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Meal delivery services are becoming a popular way to enjoy home-cooked meals without the hassle of menu planning or grocery shopping. In addition to being convenient and fun, an added benefit of meal delivery services is that they provide the exact portions of ingredients, minimizing food waste. Blue Apron is one of the largest and most commonly known meal delivery services, and we ranked them first for best value in our Best Meal Delivery Service Review. But we encourage you to read on to learn more specific details including how it works, pros, cons, pricing and more.
- Simple, affordable pricing with free shipping
- Menus based on preferences and can skip any week without penalty
- Freshness guarantee for any missing or unusable produce within 7 days
- Caters to both couples and families
- Doesn’t recycle any recipes to keep menus new, fresh and seasonal
- Optional wine pairing add-on with bottles picked to pair with meals
- Email and limited phone support (10am-6pm EST M-F)
- Does not offer gluten-free, paleo or other special dietary needs
- No special pricing for veggie meals (which are less on other plans)
- Some recipes are heavier on oils and fats
- Reports of poor customer service
What Is Blue Apron?
Founded in 2012 by three recent graduates living in New York City, Blue Apron’s mission is to make cooking quality meals easy for everyone across the country. In just four short years they have grown from hand delivering meals to friends and family to a team of more than a thousand employees who send over 8 million meals per month to chefs nationwide. The name Blue Apron comes from the color apron that chefs in training wear in France meant to symbolize that we are all students in the kitchen. Since then Blue Apron alternatives have entered the market providing similar services. However, they continue to provide the best quality for the price among Blue Apron competitors.
How Does Blue Apron Work?
Sign up for a meal plan online and select the number of people and meals you’d like to receive each week. Then, pick your food preferences (if any) and then choose from six original meal options to be delivered to your doorstep the following week. All produce is packed to ensure freshness including an ice pack to keep food cool and safe for an entire day (so you don’t have to be at home at the time of delivery). More fragile items like eggs are also wrapped in extra protection so you can rest assured you won’t have scrambled eggs on your heated driveway.
Each delivery also comes with printed 8×11 full-color recipe cards that list tools needed, time to prepare, nutritional info and step by step instructions (complete with photos). There are even “bite-sized” instructional videos you can watch that show you how to do everything from hard boil an egg to roll pizza dough. Here’s an example:
Key Features of Blue Apron
- A wide selection of simple, delicious recipes for all food preferences including vegetarian and fish options
- Blue Apron app for iPhone to browse recipes on the go, search database and watch how-to videos
- All meals require minimal cooking experience or tools
- Source ingredients from local family farms who support sustainable practices
- Can recycle or reuse shipping materials or return shipping materials for free
- Delivery to all U.S. states Tuesday-Friday (Monday and Saturday available in some locations)
Signature, Freestyle and Vegetarian (2 serving)
- $9.99 per serving (2 or 3 meals per week)
- + $7.99 shipping for 2 meals per week (free shipping for 3 meals per week)
Signature for 4 (4 serving)
- $7.49 to $8.99 per serving (2-4 meals per week)
- Free shipping
Blue Apron Wine
Blue Apron Wine includes 3 reds and 3 whites (or seasonal Rose) for $69 ($10 per bottle).
How to Cancel Blue Apron?
Blue Apron is no commitment, meaning you can cancel at any time (with one week’s notice, since it takes time to source ingredients and prep ingredients. You can skip any week too, so let’s say you’ll be on vacation or have a busy schedule with dinner plans, you can rest assured knowing they won’t charge or ship you unwanted boxes. Only use the calendar to note which weeks you don’t need delivery and then you can pick up whenever you’re ready to start cooking again. If you decide to cancel, it’s easy too. There’s virtually no risk in giving them a try for as little as $29.94 for six meals (less than $5 per meal).
My Experience with Blue Apron
As you can see, this isn’t just your average “order up” that you’d get at a fast food joint or diner. Each meal is intended to be presented beautifully and make you proud to say “wow I made that” afterward and impress your family (and taste buds). You’ll learn new processes and techniques and all using basic tools you already own (or can purchase through their market).
Here’s an example meal I made with Blue Apron: Tinkerbell quesadillas with cherry tomato salsa and lime crema.
Is Blue Apron Healthy?
You’re doing a good job of being healthy by cooking your meals from scratch. Meals cooked at home with natural ingredients are packed with vitamins and nutrients versus pre-packaged and processed foods. However, if you’re into counting calories, most meals are within the 600-800 range per serving. Their serving size is pretty generous, so you could get away with a meal (and a half) or two. If you are concerned about cooking with high-fat oils or butter, you can always scale back on the amount or use healthier alternatives like steaming (versus sautéing) and don’t worry, Blue Apron is anything but fried! (Leave that to the experts at KFC).
Is Blue Apron Organic?
Blue Apron prides itself on sourcing their ingredients from high-quality farms, fisheries and ranches that use sustainable practices. According to their website some (but not all) items they use are USDA certified organic and they ensure no added hormones or antibiotics are used unless required to do so if the animal’s health is at risk.
Blue Apron Recipes
Here’s a sampling of a Blue Apron menu for two weeks, so you can get a taste of Blue Apron meals (no pun intended). Note, these were in December so they are a little bit on the heartier side to go with the season. (Warning: reading this might make you hungry!)
Week 1 Menu:
Select 3-4 from the following:
- Sauteed beef and potato latkes with roasted beet and carrots +
- Harissa chicken skewers with Khorasan wheat and persimmon salad
- Spicy shrimp and bucatini pasta with kale
- Potato chowder with cheddar cheese toasts **
- Broccoli and white been burgers with cheesy roasted potato **
- Stuffed squash and spicy red curry with collard greens and basmati rice** +
Week 2 Menu:
Select 3-4 from the following:
- Seared pork chops with freekeh salad and Clementine Chutney +
- Chicken khao soi with crispy wonton noodles
- Blackened catfish with Varacruz sauce +
- Vegetable Bibimbap with marinated persimmon and fried egg** +
- Brown butter and chestnut gnocchi with brussels sprouts and pea shoot salad ** +
- Spiced lentil stew with sweet and sour cauliflower ** +
+Blue Apron gluten free
**Blue Apron vegetarian
As you can see, there is a good variety each week and at least half of the options are vegetarian with at least one gluten-free option and one seafood option each week.
What Do Blue Apron Customers Say?
See below for a sample of customer reviews from both satisfied and not-so-satisfied customers of Blue Apron.
Positive Blue Apron Reviews
Relatively good value, good quality recipes and ingredients. Great for a foodie couple who are not great cooks and are short on time, but don’t want to eat out all the time. – Laurel R, Pate Magazine 9/21/2015
Blue Apron doesn’t disappoint: Its food quality, tasty and easy-to-prepare meals, extra tips, and customer service are top-notch. Blue Apron is a PCMag Editors’ Choice for meal subscription services, thanks to its tasty meals, its careful packaging, and the high level of cooking convenience, foodie tutoring, and ease of use provided by the service and its associated app. – PC Mag, 6/30/2016
Negative Blue Apron Reviews
Overall, Blue Apron’s food was among the best from the services I tried. The convenience, however, wasn’t there. I also feel their selection is lacking. There are only six meals to choose from, and while the dishes themselves change each week, there still isn’t a ton of variety. – Sage L, Observer 1/5/2016
They did not deliver to me this week and sent me an email saying sorry we will refund you. I have been doing blue apron almost every week for a year and the only solution is refunding me in 5-7 days? how about sorry about that your next meal is on us? They also said it was the shipping company but I never received an email Sunday saying your order has been shipped with a tracking order so I don’t believe they every shipped it. There is no way to reply to the email or call them. I’m very disappointed.. – Tara M, Facebook 11/29/2016
An Easy Cooking Alternative
If you’re looking for an easy alternative to cooking the same old recipes (or eating out), have an open mind to trying new things and love good food, then you can’t go wrong with Blue Apron, our top pick in our Best Meal Delivery Service Review. With $30 off your first order and no commitments, you should at least give them a try and see if it’s a good fit for you and your family. Having tried the service myself, I can safely say Blue Apron is a yummy, relaxing way to wind down the end of your day.
What will you cook up with Blue Apron?
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