Blue Apron Review

Meal kits and prepared meals for foodies

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4.8

Blue Apron

salmon, rice, and vegetables on a plate

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

We love Blue Apron for the more particular foodie who wants to spend a little time in the kitchen. If you’re looking for luxe with your meal kit experience, we recommend giving it a try.

Pros
  • Upscale experience

  • Delivers on flavor

  • Responsible sourcing

  • Varied menus

  • Cooking how-tos

Cons
  • Limited servings

  • Smaller portion sizes

  • Minimal customization

  • Packaging overload

4.8

Blue Apron

salmon, rice, and vegetables on a plate

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Blue Apron gets its namesake from the garments worn by chefs-in-training, a symbol of continual learning in the kitchen, and this is the mission Blue Apron strives to bring to the home kitchen. The service offers chef-designed recipes to empower and challenge users in the kitchen, igniting curiosity and discovering what a difference cooking with quality ingredients can make. 

Imparting a bit of luxury into the overall experience, Blue Apron sets itself apart in the meal delivery kit marketplace. However, without a major emphasis on health and wellness, we were curious to see what a licensed health professional would make of it. 

Pricing: Plans for 2 or 4

Blue Apron offers four different plans to choose from, but pricing mainly varies by how much food you purchase rather than which plan you choose. Blue Apron also charges a flat $9.99 for shipping no matter which plan you choose. We found it curious that the vegetarian plan is the same price as the other plans for two and although Blue Apron does include some higher cost items here like nuts and plant-based proteins, it did kind of feel like an overcharge.

Starting from scratch with Blue Apron is a three-step process in which users create an account, choose a plan, and select meals.

From a value standpoint, some kits offer larger portion sizes than what you’re getting with Blue Apron. If you’re ordering for two, expect to get exactly enough for two and no leftovers. 

  • Signature for 4: $8.99 per serving for 2 recipes per week, $7.99 for 3 recipes per week, $7.49 for 4 recipes per week
  • Signature for 2: $9.99 per serving for 2 recipes per week, $8.99 for 3 or 4 recipes per week
  • Wellness or Vegetarian for 2: $9.99 per serving for 2 recipes per week, $8.99 for 3 recipes per week

How It Works: Simple Sign-Up 

Blue Apron offers both a subscription meal kit service as well as ready-to-eat meals, but for the purposes of this review, we’ll be focusing on the meal kits. Starting from scratch with Blue Apron is a three-step process in which users create an account, choose a plan, and select meals. 

Plans offered are in several food-related categories: Signature, Wellness, and Vegetarian. However, the only plan that gives food for four is the Signature option. There is also a Signature option for two, and two is all you can get for the other choices. The service also offers only two, three, or four meals per week which is a bit restrictive overall; it also indicates that this kit is not designed for families but rather more for couples or individuals. 

Once the plan is selected, customers move on to meal selection (where you can actually switch between plans easily), customize proteins a bit, choose from add-ons and specialty items, and then finally enter shipping information. 

Choosing Meals: Less for More 

 When selecting meals, users can toggle easily between plans and serving sizes, and when doing so will notice a significantly larger number of recipes to choose from with the smaller serving size plans. We saw about 20 different recipes on offer for two-serving plans, while four-serving plans have less than half that to choose from. This coordinates with the wellness and vegetarian meals only on offer as part of the two-serving plans.

If you’re on the two-serving plan, which we were, there’s a lot to choose from week to week across flavor profiles, cuisine types, and plate compositions. Whether you’re looking for some stir-fried noodles or a simpler sheet pan meal, Blue Apron’s menus do not disappoint. There is a bit of flavor repetition, but nothing beyond what’s to be expected from a menu with so many options that changes weekly. The specialized offerings for the Wellness and Vegetarian plans have about four to five items each.

More information about each meal can be found if you navigate to the recipe page, including nutrition information, allergens, and more. Dishes can often be customized by swapping out protein or adding meat to vegetarian dishes, nearly always at a markup. 

If more is what you’re looking for, Blue Apron also has a host of add-ons and other boxes that can be ordered including some appetizers, some of its premade heat-and-eat meals, butcher bundles for extra servings of proteins, and meal prep bundles. Blue Apron also offers a separate wine box and some holiday boxes too. 

blue apron ingredients on a counter

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

What We Made

Blue Apron’s variety of flavorful options made it tough to choose from, but we snagged a spectrum of dishes including some Signature items, a vegetarian dish, a premium option, and something from the Wellness category. 

  • Calabrian pasta & squash with ricotta cheese
  • Chipotle turkey & veggie casserole with spaghetti squash & jalapeno sour cream
  • Gochujang pork & udon stir-fry 
  • NY strip steaks & herb-mushroom pan sauce
  • Vadouvan shrimp & sweet chili sauce with garlic-ginger rice & bok choy

Packaging: Plastic Overload

Blue Apron deliveries arrive in what we’ve come to know is the standard packaging for meal delivery services, which includes a cardboard box with a liner for insulation and frozen gel packs housed in plastic. Up to this point, Blue Apron doesn’t differ much from the norm, however in its packaging of ingredients, we found it a bit heavy on the plastic side and generally just a lot to contend with.

With the exception of some of the sturdier produce items like squash, every single individual ingredient is packaged separately, mostly in plastic. Each meal has its own plastic bag of “knick knacks,” which serves to group together essential ingredients like seasoning packets, dairy, dry goods like pasta, fresh herbs, and more. While this curtailing of ingredients was really helpful for our organization in the kitchen (we love an easy mise en place), it created over 50 individual pieces of packaging for our five meals, plus the shipping box.

Now, a lot of this packaging is recyclable and we do recommend checking out the info on the Blue Apron website as the service does detail how to dispose of each type of packaging. Overall; however, it just felt like overkill. 

meal delivery service ingredients in a cardboard box

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Customer Support: Chat, Then Call

Blue Apron deliveries come with detailed recipe cards to enable the cooking process, and these same support materials (and more) are available on the website’s customer dashboard as well as in the app. We also got some good mileage out of the blog for general cooking tips and the how-to guide for certain ingredients. 

If you do have an issue with an order or just a general question, the service has a live chat feature which is where we went to ask a few general culinary questions and inquire about the company’s nutrition guidelines. While we got a quick response from the team, we didn’t exactly get our questions answered and were instead told to call in for questions related to our areas of inquiry. Calls can be made on weekdays or weekends, including some after-hours support, or you can always email the help desk.

Nutrition: Not the Focus

Blue Apron doesn’t bill itself as a healthy offering, so we weren’t expecting much accommodation in that department. The service does have a plan for vegetarian diets and offers some “wellness” items, WW recommended (formerly Weight Watchers) dishes, and some carb-conscious choices as well. It takes a bit of navigating to find any information on the criteria for these, but in general, it seems that the labels are derived with the help of the nutrition team and favor a stealth health approach that’s not too restrictive.

While we couldn’t get much specific information about the blanket “wellness” label, the 600 calories or less label is pretty self-explanatory and the WW label favors foods that “factor in” various nutrients and “guide you towards nutritious foods.” The carb-conscious label provides a bit more background information that we wanted to see, citing specifically that these favor foods with higher fiber ingredients and all come in under about 42-45g of net carbs.

While it doesn’t seem that Blue Apron necessarily caters to allergen-specific needs, the service does offer full ingredient and allergen disclosures for each of its meals at the point of purchase, making it possible for individuals with allergies to navigate the menu, albeit with a bit more effort. 

Overall, we appreciate that Blue Apron doesn’t emphasize highly restrictive diets, nor does it rely on diet culture-based language to make its wellness recommendations. While the approach to health is minimal and almost in the background, we do feel the menu options and subsequent nutrition do have enough variety if your basic interest is upping your veggies.

two recipe cards from blue apron

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

The Cooking Process: Involved but Enjoyable

Blue Apron’s meals are not designed to be the fastest nor the easiest. They’re designed to push you outside your culinary comfort zone and for us, we found the experience really enjoyable. The recipes offer clear instructions, accurate time frames, and helpful addenda for ingredients that you might have substituted in ordering. The website and app both specifically teach techniques and offer a lot of “how-to” information and resources.

While there are some recipes that are faster or less complicated that might work for beginners, we think the service ultimately lends itself best to those who have some experience in the kitchen or at least are looking to learn and not in a hurry. We didn’t end up needing any specialized equipment or ingredients for these recipes though, which could also be of use to more entry-level home cooks.

two salmon fillets coking in a pan

Verywell Fit / Maxwell Cozzi

Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Top Notch

We expected to hold Blue Apron to its own declaration of quality ingredients, and the service delivered. From meat and dairy to the produce and seasonings, we were impressed top to bottom with the quality and freshness of the ingredients we received.

Blue Apron spends significant effort in sourcing and it shows not only in the food but also on its website, where customers can dig a bit more into the company’s vision for sustainability, both current and future. Blue Apron prioritizes non-GMO foods, humanely raised animal proteins free from unnecessary antibiotics and hormones, as well as sustainable seafood in alignment with Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. In addition, the service sometimes uses organic ingredients.

In this case, quality does lend itself to flavor and we felt the eating experience we had with Blue Apron aligned with our expectations. Perhaps one dish, the Wellness option, fell below the high standards for flavor that we associate with the service. However, for our palate, we really enjoyed the dynamic flavors, fresh produce, and dishes that we would not have thought to cook on our own.

Blue Apron Is Good For

Blue Apron functions best for individuals or couples looking for a slightly more upscale take on meal kits and who aren’t turned off by spending time in the kitchen. This service may not be as functional for those with strict dietary needs or larger groups who need a lot of food, but there’s no denying that Blue Apron brings flavor, technique, and a touch of luxury. 

Blue Apron prioritizes non-GMO foods, humanely raised animal proteins free from unnecessary antibiotics and hormones, as well as sustainable seafood in alignment with Monterey Bay Seafood Watch.

The Competition: Blue Apron vs. Green Chef

Blue Apron and Green Chef both offer an elevated meal kit experience with a rotating weekly menu of diverse dishes to choose from. Blue Apron costs less, with a starting point of $7.49 per serving compared to Green Chef’s $10.49, but that’s likely due to differences in product. While both services offer animal proteins that abide by certain human certifications, of the two companies, only Green Chef is also certified organic. Menus from both companies also offer enticing options, but Blue Apron has more selections with some customization and add-ons while Green Chef’s menu is small and has no ability to customize. 

Final Verdict

Blue Apron feels on par with restaurant-quality food, both in the types of dishes available and the quality of the products in use. We’d look at it as a great takeout substitute, a cook-together date night option, or just an addition to the weekly repertoire, as long as you’re not looking for large quantities or specific diets. 

Methodology

We ordered, cooked, and evaluated meals from 27 meal delivery services to get a sense of each one’s offerings, nutrition profiles, prices, and, of course, flavors. We contacted the customer service teams at each of the companies, collected data, and wrote detailed reviews about each one.

Our writers are all registered dietitians and relied on their research and its resulting data to inform their reviews.

Specs

  • Product Name Blue Apron
  • Lowest Price per Serving $7.49
  • Number of Diets Served 5
  • Number of Recipes 25
  • Delivery Area 48 States
  • Serving Sizes Available 1, 2, 4
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