Blue Apron Review: This One’s For You, Lazy Gourmets
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Both at Taste of Home and at a local cooking school, I’ve worked with and around professional chefs for more than five years now. Their knowledge and expertise have been absolutely integral to my culinary journey. They’ve unwittingly turned me from a fresh college grad who had to Google how to fry an egg into a competent home cook who feels empowered to try new techniques, customize recipes and be all-around bold behind the stove.
I am so grateful for this opportunity and wish every food lover had it. And subscribing to a meal kit service is about as close as one can get without applying for a second job. Blue Apron is just one of the many meal kit services, and all of its recipes are developed by chefs with a combined 50-plus years of restaurant experience and with home cooks like you in mind. You feel like you have a trained professional peeking over your shoulder and offering guidance with step-by-step instructions.
I’m always craving restaurant-level meals that I can count on at home, so I gave the meal kit service a spin in my own kitchen.
What is Blue Apron?
Annamarie Higley/Taste of Home
Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery service similar to EveryPlate, Dinnerly and Gobble. It was founded 10 years ago and touts itself as the “meal kit that puts quality first.” Not only are there chef-approved recipes from which to choose each week, but there’s also the Blue Apron Market that has seasonal offerings, such as a complete Thanksgiving dinner, and multipacks of Heat & Eat meals, like Four-Cheese Enchiladas and Lemon Chicken.
You also might have heard of the Blue Apron wine subscription service, which allowed customers to purchase wines that paired well with Blue Apron meals. However, Blue Apron discontinued it in October 2023. They’re sticking to food for right now! This includes dinners in a number of categories, yes, but also breakfasts and desserts, too.
We Tried It
Blue Apron makes every mealtime feel special with its craft recipes that focus equally on nutrition, ease and flavor.
Blue Apron Features
Blue Apron offers various plans that allow you to select your preferences (i.e., Chef Favorites, Wellness, Family Friendly, Fast & Easy) and then choose how many meals and servings per meal to receive each week. You can receive as few as two meals for two people or as many as five meals for four people.
Then, on the menu, you’ll find 70-plus items from which to pick, including recipes that are carb-conscious, highlight fall produce, contain a certain number of calories and more. Easily find the prep time and other recipe details as you scroll the page.
In the Add-Ons tab, you’ll find rotating extra items. For example, there are brunch items, like breakfast casseroles and crepes, desserts, standalone proteins and the aforementioned Heat & Eat meals.
Once your box has been handpicked by you, it’ll arrive on your doorstep midway through the given week. Some of the ingredients, like the produce and proteins, are placed in the insulated box loose, whereas smaller items are divided into Knick Knack bags by recipe. For example, in the Ramen Knick Knacks bag, I found items like furikake, sauces, vinegar, broth and more.
Additionally, the box contains recipe cards. These are a bit sparser than other recipe cards I’ve encountered. They list the included ingredients, prep and cook time, yield and step-by-step instructions with photographs. However, they exclude nutritional facts and lists of needed tools and at-home ingredients.
How We Tested It
The box arrived on Thursday, and I stored the two meal kits in my refrigerator until I cooked them on Monday. I chose one of the service’s Ready to Cook meals—Miso-Maple Chicken Thighs & Rice with Mushrooms & Spinach—as well as a Craft recipe—Hoisin Pork Belly & Miso Ramen with Bok Choy & Soft-Boiled Eggs. Below are my Blue Apron reviews for two meals.
Miso-Maple Chicken Thighs & Rice
Annamarie Higley/Taste of Home
I’ll admit: I was wary of this recipe as soon as I unwrapped the ingredients. First off, I was sent chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs, which, frankly, makes a big difference. I’m not sure I would’ve ordered the recipe had I known I would receive chicken breasts. Also, I always get a bit nervous about cooking rice entirely in the oven.
But, for the most part, I was pleasantly surprised. This ready-to-cook recipe was as advertised. It took less than 15 minutes to get into the oven, where it baked for 40 minutes. All I had to do beforehand was rinse the rice, add the base ingredients to the provided aluminum tray, season the chicken and place it on top of the base, then bake. While the dish was in the oven, I prepared the glaze that went on top of the chicken partway through cooking. And voila!
When I pulled the pan from the oven, I was still a little dubious about the rice. There was a fair amount of liquid in the pan, but after resting for about 15 minutes, the excess water was absorbed and the meal was ready to enjoy. And enjoy it we did.
My boyfriend said it was his favorite meal-kit recipe he’d tried. The maple and miso, a somewhat unexpected duo, complemented each other nicely, and I cooked the spinach and mushrooms to perfection. Although I thought the rice was slightly underdone and the chicken was a bit dry, cooking everything all at once in the oven made things so breezy, this didn’t matter. In all, this recipe felt quite elevated, especially for how easy it was to make.
Hoisin Pork Belly & Miso Ramen
Annamarie Higley/Taste of Home
This recipe was significantly more tedious than the Miso-Maple Chicken, but that’s to be expected if you want homemade, decked-out ramen like I do. Preparation entailed soft-boiling the eggs, roasting the pre-cooked pork belly, chopping the vegetables, quick-pickling the radish, stirring together the sauce, cooking the noodles, sauteeing the vegetables and making the base.
This sounds like a lot, and it was, but the recipe developers designed this recipe to be as streamlined as possible. It took me 44 minutes to make—just barely within the quoted time of 35-45 minutes. I was able to pull this off because the eggs, noodles and base were all cooked in the same saucepan at different times. Plus, the pork belly baked concurrently. The two-ingredient sauce took seconds to combine, and I could set and forget the radishes.
I was pleased with the quality of all the produce, the ramen noodles and the pork belly, especially considering they sat in the fridge for four days. Unfortunately, one of my eggs was cracked upon arrival, so I opted to use one already in my refrigerator. Furthermore, there was an unidentified leak within the Knick Knacks bag that soaked through the furikake packaging. Because I wanted some garnish, I used my own sea moss seasoning and sesame seeds.
This is the fanciest ramen I’ve ever made at home, and I felt like I could find it on a restaurant menu. The miso lent a richness and sweetness, and it made the dish that much more interesting. The perfectly soft-boiled egg that peeled easily, the acidic pickled radishes, and the glazed pork belly—albeit slightly overcooked—really took things over the top. I was thrilled to have leftovers for lunch the next day.
- Ready to Cook recipes are truly ready to cook in minutes
- Elevated-feeling meals with low-effort
- Quality produce
- Virtually no food waste
- Mostly accurate cook/prep times
- Ingredients I received and ingredients listed didn’t always match up
- Leakage in the packaging, which affected some ingredients
- Recipe cards don’t include a list of tools or required at-home ingredients
Does Blue Apron have good meals?
Blue Apron reviews can attest that the company not only has good meals but, more importantly, has a good variety of meals. There is something for virtually everyone on the website, including vegetarians, pescatarians and health-conscious folks.
Although this possibly wouldn’t be the best meal kit service for families because of its more elevated menu, the meals are ultra-delicious and palatable for the gourmets out there. My mouth is just watering while perusing the upcoming menu of Egg & Cucumber Sandwiches with Smoked Gouda Spread & Persimmon Salad and Sweet & Spicy Cod with Rice & Bok Choy.
Annamarie Higley/Taste of Home
I’ve tried six meal kit delivery services at this point, and I’m always on a mission to figure out the differentiating factors of each. Blue Apron reviews will admit that this meal kit is on the pricier side—up there with Green Chef ($12/meal) and Home Chef ($10/meal). However, I would say the balance between the simplicity of the preparation methods and the sophistication and success of the recipes justifies the cost. Blue Apron meals feel more elevated than most competitors’ meals, so there’s going to be an elevated price tag to match. The creativity and thoughtfulness of each recipe wowed me.
I also appreciate that there is a Blue Apron Market and the option for add-ons, such as proteins, desserts and more. Although the market isn’t as robust as HelloFresh’s market, which is essentially a grocery delivery service, I think this feature from Blue Apron can still be considered a pro. Plus, its Heat & Eat and Ready to Cook meals further set it apart from others.
Believe the Blue Apron reviews! This meal kit has offerings for everyone. Whether you’re a health-focused young professional without much experience in the kitchen or a small family of adventurous eaters and soon-to-be foodies, there’s something for you. The Heat & Eat and Ready to Cook meals are perfect for those in the former category, and the rest of the recipes are a great match for those in the second group.
The unannounced ingredient swaps and packaging issues were a little disappointing, but the complex flavor profiles and great taste of both my recipes impressed me. And I was even more impressed by how little work it took to get them on my table. I would certainly recommend this meal kit service to anyone with a busy schedule and/or some extra money to spend on food.
Where to Buy Blue Apron
We Tried It
With a couple clicks, you and the whole crew can enjoy handpicked, chef-approved recipes week after week.
Purchase your first box on the Blue Apron website for between $61 and $171, depending on the number of meals and servings selected. Chances are, it won’t be your last!