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Blue Apron review

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3.75

Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery service that offers fresh, quality ingredients sourced directly from farms, importers and family-run purveyors. With over a decade in meal delivery, Blue Apron may be the best overall meal kit option for you if you’re willing to pay for a variety of nutritious and delicious globally inspired restaurant-quality meals.

Hold on! This isn’t some new investing app or a credit card that earns cash back, so why is our Money Under 30 editorial team putting decades of experience at work and reviewing it?

We noticed our talk on money related to eating out and groceries are popular topics so expanded on that and ordered all the top meal delivery service options to help you decide. Recipe options, quality, and price — our honest review on it all.

Quality Ingredients
Blue Apron

Blue Apron offers both meal kits you prepare yourself and heat-and-eat meals that are already fully cooked. Ingredients are sourced directly from family-run farms to ensure freshness and quality and recipes are curated by a team of professional chefs.

Offer: Enjoy 65% off of an order placed for the first week of your meal kit subscription—plus, free shipping the first week! You'll also receive 20% off of an order placed for the 2nd through 4th weeks.
Pros:
  • Highest-quality ingredients
  • Adventurous recipes foodies will love
  • Plenty of menu choices
Cons:
  • Not allergen-friendly
  • Excessive packaging
Select Plan
Offer is for new subscriptions only and varies by plan.

What is Blue Apron?

Blue Apron is one of the largest and best meal delivery kit services in the world, calling itself “the original American meal kit.” In the 10 years they have been in business, Blue Apron has delivered over 465 million meals across the continental U.S.

This meal delivery service prioritizes quality. Approximately 80% of their ingredients are sourced directly from food producers and farms, so they arrive at your doorstep fresh. Recipes are prepared by a team of experienced professional chefs who have put together a rotating list of over 70+ different meals.

Blue Apron offers both meal kits you prepare yourself and heat-and-eat meals that are already fully cooked. There are also a number of Market items and Add-ons to choose from if you want extra food and sides for the week.

As a carbon-neutral company, Blue Apron offsets carbon emissions created at every step of the production and fulfillment process. This includes supporting conservation initiatives, using green energy, and helping to prevent food waste with their meal kits.

Blue Apron pros & cons

Pros

  • Quality ingredients — Fresh produce and meat sourced directly from farms, importers and family-run purveyors.
  • Variety of options — Diverse meal selection includes 70+ weekly meal kit options to choose from.
  • Easy meal prep — Little cooking skill required for the most part.

Cons

  • Not allergen-friendly — No option to set dietary restrictions for allergies.
  • Packaging — Somewhat excessive use of non-recyclable plastic bags.

How does Blue Apron work?

To get started with Blue Apron, you need to sign up for a subscription and customize your plan through the website. The process is simple. You create an account and set your box preferences, choose your first meals, and wait patiently (or not, in my case) for your package to arrive.

To make it even EASIER for you, I’ve broken that process down even further:

Create your Blue Apron account

You can’t order Blue Apron without subscribing and making an account. To create your account, you’ll choose the following settings:

  • Your meal preferences and plan type (with Signature including recipes containing meat and recipes without and Vegetarian being meat-free)
  • The number of meals you want each week (2, 3, 4, or 5)
  • The number of servings you want each meal kit to make (2 or 4)
  • Your preferred delivery day (Blue Apron delivers seven days a week)

These options will be applied to all of your future boxes unless you change them.

Display of Blue Apron meal selection options, including plan preference, number of servings and meals per a week
Blue Apron order summary.

Note that my price per serving was lower because I used the our Blue Apron link to sign up and get the discount that was offered at that time. The offer itself is subject to frequently change so it may not match the current offering.

Choose your meals

Next comes the fun part of choosing your meals. Blue Apron recommends a few dishes for you based on the preferences you select, but you get the final say. You can change your selections any time before the “Changeable before” date listed on the Plan Settings page of your account.

You can look at the recipe, nutrition facts, and ingredients for each meal before adding it to your box (I recommend doing this to get a feel for the time and difficulty level).

Get your box

The meals arrive in a box lined with ClimaCell TemperPack material and packed with ice packs. My ice packs were still fully frozen after sitting on my porch for a few hours, and all of the meat and produce inside were cold when I got to it.

You can track your delivery using the tracking number provided in your order confirmation. If you’re not going to be home when your box is delivered, it’ll most likely be left on your doorstep. Unpack and refrigerate your ingredients as soon as possible. Blue Apron doesn’t provide more specific information about how long ingredients are safe to leave unrefrigerated.

Blue Apron pricing and plans

The price per serving for Blue Apron is between $7.99 to $12.49, with the final cost determined by how many servings and meals you order per week.

Price scales down for Blue Apron meaning the more meals you order, the more you save. 

  • 2 servings: 2-5 meals per a week for $9.49 – $12.49 / serving
  • 4 servings: 2-5 meals per a week for $7.99 – $9.99 / serving

Also, keep in mind that “premium” meals cost more. These are recipes containing more extravagant ingredients like specialty steak and fish that will typically cost between $13.99 – $19.99 a serving. Seared duck & brown butter-grape sauce, included below among the options, is one good-looking example that you would see at a gourmet restaurant.

Shipping is a flat rate of $10.99, but you can usually get free shipping on your first order.Subscriptions are flexible. If you need to modify the number of meals coming in your Blue Apron box, you can easily do so before your next order finishes processing.

Blue Apron sign-up offer and discounts

» Use our Blue Apron link to take advantage of a limited time offer. Enjoy 65% off of an order placed for the first week of your meal kit subscription or 20% off of an order placed for the first week of your Prepared & Ready subscription—plus, free shipping the first week! You’ll also receive 20% off of an order placed for the 2nd through 4th weeks of either subscription plan. Offer is for new subscriptions only and varies by plan.

You may qualify for a reduced price with Blue Apron for your subscription based on your employment.

Blue Apron typically offers additional discounts for the following individuals:

  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Doctors, nurses, and hospital employees
  • Military members
  • First responders
  • Seniors over the age of 55
  • Government employees

These discounts are available through the company ID.me.

Recipe options with Blue Apron

As with most meal kits, Blue Apron’s menu changes weekly. There are typically 70+ different meals to choose from each week, including a variety of prepared meals and meal kits. 

The five recipe categories are:

  • Chef Favorites – featured recipes from Blue Apron’s chefs
  • Wellness – healthy meals that are nutritionist approved
  • Family Friendly – kid-friendly meals that are good for the whole family
  • Fast & Easy – time-saving recipes that are quick to prep or can be heated and eaten
  • Veggies – plant-based delicious meal options

If you like a base recipe but want to change it a little, some recipes can be modified. For example, you can add sausage to an otherwise vegetarian pasta dish for a few extra dollars or swap beef for chicken in a taco dinner.

“Wellness” meals are nutritionist approved and include WW (Weight Watchers) friendly options. These dishes are low-calorie (less than 600), lower in carbs, and nutritionist-recommended. They tell you how many WW points a meal is worth and how to log it. I had one WW friendly meal options in my Blue Apron box and enjoyed every calorie down to the last bite.

After selecting your meals, you’ll be taken to a page where you can choose add-ons. These are optional and include breakfast and lunch items, extra protein, and snacks. Blue Apron also offers wine at a price of $11 a bottle or $75.99 a month for six bottles. To help you choose the best wine pairings, all recipe cards include suggested wines.

I didn’t try out the wine bundles myself and the reviews online are mixed. Many reviewers canceled when they realized these are 500 mL bottles, not standard 750 mL bottles. Blue Apron does offer the option to upgrade to 750 mL, however.

Anyway. Here’s a sample of some of the types of foods you might find on the menu.

Sample of some meal options from Blue Apron including glazed salmon harissa beef pitas with details like time to prepare noted
Sample of some weekly menu options from Blue Apron.

Dietary restrictions

As far as dietary restrictions go, Blue Apron could definitely do better. Gluten-free options are very limited and it’s slim pickings if you choose the vegetarian plan. Out of meals on the menu when I ordered, only four or five were vegetarian and none of them were 100% plant-based. Still, four or five vegetarian options is better than a lot of meal kit services and they’ve since added the Veggies recipe category.

What does a box from Blue Apron include?

Blue Apron meal kits come with all the ingredients you need, except for pantry staples like cooking oil, salt, and pepper.

Each meal comes with a recipe card telling you which ingredients to use from your box and giving you step-by-step instructions to cook it. Smaller ingredients come in plastic bags called “Knick Knacks,” which are labeled with the recipe they are used for.

If you ordered any extras like Market items, these will come in your box too.

Ingredients from a Blue Apron meal kit spread out over kitchen island with some in plastic packaging, including pita, salmon, carrots, potatoes and green onions
Ingredients from a Blue Apron meal kit.

Blue Apron recipe cards

If you’re relatively comfortable cooking, you’ll do well with Blue Apron. You don’t need any fancy tools or a tricked-out kitchen, but decent instincts are helpful. The recipe cards give basic instructions and measurements but don’t give much direction for techniques, variations, etc.

If you don’t want to use the recipe cards, you have two other choices.

First, you can use the Blue Apron app to search the meals you’re making and get extra cooking help and tips for customizing. The app also shows full nutrition facts, suggested wine pairings, and instructions with pictures. You can even track a meal in Apple Health using the app.

You can also cook any meal along with Alexa. I don’t have an Alexa, so I couldn’t try this for myself, but I’m sure it’s every bit as helpful and weird as I’m picturing, like a robo-sous chef without hands.

My personal experience with Blue Apron

I ordered three meals. These were:

  • Mexican-Spiced Chicken Salad with Guacamole Dressing & Pepitas: estimated 25 – 35 minutes to prepare and took me just shy of 40 minutes
  • Pan-Seared Salmon & Calabrian Mayo with Roasted Potatoes, Zucchini, & Raisins: estimated 30 – 40 minutes to prepare and took me 45 minutes
  • Greek-Style Veggie Pitas with Lemon-Dressed Broccoli: estimated 20 – 30 minutes to prepare and took me 30 minutes

As you can see, I either took longer than expected to prepare my meals or was on the high end of the estimated range.

Now I’m not a pro chef, but I’m no slouch either. I don’t think I was going slowly, so I’m not sure who Blue Apron has in mind exactly when making these estimates. Still, I wasn’t mad and spent less time in the kitchen than I normally would.

What I liked about Blue Apron

My Blue Apron order contained three two-serving kits, and I genuinely enjoyed each one. Everything was delicious and interesting, so I could see myself eating Blue Apron meals without getting tired of them. The food was better than expected and made me feel like I was better at cooking than I probably am.

Let’s talk about what exactly I liked.

Quality of ingredients

Probably the main thing Blue Apron has going for it is the quality of ingredients. All of the produce looked great and I was especially impressed with the quality of the meat. I ordered both chicken thighs and skin-on salmon in my kit, and while chicken thighs are never pretty, these items were on par with what I would have picked out for myself at the grocery store.

The meals looked and tasted more restaurant-quality than homemade. I attributed this to the recipes and to the ingredients themselves since fresh meat and veggies are so much easier to work with. When I posted a picture of my salmon dinner on social media, friends asked me what restaurant I went to. I’ve been full of myself ever since.

Meal selection

There’s a good mix of different cuisines on Blue Apron’s menu every week, including international options. I can’t speak to the authenticity of these meals, but it is nice to see global flavors. I’ve been really enjoying checking the menu out every couple of weeks to see what’s available and make myself hungry.

There are enough options that you don’t feel like you’re stuck with something you don’t want to eat. For example, I like to avoid red meat and pork, and there were plenty of choices that contained poultry, fish, or no meat instead. I could have chosen several more.

The process of selecting my meals was also easy and flexible. I could go in and make changes to my box before it finished processing (which is good because I’m indecisive).

What I didn’t like about Blue Apron

Blue Apron meals have a lot going for them, but there are some things this service could improve on.

Blue Apron, here’s my advice. Take it or leave it.

Recipe cards

I found myself wishing that the recipe cards were more clear and complete.

You have to read the instructions carefully to get all the information you need before you start cooking. This is a good thing to do anyway, but the cards definitely could have made it easier. For example, the recipes don’t provide a list of pantry ingredients or cooking supplies you’ll be using — you have to find these in the steps. Bulleted lists and/or graphics would be nice.

Blue Apron recipes also assume that you sort of know what you’re doing. For example, they expect you to know how much salt and pepper to use when seasoning, to know what a “medium dice” looks like, and how to tell when food is done cooking. The cards don’t do much to teach you.

Finally, recipes will occasionally make you do things you don’t want to do. I mean, who orders a meal delivery service because they love cutting up a head of broccoli? Be prepared to chop, dice, and otherwise prep most ingredients.

Packaging

The packaging was annoying. A ton of the ingredients arrived in plastic bags, some of it recyclable and some of it not. I was especially frustrated with the use of large plastic bags for small ingredients (see image below).

Also, a mini-rant about the ice packs. Both of mine must’ve gotten punctured on their way to my house, because they oozed gel all over my ingredients. It was nothing a quick rinse couldn’t fix, but a bit of a bummer nonetheless.

Fun fact: Blue Apron was the first company to use gel ice packs with their meal kits that are drain-safe and eco-friendly. Love this, don’t love when they don’t make it to the sink.

Potatoes in a large plastic bag delivered from Blue Apron held against kitchen background
Large plastic bag from Blue Apron I wasn’t a fan of.

Cost

Blue Apron is not likely to save most home chefs money on ingredients alone. At $7.99 to $12.49 a serving, $9.99 for the plan I chose, I would be spending a lot more money on dinners not factoring in my time than I normally would if I were to continue my subscription.

Who is Blue Apron good for?

Blue Apron is probably one of the best meal delivery services for people who want to make their lives easier and enjoy quality ingredients. The meal kits are ideal for weeknight dinners and busy nights because many take less than 35 minutes to prepare. Beginners shouldn’t have much trouble following the recipes and more experienced chefs should be able to find ways to make them their own.

If you’re willing to pay a little more than you normally do for dinner to have gourmet-quality meals at home, Blue Apron might be worth it for you. It could also be a healthier and more cost-effective alternative to the true cost of eating out at a restaurant or ordering takeout, depending on how you order.

Who is Blue Apron not good for?

Blue Apron is not the meal kit service for you if you’re hoping to stretch your budget as far as possible. It’s not cheap and a lot of meal kit companies offer lower prices. For example, EveryPlate is one of the best budget-friendly options out there. Check out our EveryPlate review if you’re looking for affordable (yet delicious).

Also, I don’t recommend Blue Apron for anyone with severe food allergies. Although you can select or deselect different ingredients when asked for your dietary preferences, this is only used to recommend meals to you.

Blue Apron can’t accommodate food allergies. You can check the ingredients for every meal, but there is no way to automatically or definitely avoid your allergy foods each week. Those with severe food allergies may prefer another service or alternative because all of Blue Apron’s ingredients are packaged in a facility that also processes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, sesame, wheat, and soy.

Is Blue Apron worth it?

If the alternative to Blue Apron is doing all of your shopping yourself and cooking every meal at home, this service is probably going to cost you more than you’re used to spending on groceries.

But you also have to consider what your time is worth to you. Between thinking about what you’re going to each every week and then planning and grocery shopping, you may find that the price of Blue Apron is worth the mental space it clears up for you and the stress it can save.

Plus, you can probably save at least a couple of bucks per meal if you carry out and eat out more than once or twice a week.

At the end of the day, you’re paying for convenience and quality with Blue Apron.

Blue Apron customer service

I didn’t have any issues with my delivery or order, so I didn’t actually need to contact Blue Apron for help. But I still looked into my options to see how easy it would be to get in touch with customer support.

The phone number for general support is (646) 891-4349 and this line is open from 10 am to 9 pm (EST) Monday through Friday and 11 am to 6 pm Saturday and Sunday.

I called the support line and was connected with a friendly agent in less than 30 seconds. They were happy to answer a few questions for me about Blue Apron. You can also submit a request online through the Help Center and use the FAQ section for help with common inquiries.

How do you cancel your Blue Apron subscription?

It took me less than a minute to cancel my Blue Apron subscription.

To cancel, you just log into your account and select “Account Settings.” From there, click “Plan Settings” and you’ll see the option to cancel your subscription. You’ll have to confirm twice.

But if you’re not ready to cancel Blue Apron, you can always try skipping a week or temporarily pausing your plan. These options will show up on the cancellation page.

Do you get leftovers with Blue Apron?

Yes, there were leftovers for each meal I personally prepared. I found the serving sizes to be just right, so half of a two-serving meal was a great amount for me. This meant leftovers, which reheated pretty well.

That said, I usually have a pretty average appetite. The only meal that left me very slightly unsatisfied was my WW chicken salad. If you’re eating after a big workout or you skipped lunch, I can definitely see Blue Apron meals leaving you wanting more.

What’s so great about meal kits?

You’re not convinced that meal delivery is for you. That’s okay.

Meal delivery services can offer a lot of advantages. Meal delivery services often save you money and time. You’ll save time meal planning and grocery shopping so you can put home-cooked meals on the table with less time, effort, and food waste. Pricing on some are comparable to grocery shopping while others compare best against what you would have spent on takeout or out to dinner for a chef-prepared meal.

But if you love deciding what to eat every day, you don’t mind getting groceries, and you have all the time in the world to cook, you’re not exactly the target customer for meal kits.

Is Blue Apron going out of business?

Blue Apron is sticking around — just with new ownership and some changes planned.

You’ve probably heard that the Wonder Group has acquired Blue Apron. It’s big news in the food world! Wonder is now going to offer Blue Apron items to customers in New York City and New Jersey as a result. And, if you’re in a Wonder zone, your subscription boxes will now instead be delivered by Wonder couriers.

“Additionally, Wonder customers throughout New York and New Jersey now have access to Blue Apron on the Wonder app. This rotating offering of Meal Kits and Heat & Eat options are available starting today at Wonder Upper West Side, Chelsea, Downtown Brooklyn, Westfield and Hoboken, available for delivery or pickup.”

Blue Apron service will have expanded experiences and access along with faster, more convenient delivery options.

What’s the Wonder Group?

Wonder is based as a food-delivery company seeking to pioneer a new version of “Fast Fine” dining.

They’ve partnered with some of the most well-known chefs to do so, such as Bobby Flay, Michael Symon and Marcus Samuelsson, along with some award-winning restaurants including Di Fara Pizza. They’ve traditionally offered pick-up, dine-in and of course delivery, recently adding Blue Apron to the mix.

The competition

There are a number of top options for a meal kit delivery service, some of which may better fit what you’re looking for. There are meal kits that are best for families and best healthy meal kit services for those who want perfectly-portioned nutritious meals.

Blue Apron vs Home Chef

Home Chef, our most recommended meal kit, provides a variety of vegetarian, carb-conscious, calorie-conscious, and meals that can be made in under 30 minutes.

Our Favorite Meal Kit
Home Chef

Rated #1 in customer satisfaction and our favorite meal delivery company.

Home Chef offers multiple meal choices each week with ample variety to meet dietary needs. While not the most adventurous or customizable meal box out there, Home Chef delivery fresh, quality ingredients and tasty recipes consistently.

Offer: Get 18 free meals (across first 5 boxes) plus free shipping on your 1st box.
Pros:
  • Recipes are easiest to follow
  • Customize meals with your favorite protein
  • Super fresh ingredients, all measured out
Cons:
  • No vegan option (vegetarian only)
Choose Your Meals

Home Chef allows you to Customize It and select the protein for some dishes. Features like that make it a superior option for families with picky eaters or dietary restrictions, or for those looking to switch up the dinner routine but stay healthy.

Standard meals with Home Chef you prepare yourself with pre-portioned ingredients start at $9.99/serving with typically 30+ rotating options weekly. There’s also a 100% satisfaction guarantee if you’re not satisfied.

» MORE: See why it’s our most recommended in our Home Chef Review

Blue Apron vs HelloFresh

HelloFresh is one of the most popular meal kit services that’s great for beginners who want to easily learn to cook, people who are dieting with wellness goals in mind, and/or people who value sustainability.

Most popular
HelloFresh

HelloFresh offers 45+ weekly recipes and 100+ seasonal and convenience items to choose from that can please a variety of different diets and preferences.

The recipes are easy to prepare with simple step-by-step instructions that anyone can follow, and the pre-portioned ingredients provided are always fresh.

Offer: Get 16 Free Meals and Free Dessert for Life!
Pros:
  • Easy meal prep with simple instructions
  • Range of options to please everyone
  • Eco-friendly and convenient packaging
Cons:
  • More expensive than some competitors
  • Delivery window can be inconvenient
Select Plan
Offer applied as discount across 9 boxes, new subscriptions only, and varies by plan. One free dessert item per box with an active subscription.

HelloFresh boxes contain surprisingly little plastic (so not like the potatoes above) and the meals are separated into individual paper bags, which was way more convenient than sorting through a box full of ingredients. The pre-portioned ingredients mean you don’t waste money on excess food. The recipes include large pictures of each step and helpful tips.

HelloFresh offers six different meal plans to choose from, including a veggie & plant-based meal option, a family-friendly option that are kid-tested, and a pescatarian option with sustainably sourced seafood. Prices for HelloFresh start at $9.99 a serving with 45+ rotating weekly recipes choose from and a number of seasonal/convenience items (100+) you can pick out.

» MORE: Read our full HelloFresh Review

Summary

I was really impressed with Blue Apron’s meal kits, from the quality of ingredients to the creativity of the recipes. I was less impressed with the packaging situation and pricing. Blue Apron’s service is great and their food even better, but they could improve on their recipe cards and make their service more inclusive to people with dietary restrictions.

I’d recommend Blue Apron to anyone who likes interesting, varied meals and doesn’t mind spending a little extra money to save time in the kitchen and cook meals they’ll be proud.

» Sign up and try Blue Apron today!

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