunbasket), but the produce, proteins, and other ingredients seem pretty high quality and are said to be sustainably sourced. In fact, the vegetables looked better than what I often see at the grocery store!
I only had one small issue: there was a leak in the salmon packaging. It wasn’t too bad – the fish was still good – but I had to clean the salmon juice off some of the other ingredients before putting them in my refrigerator.
HelloFresh claims that it road-tests each recipe 200 times before putting it on the menu, and truthfully, I believe it! Not only does each dish come together well, but HelloFresh’s difficulty scale ensures that even beginner cooks can make magic happen in the kitchen.
The recipes come in three difficulty levels, ranging from easy and familiar meals to more complex dishes that utilize new flavors and techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or taking your first steps in the kitchen, HelloFresh has something for everyone.
My only major complaint is that some of the recipes I chose left me with piles of dishes to deal with afterward. But wouldn’t ya know it, there’s a solution for this, too. HelloFresh offers a number of recipes labeled Easy Cleanup, Easy Prep, and One Pot if, like me, you’re keen to skip on the washing up as much as possible.
As well as having your hard copy, you can find the recipes online, where alongside the cook time, calories per serving, and difficulty level, you’ll see more nutritional info.
One final note for people who live alone as I do: HelloFresh, like most meal kit services, provides enough ingredients for two servings per dish. There’s no single-serving option – this tends to be reserved for prepared meal delivery services such as Freshly.
To be fair, though, this wasn’t really an issue. I was able to eat as much as I wanted and have plenty of leftovers for the next day’s lunch! Whether you live alone or with a partner or family, you can count on having enough food to go around.
For my taste test, I selected four meals:
Shawarma Chickpea Couscous Bowls
Broccoli-Carrot Donburi with a Fried Egg
Steelhead Trout in Cranberry Dijon Sauce
Ginger Lime Salmon
The standouts for me were definitely the Couscous Bowls and the Ginger Lime Salmon.
HelloFresh nails it when it comes to the prep and cooking instructions. It’s so annoying when one part of your meal is ready, and you have to wait ages for the rest to cook. For each of the meals I prepared, everything was ready around the same time.
Despite some of the recipes sounding difficult (uh, am I even qualified to cook a Shawarma Chickpea Couscous Bowl?), it was all really easy. The final results looked impressive and I was surprised I’d made such tasty meals.
The Shawarma Chickpea Couscous Bowl was hands-down my favorite dish of the week. There are a lot of moving parts, including peeling, chopping, mixing, and putting multiple pans into the oven, but I was tipped off by the Medium difficulty rating.
Some of the more labor-intensive techniques in this dish included making my own pickled shallots, mixing up a spicy sauce with harissa, yogurt, and sour cream, and learning how to cook couscous. One thing’s for certain, though, this dish was worth the effort!
Shawarma is a classic Middle Eastern street food often comprising seasoned meats like lamb or chicken. I’m ecstatic HelloFresh managed to pull off a vegetarian take, because everyone should be able to experience these great flavors.
As someone who is a little afraid to cook fish, I was skeptical when I saw that the Ginger Lime Salmon recipe was marked as Easy. But, as I’ve now come to expect with HelloFresh, the dish came together incredibly well.
There was a fair amount of prep, which is why this recipe ended up taking me longer than the suggested 30 minutes (maybe I’m just a slow cook). But the work certainly wasn’t difficult – merely time-consuming.
I definitely should have taken advantage of the utensils list that HelloFresh includes on every recipe card. This dish called for me to zest a lime – but I don’t own a zester! I was able to improvise, but in the future, I’ll make sure I have all the utensils I need to hand ahead of time.
Overall, I was really satisfied and proud of how this dish came out. The flavors and seasoning were spot on. I even saved some of the ginger-lime sauce to use on my salad the next day.
When you sign up with HelloFresh, one of the last steps is choosing your delivery day. (I’ll walk you through the entire process further down.) You can also update this week by week if your schedule or preference changes.
There’s no way to specify a time, though, so you’ll be wise to pick a day when you know you’ll be home. It can be delivered anytime between 8 am and 8 pm. I work from home, so I just went with Monday.
I got an email letting me know when my order had shipped. I expected a text message too – like I got when I tested Home Chef – but nothing came. Still, I check my email often enough that it didn’t make a difference.
Despite the broad delivery window, my order ended up arriving just after noon. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the box had arrived until I checked the tracking information on my computer.
It turns out my package wasn’t left outside my door, but at the entry of my apartment building. Not the end of the world, but also not super convenient as the box was a bit heavy!
I’ve since learned that HelloFresh has an app, which makes it much easier to monitor your deliveries. If that’s not your thing, you can also set yourself up to receive notifications directly from the courier service (HelloFresh uses FedEx, UPS, and some regional services).
HelloFresh makes it super easy to sign up, but it’s also possible to see the menu first without inputting your credit card information – just click on Our Menus.
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to sign up, you can do so in a few simple steps.
Click on Our Plans: This is where you select the plan you want (Veggie, Family Friendly, Quick and Easy etc) and pick how many recipes you want to receive each week for either two or four people. Then click Select This Plan.
Create an account: Before you go any further, you’ll need to create your account. I just used my email address, but you can streamline the process by signing up through Google, Apple, or Facebook.
Add your address: This will, in turn, give you the opportunity to see your available delivery days.
Input payment information: Once you’ve entered your credit card or other payment information, you’ll be officially signed up!
Remember, HelloFresh automatically chooses meals for you. You can easily go in and swap these out for recipes of your own choosing. If you want to have a say in the dishes you receive, I recommend making these changes right away so you don’t forget!
HelloFresh makes it easier than most companies to skip weeks, cancel your subscription, or make other changes to your order. As long as you make any amendments by 11:59 pm PST, five days before your next scheduled order, pausing, canceling, and swapping meals is a cinch.
Pausing your subscription is as easy as logging into your account and opening up your menu. From there, you can skip a week with the touch of a button.
This page is also where you can select your meals. If you don’t choose your own meals (or pause your subscription) by the five-day cutoff, HelloFresh will send you a selection of meals based on your chosen plan and preferences.
There are a bunch of options when it comes to HelloFresh customer support.
In the FAQ section on the website, you’ll find Action Buttons to Help Yourself, which can point you in the right direction when it comes to common queries like updating your account or changing your order.
Underneath that, you’ll find a robust set of Help Articles, which you can search through by typing in keywords. HelloFresh also has a list of the most frequently asked questions, which come with clear and succinct answers.
For example, I wanted to get more information about how to recycle the packaging from my order. Simply typing “recycle” into the search bar was enough to get the answers I was looking for.
Even better, I learned that HelloFresh has ample info on its recycling program, including a separate page dedicated to helping you dispose of your packaging in the most responsible way possible.
If you run through these options and still have questions, you can either place a call or use the online chat. There’s also a shortcut to easily report an issue with your shipment, such as a missing or damaged ingredient.
I was able to solve my issue via the chat, so I didn’t need to resort to calling. I couldn’t find any information hours for the call center, so I do wonder if some form of support is available 24/7. Regardless, I had a very positive experience with customer service!
I’d received a coupon by email after I had ordered. (Typical, right?) So I reached out via online chat to see if I could apply it to an order that I had already placed. Straight away, it was clear I was chatting with a real person.
Kyla wasn’t able to apply the full discount, but she did refund me a partial amount and credited my account with the rest. Honestly, I couldn’t quite believe it. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good customer service experience – maybe I should try asking for things more often!
I also tested out what it’s like to pause or cancel your HelloFresh subscription, and wrote about it in this short blog post.
$3.79 per portion
2 meals per week for 2 people
HelloFresh’s pricing keeps it pretty square in the middle of the pack. Going with a more expensive service, like Sunbasket, allows you to choose meals personalized to your diet, while cheaper services offer more basic recipes with fewer ingredients.
The lowest price per serving you’ll find is $3.79, but you’ll only pay that if you sign up to receive at least four meals per week for four people. The price per serving goes up for smaller orders. In fact, the minimum order of two meals per week for two people is a pricey $11.99 per serving.
Shipping costs are $9.99-10.99, no matter how many meals you order.
Because of the way the price adjusts, the breakdown of costs for a HelloFresh subscription can vary quite a bit. For example, a family of four wanting to order five dinners per week will pay $169.79 per week, including shipping. This works out to $7.99 per serving.
If that same family of four decides to order the minimum two meals per week instead of five, they’ll only pay $85.91 per week. However, the cost of each serving goes up to $9.49.
For reference, the average weekly grocery budget for a family of four is around $200. This does vary by location, but it’s a good benchmark to see that meal kits like those from HelloFresh are can be comparable in cost to buying your dinners from the supermarket each week.
Now, there are a number of ways you can save on costs, too. First and foremost, you can check out this coupon for your first order: 16 Free Meals + 3 Gifts + Free Shipping.
Students are also eligible for a pretty hefty discount. Depending on your eligibility, HelloFresh offers a student discount of 15% off every order for a full year.
I obviously think HelloFresh is totally worth it, especially if you’ll be ordering enough to pay the lowest price per serving.
In my experience, the recipes were well outlined and resulted in super tasty meals. Plus, the customer service I received was hands-down outstanding.
Of course, no company is ever perfect (and I can always find something to complain about). HelloFresh does continue to expand its diet and customization options, but it’s still not as accommodating as some more specialized meal delivery services.
At the end of the day, if your diet is pretty versatile, I think you’ll be happy with your HelloFresh meals. If you don’t eat meat or fish and have allergies, or you’re trying to stick to a certain type of diet, you’ll probably feel like your choices are a tad limited.
If you’re still not sure that HelloFresh is right for you, you can see how it stacks up with other top meal kit services. Elsewhere, we’ve researched the leading companies and shortlisted the best meal delivery services out there.
HelloFresh is a meal delivery service offering family-friendly meal kits that you can cook in the comfort of your own home. When I tried it out, I found the recipes fairly easy to put together. Offerings range from one-pot wonders to craft burgers and globally-inspired gourmet dishes.
HelloFresh has six plans to choose from. Obviously, different plans work better for different people. Families with young children or picky eaters will love the Family Friendly plan, while folks with busy lifestyles will find the Quick and Easy plan a lifesaver. You can browse all of the plans each week, and mix and match dishes.
The budget-friendly meal kit delivery service EveryPlate is owned by HelloFresh, which also owns organic meal kit service Green Chef. At EveryPlate, you’ll find the same weekly menu and hearty portions but the meals are more pared back to reflect the lower price.
HelloFresh offers generous portions on many of its dishes. Meals labeled Calorie Smart may be smaller to stay within the 600-calorie range, but there are many heartier meals. In my experience, even the lower-calorie meals were quite filling.