Blue Apron advertises itself as an affordable solution to your weeknight dinners, but is it as good as it claims to be?
I’ve been around the block with many different meal kits and I’ve found that services tend to fall into two camps: those with more variety and high-quality recipes at a premium price, and those that offer a more limited menu at rock-bottom prices. There’s always a tradeoff between price and quality.
But I think that Blue Apron sits at the sweet spot between high-quality meals and reasonable prices. Throughout my research, I was impressed by the quality and variety of Blue Apron’s menu – it certainly lived up to the hype.
The only people who might struggle with Blue Apron are those following niche diets like paleo or vegan, or those ordering for more than four people a week.
Otherwise, if you’re after great-value meal kits that have you looking forward to dinner every night, then this may be just the service for you!
Exciting, internationally-inspired recipes
Dedicated Wellness plan for those who want healthier options
Partnership with Beyond Meat for delicious vegetarian dishes
Optional wine delivery
Vegetarian and Wellness plans are only available for two people
Some recipes do require a lot of pots and pans – and therefore washing up!
No menu filter to easily exclude allergens or ingredients you want to avoid
Busy individuals, couples, and families of up to four
People who like trying new foods
Individuals who are part of the Weight Watchers program
People with food allergies or restrictive diets
Households of five or more
What I love most about Blue Apron's menu is the variety of cuisines on offer. Every week you can expect to find different international dishes, from Basil Pesto Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Pistachio Breadcrumbs to Spicy Pork Udon and Greek-Style Feta Burgers.
Blue Apron offers four meal plans to choose from:
Vegetarian (for 2)
Wellness (for 2)
There are usually four veggie meals per week, which isn’t a lot of choice if you want to order the maximum of three meals on the Vegetarian plan. Having said that, all of the veggie options looked really appealing so as long as you’re not fussy – you'll be fine. Some other services can lack creativity when it comes to vegetarian food, but not Blue Apron!
You'll find exciting flavor combinations that you may not expect to work together – like the Shawarma-Spiced Squash and Farro Bowl with Marinated Pear, Feta, and Mint.
Who would have thought Shawarma spices would pair well with sweet marinated pear and savory feta cheese?
It's safe to say, if you're fairly adventurous when it comes to trying new flavors or you like experimenting with new ingredients, the meals are varied enough to keep things interesting and the weekly changing menu means you’ll never get bored.
Plus, Blue Apron offers customization swaps and add-ons for several recipes each week (six on the 2-serving Signature plan and three on the 4-serving Signature). These can involve adding spicy sausage to a veggie pasta dish or swapping thinly sliced beef with flank steaks.
These customizations do come with an additional cost, but more on that later.
Some of Blue Apron’s meal kits use a lot of pots and pans, but if you want to keep the washing up to a minimum, keep an eye out for Blue Apron’s range of Easy Prep & Cleanup meal kits, which includes several sheet pan and one-pot recipes.
The company also offers three Heat & Eat meals for nights when even a one-pan dinner feels like too much effort. Instead, you can heat up a meal in the microwave in minutes. It’s a limited range, so I wouldn’t recommend Blue Apron if you only want prepared meals, but it’s a nice option to add to your order for busy weeks.
Look out for prepared meals like the Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry and the Sweet and Spicy Beef Bowl, which pack in the same flavor as Blue Apron’s signature meal kits.
Another feature I love is Blue Apron’s Market, where you can purchase à la carte meal kits and Butcher Bundles, which include a variety of high-quality proteins that are ideal for grilling. It’s a great option if you want to try out Blue Apron’s meals before committing to a subscription.
The Market also offers kitchen equipment, exclusive Blue Apron spices, and wine bundles, which leads me nicely on to the next section…
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys wine with your dinner, you’ll love Blue Apron’s optional wine delivery membership. It’s one of the only services I’ve seen that offers this, so if you’re looking for both food and wine delivery, your search is over. Blue Apron is the one for you.
You can order bottles à la carte, but the real magic lies in pairing the wine with your meals.
Blue Apron sources quality wine from all over the world, and includes tasting notes to help you pick the bottles that best complement your meals. Simply match the symbol on the recipe card with a bottle of Blue Apron wine, and you’re guaranteed a flawless pairing.
Blue Apron works directly with vineyards, which is how it can offer top wines and affordable pricing. The wine arrives in specially designed 500ml bottles, which is around ⅔ the size of a regular bottle and works out pretty perfectly for two to share with dinner.
The first thing you’ll see when you open your Blue Apron box is some basic info about food storage. Then you can open up the insulated foil layer and gaze upon your bounty of meals for the week.
In addition to all the ingredients, you’ll find handy, clearly-formatted recipe cards. I love how easy it is to follow these recipes in your own kitchen – you can also download them from Blue Apron’s website.
In your box, you’ll also see a statement regarding the company’s commitment to waste reduction. It may be a little surprising, then, to realize that every ingredient is individually wrapped.
Meal kits have to strike a delicate balance between convenience and environmental responsibility. Individually wrapped items can make sorting your ingredients simpler, but too much plastic can be irresponsible in the long run.
I have to admit, it’s a big time-saver to be able to look at a packaged spice blend or tortilla wrap and know instantly which recipe it’s for. Personally, I’d prefer environmentally conscious packaging over convenience, but it’s also important to note that you don’t always have to choose.
For example, HelloFresh – one of Blue Apron’s biggest competitors – uses paper bags instead of plastic for most of its ingredients. This is one way to implement more eco-friendly packaging, but it will be interesting to see how Blue Apron and other companies tackle this issue in the future.
Blue Apron has meal kits to suit any and every skill level. Premium Recipes give you the opportunity to flex your culinary muscles, but you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to enjoy Blue Apron’s meal kits!
The step-by-step recipes with images make it easy to follow along, and there’s even a Cook Along slideshow option on the website. Most kits take around 25-35 minutes, which is pretty standard.
Easy Prep & Cleanup recipes can be prepared in minutes and often only use one or two dishes, like a sheet pan. Blue Apron’s Heat & Eat meals are even simpler, and need only be microwaved for a few minutes.
The Garlic & Herb Pasture-Raised Chicken is one of Blue Apron’s Premium meal kit offerings. This recipe calls for some special techniques like loosening the chicken skin for extra crispiness, making it a great option for home cooks who want a flavorsome challenge.
Blue Apron’s Premium meals come with a premium price tag (this particular dish is $18.99/serving). The occasional splurge on a Premium recipe, however, lets you indulge in ingredients like pancetta, demi-glace, verjus blanc, and a high-quality, pasture-raised chicken.
These Veggie Pitas are a perfect example of how simple Blue Apron’s recipes can be. All you need to cook the components of this dish are a couple sheet pans! This results in a quick, 25-minute meal that is easy to prep and clean up without sacrificing taste.
Blue Apron’s premade spice blends make it a cinch to add a zesty punch of flavor. Add to this some marinated feta and tangy tzatziki sauce, and you’ve got yourself a dish that will impress everyone at your table.
Sometimes life can get so busy that even a simple sheet pan recipe is too much effort. That’s where Blue Apron’s Heat & Eat meals come in! Now you can enjoy high-quality Blue Apron flavors in just a matter of minutes.
Even this microwavable Romesco Chicken Bowl doesn’t skimp on flavor. This dish, inspired by Spanish cuisine, includes big flavors like bell peppers, olives, and romesco sauce. As an added bonus, this dish is also low-carb and part of Blue Apron’s health-forward Wellness menu.
Considering Blue Apron is one of the largest meal delivery services out there right now, it should come as no surprise that it delivers to the whole of the contiguous United States (sorry, Alaska and Hawaii!).
Depending on your location, you’ll have a few different options for which day of the week you’d like to receive your order. In fact, many locations (such as larger metropolitan areas) can receive deliveries seven days a week.
You can even change which day you want to get your shipment from week to week.
You’ll receive an email with tracking information when your Blue Apron box ships. You can also track your shipment through the app.
Blue Apron’s subscription model is straightforward and easy to use. It’s particularly easy to start the process. You’ll see links to “Sign Up” or “Get Started” peppered all over the website, which will lead you into the steps below.
Create an account with your email address. Once you get started, you’ll have to make an account. It’s as easy as typing in your email address or signing in with Facebook.
Choose your plan and serving size. The price you pay will vary slightly depending on your choice of plan and how many meals and servings you want to receive each week.
Choose your delivery date. When you pick a day for your first delivery, your weekly shipments will be set to arrive on that same day. It’s easy to change this after you’ve created your account, so don’t stress yourself out over choosing a date at this stage.
Input your payment and select your meals. Once you put in all the boring stuff like address and payment information, you finally get to pick out what meals you want in your first shipment!
Blue Apron makes it easy to skip a week or make changes to your deliveries. The Manage Delivery button gives you the option to skip or adjust your order. Not only can you skip deliveries up to five weeks in advance, you can also change your delivery day or address.
As someone who can’t stand being on hold to a customer service representative, I’m a big fan of a well-stocked FAQ page. Luckily, Blue Apron has answers to almost any question you may have, whether it’s about changing your plan, finding your tracking information, or learning more about the ingredients in your recipes.
If you can’t troubleshoot your issues in the FAQ section, it’s easy to get in touch with a Blue Apron representative at any time. You can reach out by email, phone, or simply by filling out a help request form.
Keep in mind that the phone lines have limited hours, but representatives are available every day of the week: 10 am to 9 pm (EST) on Monday to Friday, and 11 am to 6 pm (EST) Saturday to Sunday.
$3.24 per serving
2 recipes per week: $29.97 (including shipping)
Blue Apron’s pricing structure keeps it on par with major competitors like Home Chef and HelloFresh, and I think Blue Apron offers a lot of bang for your buck. Blue Apron’s diverse menu and quality ingredients are comparable to much more expensive meal kits.
Like most other services, the starting price of $3.24 per serving is for the largest order (four servings for four people). But the price-per-serving on two-person plans still comes in at a reasonable $8.99-$9.99.
As well as the weekly shipping fee, there are a few things that might bump prices up further. Firstly, the customizations available on the Signature plans aren’t free. These swaps add an additional cost, ranging from $0.95 per serving to $5.95 per serving.
Blue Apron also offers Premium and Craft recipes if you want to knock your cooking up a notch. These recipes come with a heftier price tag (from $13.99 to $19.99 per serving), but they’re optional, and totally worth it if you want to splurge for a special occasion with restaurant-quality food.
To give you an idea of what these pricier meals have to offer, the Seared NY Strip Steaks and Chimichurri with Roasted Zucchini and Quinoa Salad pictured above starts at $19.99 per serving, but you get a generous portion of protein (10oz steak) and elevated ingredients like Peruvian peppers and roasted almonds.
I’m a big fan of Blue Apron’s service. It’s streamlined like a well-oiled machine, and the prices are good value for the quality of ingredients. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the best overall meal kits on the market right now.
While there are some less expensive options out there, none of them offer the variety of meals and quality of ingredients that you get with Blue Apron. In my opinion, Blue Apron is absolutely worth the money.
Add to that the option to splurge on Premium recipes or save time with its prepared meals, and it’s easy to see why Blue Apron suits a lot of different people.
Blue Apron’s meals start at $3.24 per serving, but the average cost per portion is closer to $8.99. You also have to factor in shipping, which is $9.99. If you order three recipes (for two people) from the Signature plan, for example, your total cost is $63.93 after shipping.
Blue Apron delivers recipes and ingredients to your door every week, so you can plan your meals and exercise your culinary skills at home. Once you sign up, it’s easy to pick and choose which recipes you’d like to receive.
When it’s time for dinner, follow along with the easy-to-read recipe cards and a delicious meal will be on the table in around 30 minutes!
Annoyingly, Blue Apron still requires you to email its customer experience team in order to cancel your membership. You can skip shipments up to five weeks in advance via your account on the website, but you won’t be able to unsubscribe without talking to a real person.
Our guide on how to cancel Blue Apron goes into more detail about the easiest way to end your subscription.