Blue Apron was the first brand to bring meal kits to American homes. With pre-portioned ingredients, approachable recipes, and plenty of variety to choose from each week, Blue Apron has remained a big player in the meal kit space, tylenol advertising 2013 even inspiring dozens of look-alike competitors.
These days, Blue Apron has the you-cook meal kit down to a science. They’ve also started to offer heat-and-eat meals for the days when you need dinner fast and want to skip the clean-up. You can even add Blue Apron wine pairings, pantry items, and cooking tools to your meal kit delivery.
Both pre-cooked and you-cook meal options
Wellness plan meals
Step-by-step photo recipe cards
Can customize proteins
You select a delivery day
Delivers throughout the continental US
Easy to skip and cancel
30-minute meal options
Of course, we’re all about the food. So we put a week of Blue Apron meals to the test. We received three meals and assessed the experience of receiving the box, how easy the recipes are to make, and most importantly, how they tasted.
If you’re looking for a new meal delivery service option, here’s what you need to know about Blue Apron.
Blue Apron review: Fees and delivery
Blue Apron publishes menus for their three different plans four weeks in advance, so you can build your boxes ahead of time and let them roll in each week. You can select your delivery date each week, and easily skip a box if you’re going out of town.
You can select two, three, or four meals per week. Each meal serves two or four people. The largest subscription, for four meals that serve four, costs $7.99 per serving plus $9.99 shipping for a total of $137.83. The smallest option of two meals that serve two costs $11.99 per serving plus shipping, totaling $57.95.
Blue Apron review: Using the meal delivery service
Your box arrives full of ice packs to keep the proteins and produce cold. The dry and refrigerated components of each meal are packaged into individual plastic bags. Produce and proteins are individually packaged separately. Overall, there’s a lot of plastic in each box, right down to the tiny plastic tubs of miso paste and mayonnaise. According to the company website, over 85% of the packaging is recyclable, though the plastic bags and films are not recyclable at home.
Each meal is accompanied by a detailed recipe card. On the front is a beautiful photo of the final meal. On the back are step-by-step instructions in bulleted lists with corresponding photos.
The recipe cards do not include nutritional information, so for that you’ll have to find the meal on the Blue Apron website. They do include an estimate of how long each meal should take which we found pretty accurate (though most of the ranges were a broad 10 minutes).
Blue Apron review: Taste and nutrition
We received three meals with two servings in our box. The first was a vegetarian recipe for Roasted Cauliflower and Lemon Pasta. The recipe card estimated 25 to 35 minutes. It took less than half an hour to prepare (as long as your oven preheats quickly). And the finished product was a hit. The pasta was flavorful and bright, with a creamy and buttery lemon sauce. It was topped with crispy garlic breadcrumbs that added a great crunch (we just wanted more). And it was certainly filling, but the dish was heavy on pasta and we would have liked a larger cauliflower; the one we received was quite small.
Nutrition wise, one portion contained 88g of carbohydrate, 19g protein and 19g fat (including 10g saturated).
Next, we tried a seafood recipe for Miso Butter and Panko-Crusted Cod with Ponzu Mayo, Asparagus, and Potatoes. This one took about 35 minutes, right in the estimated range of 30 to 40 minutes. The fish was the star of this dish. It was coated in a sweet and savory panko crust made with brown sugar and miso. The crispy potatoes were also a nice starchy touch to round out the meal. And the asparagus was fine, simply roasted, nothing special flavor-wise, but nice to add some green to the plate. This was a filling meal that came together almost entirely in the oven (though you needed two baking sheets). It was also well balanced nutrition-wise, providing 55g carbohydrate, 32g protein and 28g fat per portion.
Finally, we tried the Miso Mushroom and Brown Rice Bowls with Spicy Mayo and Fried Eggs. This is a Weight Watchers approved meal. The recipe card lets you know how many points the meal is worth. In terms of nutrition, one portion contained 65g carbohydrate, 20g protein and 30g total fat.
Because the rice bowls had several toppings, this meal was a bit more involved on the prep front. We had to cook rice, then sauté mushrooms separately from the greens, and finally fry the eggs. When the bowls did come together, however, they were satisfying and tasty. Most of the flavor came from the gochujang mayo sauce, which added some nice heat.
Blue Apron review: Customer reviews
Blue Apron customers appreciate that the service simplifies meal times, especially on busy nights.
As one happy customer puts it, “I’m a real estate agent and work 24/7 all days of the week. Blue Apron helps here and there in between home-cooked meals. The food quality varies but overall I’ve been very impressed.”
More negative reviews cite the lack of vegan options. One customer wrote, “A lot of this food is too rich for me. It would be great to have vegan options. The foot tastes good but it’s just too much dairy.” Another also criticizes the vegetarian options as lacking complete proteins, instead being based around pizzas, pasta and sandwiches. “I suggest squashes and peppers, more quinoa, beans, fritters and savory pancakes,” they say.
Should you use Blue Apron?
If you’re looking for a meal kit that simplifies dinner but still lets you flex, and even strengthen, your culinary skills, Blue Apron is a great choice. The colorful recipe cards walk you through complex prep in an approachable way, and you’ll impress yourself and your dinner guests with the result. It might not be the best meal kit option if you’re plant-based, or tend to avoid dairy products, however.
If this product isn’t for you
Marley Spoon is another meal kit that makes dinner even easier to get on the table, with clear six step recipes and plenty of options that come together in 20 minutes. The recipes are simple enough for beginner cooks to master but taste gourmet.
Or, if you’re following a plant-based diet or want more vegetarian options, you can’t beat the quality of Purple Carrot.
Lizzy Briskin is a freelance writer focusing on food, health, lifestyle, travel, the outdoors and fitness. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, EcoWatch, Smart Mouth, Maed, Munchery, and more. She is also a chef, recipe developer and food photographer, having received professional culinary training at Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Lizzy has lead a successful gluten-free and vegan food blog, and worked as a recipe editor in the meal kit industry.
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