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Blue Apron Review 2023: Is It Really As Good As It Claims?

Written by: Felicity Kay on Jan 30th, 2023

Overview

I’ve tried many different meal kits and I’ve found that most fall into two camps: those with tons of variety for a premium price, and those that offer a more limited menu but are more affordable. There always seems to be a tradeoff between price and variety. 

But Blue Apron sits in that sweet spot between varied meals and reasonable prices. Throughout my research, I was impressed by the quality of Blue Apron’s menu – it certainly lives up to the hype. 

It’s great for families and anyone looking to put weeknight meals on autopilot. The only people who might struggle with Blue Apron are those following niche diets such as 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 night after night, then this may be just the service for you…

Pros

  • Exciting, internationally-inspired recipes

  • Dedicated Wellness plan for healthier options

  • Beyond Meat options for vegetarian dishes

  • Optional wine delivery

  • Current deal: Enjoy $130 off across your first 6 orders

Cons

  • No real offerings for specialized diets

  • Some recipes require a lot of pots and pans

  • No filter to easily exclude allergens or ingredients

What’s on the Blue Apron Menu

What I love most about Blue Apron's menu is the variety of cuisines on offer. As well as some classic American dishes (often with a twist), you can expect to find internationally-inspired flavors each week, from Basil Pesto Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Pistachio Breadcrumbs to Spicy Pork Udon and Greek-Style Feta Burgers.

Blue Apron’s menu is sorted into five categories:

  • Chef Favorites – the test kitchen’s ‘top picks’ and popular dishes

  • Wellness – nutritionist-approved and WW-recommended meals

  • Family Friendly – suitable for children and picky eaters

  • Fast & Easy – convenient options and prepared meals

  • Veggies – meat-free dishes

These categories are just for the sake of organization and to help Blue Apron recommend dishes to you. You can state your preferences, but your subscription gives you access to the whole menu – a total of 19 entrees each week.

There are usually only four or five veggie meals per week, which doesn’t leave a lot of choice for people who don’t eat meat. Having said that, all of the vegetarian options look really appealing so as long as you’re not fussy, you'll be fine. 

You'll find exciting flavor combinations that you may not expect to work together, too – like the Shawarma-Spiced Squash and Farro Bowl with Marinated Pear, Feta, and Mint.

Blue Apron's Shawarma-Spiced Squash and Farro Bowls

This Middle Eastern-inspired vegetarian dish is ready in under forty minutes.

It's safe to say, if you're fairly adventurous when it comes to trying new flavors or you like experimenting with new ingredients, Blue Apron’s meals are varied enough to keep things interesting and the weekly changing menu means you’ll never get bored.

Plus, Blue Apron offers customizable swaps and add-ons for several recipes each week. This might involve adding spicy sausage to a veggie pasta dish or swapping thinly sliced beef for flank steaks. These customizations do come at an additional cost, but more on that later… 

Screengrab of Blue Apron's customization menu.

Upgrade your meals for just a few extra dollars per serving.

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 Quick Prep meal kits, which includes several sheet pan and one-pot recipes.

Some dishes have a “Ready to Cook” label, which means all the ingredients are chopped and prepped for you. These recipes even include a recyclable oven-proof dish, so all you have to do is assemble and bake. 

The company also offers three Heat & Eat meals per week for nights when even a one-pan dinner feels like too much effort. Pop one in the microwave, and it’s ready in minutes. You get two to four single-serving trays of each Heat & Eat meal you order, and there’s a $1 upcharge per serving.

Since Blue Apron only offers three (or sometimes four) Heat & Eat meals each week, I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who only wants prepared meals. That said, I love having the option to include one or two of these convenient meals for particularly busy weeks.

Blue Apron's heat and eat Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry

Blue Apron's prepared meals are ready to heat and enjoy in a matter of minutes.

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 ideal for grilling. It’s a great option if you want to try out Blue Apron’s food 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…

Blue Apron Wine Delivery

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys wine with your dinner, you’ll love Blue Apron’s optional wine subscription. It’s the only meal delivery service I’ve seen that offers this, so if you’re looking for both food and wine delivery, you won’t find a better option than Blue Apron.

You can order bottles à la carte, but the real magic lies in the option to pair the wine with your meals. 

Screengrab of a Blue Apron recipe page emphasizing the wine pairing notes.

Blue Apron recipes include guidance on creating wine pairings.

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 at affordable prices. The wine arrives in specially designed 500ml bottles, which are around two-thirds the size of a regular bottle and work out perfect for two to share with dinner.  

Unboxing

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 food for the week.

In addition to all the ingredients, you’ll find handy, clearly formatted recipe cards. You can also download them from Blue Apron’s website if you prefer to use your phone or tablet in the kitchen. 

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.

Screengrab from Blue Apron's recycling information page displaying items that must be thrown away.

Blue Apron and other meal delivery services produce a lot of garbage.

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 is 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, other services I’ve reviewed use paper bags instead of plastic for most of their ingredients. This is one way to implement more eco-friendly packaging, but it will be interesting to see how Blue Apron tackles this issue in the future.

I was pleased with Blue Apron’s commitment to using humanely-sourced proteins and sustainably-grown produce from small farms. You won’t find many organic ingredients on the menu, but everything is hormone-free and of high quality.

Cooking with Blue Apron

Blue Apron has meals to suit every skill level. The Premium recipes give you the opportunity to flex your culinary muscles with more complex dishes, but you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to enjoy any of 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 on the website. Most kits take around 25 to 35 minutes, which is pretty standard, but I’ve found some meals can take longer – especially for beginners. 

The cards themselves include a variety of extra information, too, from wine pairing instructions to a code you can scan to automatically log your WW points. 

Fast & Easy recipes can be prepared quickly and often only use one or two utensils, such as a sheet pan. Blue Apron’s Heat & Eat meals are even simpler, and need only be microwaved for a few minutes.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

Blue Apron's Garlic & Herb Pasture-Raised Chicken

Premium ingredients and advanced cooking techniques result in a restaurant-quality dinner.

The Garlic and Herb Pasture-Raised Chicken with Pancetta Potatoes and Green Bean Salad is one of Blue Apron’s Premium meal kit offerings. This recipe calls for some extra care and attention – like loosening the chicken skin for extra crispiness – making it a great option for home cooks who want a challenge.

Blue Apron’s Premium meals come with a premium price tag though (this particular dish is $18.99 per serving). The occasional splurge on a Premium recipe, however, lets you indulge in ingredients like pancetta, verjus blanc, and high-quality, pasture-raised chicken. They’re ideal for dinner parties, date nights, or special occasions. 

Blue Apron's Greek-Style Veggie Pitas

This vegetarian take on classic Greek flavors is ready in just 25 minutes.

These Veggie Pitas with Lemon-Dressed Broccoli are a perfect example of the simple but tasty weeknight dinners that Blue Apron provides. All you need to cook the components of this dish are a couple sheet pans! This results in a 25-minute meal that’s easy to prep and clean up without sacrificing taste.

Blue Apron’s prepared spice blends make it a cinch to add a zesty punch of flavor. Add to this some marinated feta and the prepared tangy tzatziki, and you’ve got yourself a dish that will impress everyone at the table.

Blue Apron's Heat & Eat Romesco Chicken Bowl

 Ready in just a few minutes, this Heat & Eat meal is big on flavor as well as convenience.

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. 

Even this microwavable Romesco Chicken Bowl doesn’t skimp on flavor. The dish, inspired by classic Spanish cuisine, includes bell peppers, olives, and romesco sauce. As a bonus, this dish is also low-carb and part of Blue Apron’s health-forward Wellness menu.

One small critique I have is that the Heat & Eat meals tend to be smaller portions compared to the meal kits. They come in at 300 to 500 calories per serving, which is good for dieters but not so much for a hungry person like me! 

Thankfully, Blue Apron’s meal kits tend to have rather generous portions, so I’ll stick to the 600 to 800 calorie meals for dinner, and maybe save the Heat & Eat meals for lunch.

Shipping & Delivery

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.

Subscription

How to Sign Up for Blue Apron

Blue Apron’s subscription model is straightforward and easy to use. It’s particularly easy to start the process, too. You’ll see links to Sign Up or Get Started peppered all over the website, which will lead you into the steps below: 

  1. Create an account with your email address. It’s as easy as typing in your email address or signing in with Facebook or Apple.

  1. Choose your plan and serving size. The price you pay will vary depending on your choice of plan and how many meals and servings you want to receive each week.

  1. 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 over choosing a date at this stage.

  1. Input your payment and select your meals. Once you put in all the boring stuff like your address and payment information, you finally get to pick out the meals you want in your first shipment. 

Managing Your Subscription

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.

Screengrab of Blue Apron's delivery management page, showing how to skip a week.

You can skip a week or make other adjustments to your deliveries at the touch of a button.

Like most of its competitors, Blue Apron also has an app you can download to your phone or tablet. This adds an extra level of convenience, as you can make all these changes from your device. 

Customer Service

As someone who can’t stand being on hold to a customer service representative, I’m a big fan of a well-versed 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.

Screengrab of Blue Apron's FAQ page

Blue Apron's FAQ page makes it easy to find the answer to nearly any question you may have about the service.

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 by filling out a help request form. 

I will say, I wish Blue Apron had some sort of chat function. Many of its competitors, offer live and/or automated customer service chat on their respective websites. I find this to be the speediest way to get answers.

Since Blue Apron doesn’t offer this feature, I had to call its helpline to ask my question about meal customization. I didn’t have to wait long to speak to someone – and the interaction was pleasant enough – but my Millennial phone anxiety had me longing for a chat option! 

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 and Sunday.

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$5.74 per serving

2 recipes for 2 people per week: $57.95 (including shipping) 

$9.99

Blue Apron’s pricing structure keeps it on par with major competitors, and I think Blue Apron offers a lot of bang for your buck. Its diverse menu and quality ingredients are comparable to much more expensive meal kits.

Blue Apron’s starting price of $5.74 per serving is based on the largest order (four meals for four people per week) and the current discount. But the price-per-serving on two-person plans still comes in at a pretty reasonable $9.49 to $11.99.

As well as the shipping fee, there are a few things that might bump prices up further. Firstly, the customizations aren’t free. These swaps cost anywhere 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 come with a heftier price tag (from $13.99 to $19.99 per serving), but they’re optional. In my opinion, the quality is totally worth it if you want to splurge for a special occasion. 

Blue Apron's Mexican Strip Steaks & Jalapeño-Cilantro Sauce

For an extra fee, you can enjoy premium meals like this Mexican-inspired steak dish.

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 high-quality protein (10oz steak) and elevated ingredients like Peruvian peppers and roasted almonds.

Lastly, wine prices start at $11 per bottle. If you want to order a box of wine separate from a meal delivery, it comes out to just $75.99 (shipping included) for a case of six bottles.

The Bottom Line: Is Blue Apron Worth It?

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 meal kits on the market right now.

While there are some less expensive options out there, none of them offer the variety and quality of ingredients that you get with Blue Apron. In my opinion, Blue Apron is absolutely worth the money (even more so if you try it out using our current coupon code – Enjoy $130 off across your first 6 orders). 

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.

FAQ

How much does Blue Apron actually cost?

When I researched Blue Apron’s prices, meals started at $5.74 per serving with our special discount, but the average cost per portion is closer to $8.99. Shipping is an extra $9.99 per week. If you order three recipes (for two people) from the Signature plan, for example, your total cost is $69.93.

How do Blue Apron Meals work?

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

Simply follow the easy-to-read recipe cards and a delicious meal will be on the table in around 30 minutes. There are also prepared Heat-and-Eat meals available.

How do you cancel a Blue Apron subscription?

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 walks you through the process in three quick steps.

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!
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