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Fresh and Easy Review 2022: Is This The Simplest Meal Plan Ever?

Written by: Joey Kendrick on Nov 22nd, 2022

Overview 

I’ve been a fan of Home Chef for a while now so I was excited to try out Fresh and Easy, a special line of meals by Home Chef. 

Its prices are the same as Home Chef (starting from $6.99), but the main difference here is that Fresh and Easy meals require much less time and effort for prep, cooking, and cleanup. 

I took a deeper look at Fresh and Easy to see if it really delivers on this promise. TL;DR: you’ll save loads of time and hassle!

Getting a Fresh and Ready meal on the table rarely takes more than 15 to 20 minutes. The longest recipes take around 30 minutes, but most of that is just cook-time in the oven. There is next to no prep involved.

Ingredients come prepped and portioned so there’s no washing, weighing, peeling, slicing, or dicing. Many meals also come with a disposable oven-ready container so you can get cooking within a few seconds and not have to worry about washing up. 

The only slight downside to Fresh and Easy is that it doesn’t cater to niche diets like vegan or paleo. And while you can easily filter for common allergens in the menu, most of the dishes contain wheat or dairy, so if you’re intolerant to either of those, you might not be left with a lot of choice.

If you don’t have any major dietary restrictions though, Fresh and Easy can be a real gamechanger. Home Chef quality meals with almost no prep or cleanup? Yes please!

Pros

  • Speedy, fool-proof recipes

  • Order up to six meals a week

  • Most proteins are customizable

  • Mix-and-match serving sizes

  • Current dealGet 16 Free Meals!

Cons

  • Lots of plastic, which may not be recyclable in your area 

  • Lack of support for niche diets

  • No single-person plan

Fresh and Easy Is Best For

  • Busy lifestyles

  • New or reluctant chefs

  • Those with small kitchens or lacking equipment

Fresh and Easy May Not Be Great For

  • Vegans

  • People with multiple allergies or intolerances 

  • People who want more complex recipes

What’s on the Fresh and Easy Menu

Because Fresh and Easy is a sub-brand of Home Chef, you can trust that both services follow the same ingredient standards. 

The key difference is that, while Home Chef’s plan includes a broader selection of 30- and 60-minute meal kits, the Fresh and Easy plan is exclusively made up of low-prep meals that come portioned, chopped, and pretty much ready to cook. 

Here are some of the Fresh and Easy meal types:

  • Fast & Fresh – ready meals you can heat in the microwave or oven

  • Oven-Ready – dishes that just need to be assembled in the oven-safe aluminum tray provided

  • 15-Minute Meal Kits – like traditional meal kits, only speedier

  • Salads – simply toss the ingredients together and enjoy fresh

  • Extras – prepared desserts, bread, protein bundles, and more 

As someone with a varied schedule, I appreciate that Fresh and Easy offers a range of meal types. Some days I only have time to zap a prepared meal in the microwave, while on less busy nights, I like to whip up something simple. 

I especially love being able to cook for myself with the 15-Minute Meal Kits. They’re a great way to enjoy being in the kitchen without having to dedicate too much time or energy.

Not only are there different types of meals, but you also have plenty of customization options for individual dishes. This is thanks to Home Chef’s signature Customize It swaps. 

Most dishes on the menu offer protein swaps, letting you take advantage of Home Chef’s high quality, humanely-sourced proteins like steak, shrimp, and organic chicken breasts. (Fast & Fresh meals are excluded from this, as they come already prepared.)

Let’s take a look at how this works with Fresh and Easy’s Creamy Steak and Chipotle Ranch Pasta dish, which is one of the Oven-Ready options:

Screengrab of Fresh and Easy's menu with Customize It swaps highlighted

Swap steak for seafood with Fresh and Easy's Customize It options

If you don’t want steak, it’s easy to swap in chicken or shrimp instead. And if you love steak, you can order a double portion!

Organic meat and poultry are also often available as an upgrade for many of the meals, as well as vegan Impossible Burger, which is a great way to expand the limited (around three) veggie items on the menu each week. 

However, be aware these swaps aren’t free and they’ll increase the price of your dish. If budget is a factor, you won’t want to get too swap-happy.

Screengrab of Fresh and Easy's menu with Customize It opened and certain options highlighted

I like how Fresh and Easy has a good range of swaps per recipe, from organic meat to vegan alternatives

The menu changes weekly, and you can browse menus for the next few weeks in advance. 

And remember, even if you select the Fresh and Easy plan when you sign up, you’ll actually have access to Home Chef’s entire menu. This means you can add Home Chef’s more-elaborate meal kits, including deluxe dishes from the Culinary Collection, to any order.

Here's a sample of what you might see on the weekly menu: 

Easy prep meal kit section of the Home Chef menu

Interestingly, the menu is arranged by meal kit type rather than cuisine

There are usually around 14-15 Easy Prep meals in total: around four 15-Minute Meal Kits, five Oven-Ready dishes, and another five or so Fast & Fresh microwaveable meals. 

If you’re only browsing the Fresh and Easy plan (as opposed to the full Home Chef menu), you may find this a little restrictive, especially if you’re ordering five or six meals a week, or have any dietary restrictions.

It’s easy to filter through the menu for allergies. Look for the More Filters option, which allows you to exclude common allergens like wheat, milk, egg, soy, and tree nuts.  

Fresh and Easy doesn’t cater to specific diets like keto or paleo, but some of its meals may qualify anyway. Look out for the heart and bread icons on the menu, which show you which dishes are classified as Calorie-Conscious (less than 625 calories per serving) and Carb-Conscious (less than 35 grams per serving). 

Screengrab of the Fresh and Easy menu with icons highlighted

Keep an eye out for the heart and bread icons for low-calorie and low-carb dishes

This brings me to one drawback – Fresh and Easy’s nutrition chart is quite minimal.

screengrab of a Fresh and Easy recipe with the nutrition box highlighted

Not a lot to see here in Fresh and Easy's Nutrition table...

It definitely gets points for being well organized and easy to find (the same info is also printed on the recipe cards), but it’s nowhere near as detailed as other services like Blue Apron.

Other services include a more thorough breakdown for each dish, including details on trans fats, added sugars, fiber, cholesterol, and daily requirements for vitamins and minerals. If you have any specialized dietary needs, this information can be vital.

An image showing Blue Apron's nutritional facts label

It's useful how Blue Apron highlights the difference between "As packaged" and "As prepared"

The information Fresh and Easy does include is at least useful and easy to access. Beyond the basic nutritional table, Fresh and Easy recipes also display information on allergens, cook times, spice level, and a difficulty level.

Screengrab of fresh and easy mojo pork tacos recipe with difficulty and spice level highlighted

See how difficult or spicy a recipe is at a glance

As you might expect, most Fresh and Easy recipes are categorized as Easy (it’s right there in the name!) but I did find the occasional 15-Minute Meal Kit that fell into the Intermediate category, so it’s worth checking. 

On the website, you’ll also find:

  • The full, step-by-step recipe with images

  • Instruction variations for Customize It swaps

  • A list of ingredients from your box

  • A list of additional items or ingredients you’ll already need to own (pans, olive oil, etc)

Screengrab of a Fresh and Easy recipe showing Customize It instructions and the first two steps

Most recipes start with any variations you might need to know for the Customize It swaps

It’s pretty great that you can access the full recipe online. If you ever fancy cooking without a meal delivery service one week, you can still use the Fresh and Easy website for ideas! Plus, all of the same information appears on the recipe card that comes with your delivery. 

Overall, I’m a pretty big fan of Fresh and Easy’s menu. It changes every week, and with all the customization options available, you’ll never get bored. Plus, you can order from Home Chef’s wider menu if you ever want more options (even though they aren’t as fast to prepare).

In fact, when my colleague reviewed Home Chef’s meal kits, she was surprised at how well the recipes turned out – and Fresh and Easy’s three-step instructions are even simpler!

The only real downside, as I’ve mentioned, is a notable lack of vegetarian and other diet-friendly options. If you eat an omnivorous diet and don’t have any restrictions, though, I think you’ll find that you have plenty of variety with Fresh and Easy.

Unboxing

Seeing a large, Home Chef-branded cardboard box on your doorstep can only mean one thing: your long-awaited Fresh and Easy shipment has arrived! 

When you open it up, you can expect to find:

  • Recyclable foil pans and/or grill bags

  • Ingredients sealed in separate plastic bags or containers

  • Recipe cards 

  • Reusable ice packs and an insulated liner to keep ingredients cold and fresh

Fresh and Easy puts a lot of thought into the way it packs its ingredients. Meats are vacuum-sealed to guarantee freshness, and herbs are delivered in small boxes so they don’t get bruised or squished. 

Basically, you can expect your ingredients to arrive as fresh and intact as if you’d picked them up at the grocery store yourself.

The aluminum oven-ready pan was also really sturdy – and it saves on washing up one of your own pans, too! Always a bonus. 

Really, my only issue with the packaging was the eco aspect. The biggest problem facing the meal kit delivery industry is undoubtedly the amount of waste involved, and I’m sorry to say Fresh and Easy is possibly one of the worst offenders in that respect. 

More and more, I’m seeing meal delivery services making an effort to reduce the amount of plastic in their packaging. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the amount of plastic Fresh and Easy used. The ingredients for each dish came in a plastic bag and most ingredients were then wrapped inside another layer of plastic.

Screengrab of Home Chef's recycling FAQ page with plastic section highlighted

When it comes to recycling, not all plastics are created equal...

Other companies, such as HelloFresh, have long since made the move to recyclable paper bags for much of their packaging, so it’s discouraging to see Fresh and Easy using so much plastic. Instead, the company puts the onus on you to find a place to recycle everything. 

Unfortunately, a lot of cities don’t have good resources for recycling the types of plastics used, so much of it will likely be thrown away.

Cooking with Fresh and Easy

Standard meal kits already make cooking a cinch, but Fresh and Easy’s recipes truly take out any potential room for error. It’s ideal for time-poor or beginner cooks (I fall in both those camps). 

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

Here are a few of my recommended dishes:

Fresh and Easy's Apricot Mostarda Pork Chop with White Cheddar and Bacon Broccoli

You'll need two pans and just 10-15 minutes to whip up this Apricot Mostarda Pork Chop

The Apricot Mostarda Pork Chop with White Cheddar and Bacon Broccoli is one of Fresh and Easy’s 15-Minute Meal Kits and can be completely cooked on the stovetop – you won’t even need to turn on the oven.

What’s “Mostarda”, you ask? I had no idea before this recipe came into my life either. It’s basically a combination of apricot and mustard, and it’s genius. It gives the pork a sweet yet tart flavor that’s way better than your average applesauce. 

Creamy Steak and Chipotle Ranch Pasta with Corn and Parmesan

I've been known to eat the oven-ready dishes straight out of the pan to save on even more washing up...

The Oven-Ready dishes from Fresh and Easy are my personal favorites to cook. They require a bit of assembly and turning the oven on, so it still feels like cooking – but I don’t need to worry about my lack of kitchen skills! Plus, you get all the rich flavor of an oven-cooked dish. 

One of my favorites has to be the Creamy Steak and Chipotle Ranch Pasta with Corn and Parmesan. I love pasta bakes. The only equipment you need is the provided pan – first, you bake the steak, then add in the pasta and cheese, and bake some more. It’s that easy.

Citrus BBQ Pork Tacos with Pineapple

I might not like pineapple on pizza but I gotta tell you, it really works in these tacos

Tacos are one of my favorite weeknight dishes and they don’t get any easier than this Fast & Fresh variation. For the Citrus BBQ Pork Tacos with Pineapple, you microwave the filling for 4-5 minutes, then the tacos for 30-60 seconds, then top with slaw and garnish. It’s so quick, even ordering takeout would take longer!

Shipping & Delivery 

Fresh and Easy ships to 98% of the continental USA (sorry, Alaska and Hawaii). You’ll need your zip code to sign up and if there are any issues delivering to your area, you’ll see an error message and you won’t be able to complete the registration. 

Just like Home Chef, Fresh and Easy lets you pick a default delivery day for your shipments. Your options may vary depending on where you live, but in general, you can choose any day Monday through Friday. 

Fresh and Easy doesn’t offer weekend delivery like some of its competitors, but many other meal kit delivery services don’t offer nearly as much flexibility. Unless weekend delivery is a must for you, Fresh and Easy has you covered.

You can’t select what time of day your delivery arrives, but this is rarely an issue. Even if your order is delivered at midday, and you won’t be home until the evening, everything is guaranteed to remain nice and chilled thanks to the ice packs and insulation.

Screengrab of Fresh and Easy delivery dates on a drop-down list

Choose the day that works best for you each week

The carrier might vary depending on where you live. If it’s FedEx, you’ll get handy text message updates with tracking info. 

screengrab of FedEx text messages and tracking information for a Home Chef delivery

You’ll get one text from FedEx the day before and two the day of the delivery

If you’re not in, they’ll leave your package in a safe spot. If you live in an apartment or on a busy street, you might want to consider where your order can be left. 

Subscription

How to Sign Up for Fresh and Easy

Since Fresh and Easy is part of meal kit delivery giant Home Chef, the sign-up process is the same. I’ll walk you through it step by step. 

  1. Select your plan and preferences: The first screen will ask you to choose between the main Home Chef plan or the Fresh and Easy plan. At this stage, you can also select low-carb or low-calorie preferences and highlight any “foods to avoid” from a basic list, including pork, beef, shellfish, and tree nuts. 

Screen grab of Home Chef sign up process choose your plan

This is the only screen that will mention Fresh and Easy as a separate plan

  1. Enter your email and zip code to get started: As I mentioned earlier, if you live outside of the delivery area, it will let you know at this stage. You can also sign in with your Grocery account.

Screen grab of Home Chef sign up process enter your email

You'll find out here if Fresh and Easy delivers to your area

  1. Choose your order size: Select how many diners and recipes you want per week. Fresh and Easy will give you a guide price based on an average per-serving price of $8.99 plus shipping. (Your final price will depend on your chosen meals and customizations.) 

Screen grab of Home Chef sign up process build a box

Decide how many Fresh and Easy meals you need per week

  1. Add your delivery details: You’ll also need a valid phone number.

Screen grab of Home Chef sign up process delivery

Pick the date for your first delivery – this isn't easy to reschedule so choose carefully!

  1.  Add billing details: You can pay by credit card or Paypal. Fresh and Easy will tell you exactly when your payment will be taken (this relates to the date you’ve picked for your first order). This is also the stage to add any discount codes, like our current deal: Get 16 Free Meals!

It’s a bit annoying that you have to complete the checkout process before you can see your recommended meals and pick what you want. However, you can see the weekly menu without signing up so there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises.

Screen grab of Home Chef sign up process set up payment method

I like that you have the option to pay by Paypal as well as credit card

  1. Add more preferences: Once you’re in, you can answer a few optional questions to create your Taste Profile. This helps customize your future meal recommendations, but you can still change these at any time (more on that next).
    You’ll already have Fresh and Easy meals set as a preference, which just means you won’t automatically be recommended meals from Home Chef’s wider menu.

Screengrab of Home Chef additional diet preferences with omnivore highlighted

Filling out your Taste Profile will get you better recommendations

  1. Now it’s time to pick your meals! After you sign up, consider downloading the Home Chef app. This lets you manage your account and your weekly orders in an instant from your mobile device!

Managing Your Subscription

It’s easy to keep on top of your Fresh and Easy subscription. You can skip a week at the click of a button. Navigate to Your Upcoming Orders to see your orders listed by date. Click the Skip Week button to cancel that week’s order. If you change your mind, just hit Unskip.

Screengrab of Home Chef scheduled delivery with skip button highlighted

It couldn't be easier to edit your meals or skip a week

This is also where you can change your meals by clicking Edit Meals. To remove a meal, click the green Remove button (or Trash icon in the app). Then to add a meal, click Add to Order. On many recipes, you’ll also have the Customize It option

You’ll automatically have meals from the Fresh and Easy line added but you can swap these out with any meals on the current Home Chef menu. 

One cool thing about Fresh and Easy is that you can also adjust the serving sizes on individual recipes. Other services make you commit to a two-person or four-person plan, for example, but here you can mix and match serving sizes within one order.

To change your delivery day, hit Manage Delivery under the order date. You can even change the delivery address for a certain week, which is useful if you’re out of town but you still want your regular order of meals.

You have to skip or make meal changes by 12 PM CST on the Friday before the scheduled delivery week. Be sure to double-check you’ve saved your changes.

Canceling your first order is a bit more complicated. This is because it’s scheduled automatically when you sign up. To skip your first order, simply remove all of the meals from that order. When the deadline arrives, Fresh and Easy’s system will recognize the order as empty and will automatically cancel it for you.

screenshot showing rescheduling my first order option in the help center dropdown menu

You'll have to get in touch with the support team to change your first order

To reschedule your first order, you’ll have to contact the support team and select Rescheduling My First Order in the dropdown menu.

Customer Service

Clicking on FAQs & Support will lead you to the help center page, where you’ll see a whole range of articles and a handy search bar. 

I’ll admit it’s a little confusing that Fresh and Easy doesn’t have its own FAQ page – it’s not always clear if the answers apply to both services or just to Home Chef.

Screengrab of Home Chef's "What is Customize It" FAQ page

As Fresh and Easy shares a help center with Home Chef, it's hard to find answers specific to the Fresh and Easy plan

Getting in touch with customer support is a different matter though. For that, you need to scroll all the way down to the bottom and find the note that says: “Can’t find what you’re looking for? We’re here to help!” 

screenshot of Home Chef's Contact Us button at the bottom of the FAQ page

Fresh and Easy clearly wants you to check through the FAQs before reaching out with a question!

Click on the hyperlink and you’ll land on this page:

Screenshot of Home Chef's Reach Out page and form

I prefer an email address to an online form, but there's also a number if you want to speak to an actual person

Like the rest of the support pages, this page is also Home Chef branded – but you’re definitely in the right place and the team will be able to answer your questions about the Fresh and Easy line. 

I decided to call, and after about 20 seconds I was connected to the lovely Katie (who even managed to get my rather complicated email address spelled correctly the first time). She helped me with my questions, and I left the conversation satisfied with my experience. 

Besides the confusing fact that Fresh and Easy’s customer service is really just Home Chef’s customer service, the support it provides is overall quite thorough.

When it comes to refunds, Fresh and Easy is quite fair – it’s not easy to find the information though. I had to scroll through the fine print of Home Chef’s terms to work out the company’s policy. 

If you’re not 100% satisfied with your meals, Fresh and Easy does offer refunds. It’s up to the company whether you get a full refund or just a refund for the defective portion of your order.

You’ll need to email support@homechef.com within seven days of delivery explaining the situation and requesting either credit or a refund. Refunds are provided using the same method of payment you use for your account.  

If you have more concerns about the service – or if you’re thinking about ending your subscription – you can find more information in our guide on How to Cancel Fresh and Easy (it’s the same process as canceling Home Chef). I promise you it’s pretty straightforward! 

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$6.99 per portion

2 meals per week for 2 people: $35.96 

$7.99 to $13.99

Fresh and Easy’s prices start from $6.99 per serving, but realistically the salads are the only meals at that price. Most dishes start at $8.99 per serving.

That’s not to say the $8.99 price tag is high. It’s actually quite affordable compared to many other meal delivery services. It’s close in price to alternatives like Blue Apron and HelloFresh while offering a much wider variety of easy-prep dishes.

Premium dishes, meanwhile, do come with a higher price tag. One example is the Teriyaki Grilled Salmon (pictured below). Since salmon is considered a premium ingredient, it’s on the more expensive side at $11.95 per serving.

Fresh and Easy's Teriyaki Grilled Salmon

At a slightly higher price point, the premium dishes give you restaurant-quality cuisine

Here’s how a week of Fresh and Easy looks in a few different scenarios: 

If you’re a couple ordering three meals a week, it’ll cost you around $53.94, plus $7.99 shipping. For a family of four eating four times a week, it’ll cost $143.84 (plus $7.99-$13.99 shipping). Lastly, if you order the maximum of six meals a week for six people, you’ll pay around $323.64, plus $7.99-$13.99 shipping.

Bear in mind, these prices are based on the average $8.99 per serving cost, they’ll be much higher if you add Customize It swaps. 

Interestingly, you don’t get a better price per serving the more you order like many other services, which means Fresh and Easy is actually better value for couples and smaller families than most other companies.

You can save money if you’re a student, first responder, teacher, or nurse and are registered with ID.Me. Currently, you can get a 50% discount off your first order, and 10% off subsequent orders – up to a maximum value of $60.

And don’t worry if you don’t fall into any of the above categories as you can also get a discount as a new customer with our current deal – Get 16 Free Meals!

There are a handful of cheaper meal kits out there but they require you to do all of the prep. For a convenient, low-prep option, I’ve not found anything more affordable than the Fresh and Easy range

Overall, I think the meals at Fresh and Easy are well worth the price. And if you feel like splurging on a dish or two, the option to customize your dinners with a premium protein is a welcome way to treat yourself.

The Bottom Line: Is Fresh and Easy Worth It? 

It’s hard not to love Fresh and Easy. For me, it strikes a great balance of ease and tastiness.

Perhaps most importantly, Fresh and Easy is at a sweet spot price-wise: it’s not so cheap that you question the quality of the ingredients, but it’s still one of the most affordable options out there. And there’s loads of flexibility when it comes to swaps and extras.

If you have a bit more time or want more variety, why not consider the full Home Chef range? It includes everything in the Fresh and Easy line as well as a selection of 30- and 60-minute meal kits. 

You can see how our reviewer got on when she tested out Home Chef – she even managed to cook a pretty impressive salmon dish!

Ultimately though, if you‘re after tasty, low-prep meals at a good price, you can’t go wrong with Fresh and Easy. 

FAQ

What is the difference between Home Chef and Fresh and Easy?

Fresh and Easy is a line of low-prep meals within the Home Chef brand. The Fresh and Easy menu includes speedy 15-minute meal kits, oven-ready dishes, and prepared Fast & Fresh meals. Compared to Home Chef’s standard 30-minute meal kits, Fresh and Easy meals are really simple to make and involve little to no prep.

If you choose the Fresh and Easy plan when you sign up with Home Chef, your preferences will automatically be set for these low-prep options, however you’ll still have access to the full Home Chef menu.

How much does Fresh and Easy cost?

Fresh and Easy’s starting price is $6.99 per serving. However, when I researched average Fresh and Easy prices, I found the cost per serving to be closer to $8.99. This varies depending on the exact dishes you order and how many customizations you make – organic swaps and double-ups will bump up the price. 

Are Fresh and Easy meals already cooked?

Some elements of the Fast & Fresh meals are precooked – like the pasta or rice – for speedier heating times. However, most meals in the Fresh and Easy range require some minimal assembly and cooking.

About The Author

Joey Kendrick
Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank
Joey is a writer based in New York City. He has covered many subjects, but food is his true passion. With his two cats as research assistants, he creates content for clients all over the world.
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