HelloFresh is one of the most popular meal delivery services in the country – you’ve likely seen the ads for it. 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.
HelloFresh offers at least 6 to 8 vegetarian recipes on its weekly menu of 60+ meals, so flexitarians like me are taken care of. While I’m not a strict vegetarian, I do prefer to center my meals around veggies.
It’s hard to knock my experience with this service, despite my not being a great cook. 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
Great for beginners
Current deal – 18 free meals + first box ships free + 3 surprise gifts with code DR18HF
Few plant-based meals
Few allergen accommodations
HelloFresh’s weekly menu offers 60+ meal kit recipes and is organized into 6 categories, making it easy to choose recipes that suit your taste and lifestyle.
The 6 categories you can choose from include:
Meat & Veggies
Fit & Wholesome
Quick and Easy
You’ll also be able to choose from extras and sides in the Marketplace once you’ve confirmed your order size and plan category and entered your payment information. HelloFresh only provides dinners and a few meals called 10-Minute Lunches. You won’t find any breakfasts on the menu.
HelloFresh initially selects recipes for you based on your chosen plan(s). And if you forget to choose your own meals one week, HelloFresh will do it for you so you don’t miss your weekly delivery. Otherwise, the plan categories are more like menu organizers than they are limitations on what meals you can choose. You can mix and match between plans in any way you like.
HelloFresh has continually expanded its meatless offerings since it started. When HelloFresh first started, the vegetarian options were pretty limited. I ordered from the Veggie and Pescatarian plans and didn’t find much variety. Now, however, I’m much happier with the extended vegetarian and pescatarian recipes on the menu.
Is HelloFresh Good For This Diet?
Yes, there are many options
Yes, there’s a dedicated Veggie plan
Maybe, there are some options
Yes, there’s a dedicated Pescatarian plan
No, there are few options
Yes, the Fit & Wholesome plan accommodates low-calorie
No, there aren’t keto options
You can order between 2 and 6 recipes per week for either 2 or 4 people, regardless of the plan you choose. This is more or less on par with other mainstream meal delivery services. The prep time is noted on the main menu under each meal image and if you click on an image you’ll see the recipes marked as “Easy”, “Medium”, or “Hard.”
HelloFresh is a great choice for families with young children. The company makes a point of providing balanced yet crowd-pleasing comfort food dishes that will suit pickier eaters. The One-Pan Easy Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas, for example, would be popular with kids and grown-ups alike. Plus, the option to pick up to 6 meals per week is ideal for larger orders.You’ll also find some internationally-inspired dishes for more adventurous palates. For example, the Honey Miso Broccoli and Sweet Potato Donburi with Scallion Rice and Sriracha Mayo (pictured below) is a Korean-inspired dish.
With the HelloCustom option, you can swap out certain proteins or sides on a number of dishes. When I first ordered from HelloFresh, this feature wasn’t available. However, I find it super convenient since customizing the proteins and sides in my meals gives me more variety.
For example, the Meat & Veggies plan can be customized to omit beef, pork, or seafood. Home Chef has had this swapping feature for a while on its menu, so it’s great to see HelloFresh catching up!
However, HelloFresh doesn’t cater particularly well to certain diets, despite the customization options. If you have allergies or dietary restrictions, or you’re looking for keto, paleo, or plant-based meals, other services such as Green Chef could work better for you.
Plus, swapping proteins and sides adds an extra charge and isn’t available for all recipes. Swapping charges range from $0.99 – $3.49 per portion, depending on the ingredient you’re swapping.
Swapping also depends on ingredient availability. This means that while you might be able to swap chicken for salmon in a dish on the menu one week, you might not be able to the next time that dish is on the menu.
HelloFresh has taken steps to help people with intolerances or other food aversions. While you can’t swap particular ingredients you might be allergic to, dishes containing major allergens (like nuts, dairy, or soy) are clearly marked on the recipe cards.
One downside of HelloFresh’s extensive menu is that there aren’t menu filters. You have to browse recipes by eye and read each recipe card to determine which recipes might suit you. This can be annoying if you need to avoid particular ingredients, or are trying to stick to a certain diet.
Once you’ve entered your payment information, browsing the menu is easier. You can select a plan, which serves as a type of filter based on the plan category. However, you still can’t browse by allergen or ingredient.
Overall, all of my ingredients arrived perfectly fresh, despite the ice packs in my HelloFresh box being almost melted when it arrived just after noon. They were still cold, but things were starting to feel a little… moist.
Ingredients for each dish were contained within their own paper bag. This made storage easy and there was no guessing what goes with what. I’ve tried other meal kits where all the ingredients are simply dumped in the box, which was inconvenient and sometimes confusing. So, this was a massive plus for me!
Underneath, you’ll find the chilled proteins, which HelloFresh recommends freezing until a few hours before you want to cook them. Any other fresh ingredients should, of course, be kept in the refrigerator.
HelloFresh does a pretty good job of using recyclable packaging where possible. While the individually packaged ingredients and recipes are convenient, I often feel guilty about the extra use of paper and plastic.
I 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.
The recipe cards are big, bright, and easy to follow. I love recipe cards as I hate following instructions on my phone or computer while I’m cooking. Plus, these are perfect for saving and referring back to later on in case I want to try and remake a dish!
In addition to the written recipe, each card also contains full-color photos of every step, a complete list of the required utensils and pantry ingredients, and all prep and cooking time information.
The vegetables looked better than what I often see at the grocery store! Even though HelloFresh doesn’t offer many organic ingredients like its more expensive competitors do (e.g., Green Chef, which we wrote a full review about), the produce, proteins, and other ingredients looked high quality.
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 after trying them out – I believe it! All of the recipes I tried came together well in terms of prep and flavor.
The recipes come in 3 difficulty levels, ranging from easy and familiar meals to more complex dishes, so there’s something for everyone. The recipes I chose were a mix of Easy and Medium.
My only major complaint is that some of my chosen recipes 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 the washing up as much as possible.
One final note for people who live alone as I do: there’s no single-serving option. HelloFresh, like most meal kit services, provides enough ingredients for 2 servings per dish. You’ll typically only find single-serving options for prepared meal delivery services such as Factor.
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!
For my taste test, I selected 4 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.
Each meal I prepared was ready around the estimated time. 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 for ages for the rest to cook, but that wasn’t the case here. Each recipe came together really well.
The final results looked impressive and I was surprised I’d made such tasty meals. Despite some of the recipes sounding difficult (uh, am I even qualified to cook a Shawarma Chickpea Couscous Bowl?), each meal was straightforward to prepare.
I was tipped off by the Medium skill rating when it came to the Shawarma Chickpea Couscous Bowl that it might be more difficult to make, but it was hands-down my favorite dish of the week. There were a lot of moving parts, including peeling, chopping, mixing, and putting multiple pans into the oven. Some of the more labor-intensive techniques in this dish included making my own pickled shallots and mixing up a spicy sauce with harissa, yogurt, and sour cream.
However, the instructions were easy to follow and everything came together for a tasty final product. I was impressed that HelloFresh managed to pull off a vegetarian take on Shawarma, as this classic Middle Eastern street food traditionally features seasoned meats like lamb or chicken.
The next dish I cooked was from the Pescatarian menu. As someone who’s 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.
This recipe ended up taking slightly longer than the suggested 30 minutes. The work certainly wasn’t difficult – merely time-consuming and there was a fair amount of prep.
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, which might also help speed up the process.
The flavors and seasoning were spot on. I even saved some of the ginger-lime sauce to use on my salad the next day. Overall, I was really satisfied and proud of how this dish came out.
Order Size and Price (Before Shipping)
$12.49 per portion
2 meals for 2 people/week: $49.96
$9.99 per portion
3 meals for 2 people/week: $59.94
$9.79 per portion
4 meals for 2 people/week: $78.32
$9.79 per portion
5 meals for 2 people/week: $97.90
$9.79 per portion
6 meals for 2 people/week: $117.48
$9.79 per portion
2 meals for 4 people/week: $78.32
$9.49 per portion
3 meals for 4 people/week: $113.88
$9.29 per portion
4 meals for 4 people/week: $148.64
$9.29 per portion
5 meals for 4 people/week: $185.80
$8.99 per portion
6 meals for 4 people/week: $215.76
HelloFresh’s pricing keeps it pretty square in the middle of the pack. Going with a more expensive service, like Green Chef, allows you to choose meals personalized to your diet, while cheaper services offer more basic recipes with fewer ingredients.
Because of the way the price adjusts, the breakdown of costs can vary quite a bit. The lowest price per serving you’ll find is $3.32, but you’ll only pay that if you sign up to receive at least 6 meals per week for 4 people. The price per serving goes up for smaller orders.
Meal kits are often comparable in cost to buying your dinners from the supermarket. For reference, the average weekly grocery budget for a family of 4 each week is around $200. This does vary by location, but it’s a good comparison benchmark.
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: 18 free meals + first box ships free + 3 surprise gifts with code DR18HF. 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.
HelloFresh delivers anywhere in the continental United States. (Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii).
HelloFresh lets you choose your delivery day, which isn’t something every service allows. Doing so is one of the last steps you complete when you sign up, but I’ll walk you through the entire process later in the How to Sign Up section. You can also update your delivery day week by week if your schedule or preference changes.
There’s no way to specify a time, though, so just pick the day that works best for you. HelloFresh delivers anytime between 8 am and 8 pm. I work from home, so I just went with Monday. Even if you’re not in, the box is insulated enough so it can be left outside all day.
I was notified by email when my order had shipped. I expected a text message too – like I got when I tested Home Chef – but didn’t receive one. Still, I check my email often enough that it didn’t make a difference.
My order ended up arriving just after noon, despite the broad delivery window. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the box had arrived until I checked the tracking information on my computer. I’ve since learned that HelloFresh has an app, which makes it much easier to monitor your deliveries and I’ll use that next time.
If that’s not your thing, you can also set yourself up to receive text notifications directly from the courier service. HelloFresh uses FedEx, UPS, and some regional services. The courier service changes depending on where you live. Once you confirm your order, you’ll receive an email detailing your courier and tracking information.
It also turned 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!
Rescheduling or changing your delivery is easy through the app or through live chat. You just need to ensure you submit delivery change requests before the change deadline.
Changes for all orders need to be made by 11.59 pm PST 5 days prior to your next scheduled delivery.
To change anything for your first order, you’ll need to contact customer service. While this might seem like an inconvenience, this shouldn’t be a problem since HelloFresh has 24/7 live chat.
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 on HelloFresh’s home page.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 2 or 4 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 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 when you select a plan. 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.
The change request deadline is 11:59 pm PST, 5 days before your next scheduled order. You can pause, cancel, customize recipes, adjust your delivery day, or any other order details as long as you meet this deadline.
You can skip a week or pause your subscription with the touch of a button. Pausing your subscription is as easy as logging into your account and opening up your settings menu.
This page is also where you can select your meals. If you don’t choose your own meals (or pause your subscription) by the 5-day cutoff, HelloFresh will send you a selection of meals based on your chosen meal plan.
I had a very positive experience with customer service. HelloFresh’s customer support features include 24/7 live chat, an iOS- and Android-compatible app, a phone line, a chatbot, and an extensive and easily searchable FAQ section.
I was connected to a HelloFresh live chat agent within about 1 to 2 minutes every time I reached out. You can even contact the live customer support chat via the app on your mobile device, so a live agent is always just a few taps away.
HelloFresh also has a phone line available from 11 am to 7 pm EST, 7 days per week. This is also a useful way to connect with live customer support, but I still found 24/7 live chat the easiest way to resolve my order issues and get my questions answered.
There’s also a shortcut to easily report an issue with your shipment, such as a missing or damaged ingredient.
When I tried the live chat, it was immediately clear that I was chatting with a real person called Kyla. 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.
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good customer service experience. While Kyla wasn’t able to apply the full discount, she did refund me a partial amount and credited my account with the rest. Honestly, I couldn’t quite believe it.I also tested out what it’s like to pause or cancel your HelloFresh subscription and wrote about it in this short blog post.
The FAQ section is easy to navigate. 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’s FAQ section offers 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 needed.
Additionally, I found out that HelloFresh has an extensive recycling program, including a dedicated page to assist you in responsibly disposing of your packaging.
Blue Apron is a gourmet meal delivery service for those who want to get a little fancy and is one of our best meal kit delivery services of 2023. Meals are slightly more complex than HelloFresh’s, and you can try Blue Apron’s Wine Pairing service for those culinary nights in.
You’ll find Vegetarian, Weight-Watchers-approved, and Signature For 4 plans, so those hoping to eat more plants, lose weight, or cook for a family while enjoying gourmet recipes will find plenty of great options with this service. HelloFresh offers one more diet plan with its Pescatarian menu and a few more meal plans curated for easy prep. Blue Apron prices start at $5.74 per serving.
Green Chef is the best organic meal kit service out there right now. All its ingredients are non-GMO, and the produce is CCOF- and USDA-certified. Prices are higher than HelloFresh’s, starting at $5.99 per serving. However, you’ll find more diet-friendly options like the Keto, Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Protein Plus plans.
HelloFresh isn’t great for keto, gluten-free, or high-protein eaters, and it doesn’t prioritize ingredient quality as much, so Green Chef may be a better option for you if the price is right.
Home Chef is one of the most popular meal kit delivery services in the industry. It’s a bit more expensive since prices start at $7.99 per serving and vary by dish. Dietary plans are less varied than HelloFresh and only include Carb-Conscious and Calorie-Conscious.
Home Chef has a smaller menu than HelloFresh with around 30 recipes each week. However, it offers a unique range of low-prep meal kits, including 15-minute kits, oven-ready kits, and microwavable options.
I 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 tasty meals. Plus, the customer service I received was hands-down outstanding.
I think most people eating mainstream diets will be happy with HelloFresh meals. If you don’t eat meat or fish or have allergies, or you’re trying to stick to a certain type of health diet, you’ll probably feel like your choices are a tad limited.
HelloFresh continues to expand its diet and customization options, but it’s still not as accommodating as some more specialized meal delivery services. Of course, no company is ever perfect (and I can always find something to complain about).
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 6 plans to choose from, and 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.
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.
There are no single-serving options. During checkout you can choose to receive 2 to 6 portions per recipe for 2 or 4 people each week, so you can choose how much you want to receive from each recipe.
EveryPlate is owned by HelloFresh, which also owns organic meal kit service Green Chef. At EveryPlate, you’ll find a weekly menu and hearty portions but the meals are simpler to reflect the lower price. HelloFresh isn’t too expensive though and you'll have plenty of meal choices each week. You can read our full review of EveryPlate to see if it’s a better option for you.