HelloFresh Review: I Tried a Meal Prep Service for a Week—Here’s What I Thought

Our shopping editor has tested the brand's offerings three times in four years, and her glowing HelloFresh reviews remain. Find convenience, quality and cost-effectiveness in one cardboard box.

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Nothing compares to a fresh, home-cooked meal made with quality ingredients straight from the farmers market or local grocery and seasoned just the way you like. It’s equal parts care and delicious personalized flavor.

But, more often than we’d like, this isn’t feasible. The kids’ schedules get hectic, work meetings run late, or we simply can’t muster the energy, creativity or forethought those kinds of meals require.

All of these reasons to opt for other meal solutions are totally relatable, which is likely why meal delivery services such as Dinnerly, Hungryroot, and HelloFresh have found such success. If you’re unsure whether one of these services would be a good fit, look no further—read my HelloFresh review and decide if it’s conducive to your lifestyle.

What is HelloFresh?

Different Dishes on TableAnnamarie Higley/Taste of Home

HelloFresh is a meal-kit provider based in Germany that has found wild success here in the United States. The meals, which customers choose weekly from a menu with dozens of options, are delivered straight to your door. The company allows customers to purchase as many as six different recipes per week in serving quantities of either two or four. That’s traditional HelloFresh.

Launched in the summer of 2021, HelloFresh Market elevated the company from a beloved meal-prep service and suppertime helper into a full-blown online grocery. Through the market, customers can order breakfasts, side dishes, snacks, beverages and even fresh produce. The add-ons are included in the same box as the other recipes and come from an array of popular brands and vendors, including Pillsbury, Annie’s Homegrown, Sargento, Lärabar and more.

Hellofresh box with Vegetables lying next to itVIA MERCHANT VIA MERCHANT

We Tried It

HelloFresh

With a few clicks on your part, HelloFresh does the rest of the work, delivering the makings for delicious, family-friendly breakfasts, lunches and dinners straight to your door.

HelloFresh Features

When you first hop on to the HelloFresh website, you’re prompted to pick out a plan. This entails selecting your dietary preferences, such as meat and veggies, pescatarian, veggie or family-friendly, as well as entering the number of people for whom you cook and the number of meals you’d like per week. 

Then, on HelloFresh’s easily navigable menu, there is an array of meals labeled as “Calorie Smart,” “Carb Smart,” “Easy Cleanup,” “Easy Prep,” “Veggie,” etc. to help customers select based on their appetite and schedule that week. My meals of choice? Street Cart-Style Turkey Bowls, One-Pan Beef Enchiladas Verdes and Creamy Dreamy Mushroom Cavatappi. I also could’ve added on fresh produce, desserts and breakfast items via HelloFresh Market, which I’ve done in the past but passed on this time around. 

My HelloFresh meals arrived on the Wednesday of the given week in a sturdy, branded cardboard box. Each meal’s ingredients, excluding the meat, were divvied up and tucked into their own brown paper bag. The ground beef and ground turkey were situated underneath the bags and sandwiched between two ice packs that were still cold. 

In addition to the meals, there are recipe cards that contain helpful information such as an ingredient list, tools list, prep and cook times, calorie count, cooking tips and step-by-step instructions.  

How We Tested It 

When it comes to meal delivery services, testing means cooking—and also eating (the best part!). I excitedly cooked all three meals within two days of receiving my box.

Street Cart-Style Turkey Bowls

Many Ingredients kept on TableAnnamarie Higley/Taste of Home

Maybe it’s because I’m partial to Middle Eastern food, but this meal was easily my favorite of the bunch. It provided the most ingredients, including turmeric, lemon, rice, cucumber, shawarma sliced almonds, pita bread and more. And, to my dismay, it required equally as many tools and dishes. That being said, the cleanup was well worth it because the recipe was delicious.

I chopped the cucumber; boiled, simmered and fluffed the yellow rice (my favorite element of the recipe!); stirred the sauce; browned the turkey; and toasted the pita. All these components came together for an interesting, unexpected and texturally exciting dish. I wouldn’t have thought to put butter on pita, hot sauce on turkey shawarma or sliced almonds in turmeric rice. But it all worked—and in just 25 minutes!

Although I was slightly underwhelmed by the fresh ingredients for this meal—the lemon was small and not very juicy, and the cucumber was a bit soft, the final result was certainly delicious enough to make me disregard these facts.

One-Pan Beef Enchiladas Verdes

Ingredients for One-Pan Beef Enchiladas VerdesAnnamarie Higley/Taste of Home

This recipe actually took me less time to prepare than was estimated—32 minutes instead of 35 minutes. You can’t beat that! And I loved having an excuse to whip out my cast-iron skillet. That being said, an ovenproof skillet isn’t something every home cook has. (The recipe card offers instructions for how to adjust this recipe for a 13×9-inch baking dish.) All other ingredients and tools required for this recipe—salt, pepper, cooking oil and a few bowls and utensils—were very basic.

The provided ingredients, such as the 80/20 ground beef, the name-brand hot sauce and the corn tortillas, were high quality. Although the color of the pepper didn’t match that of the one on the recipe card, it seemed ripe enough and easy to slice and soften.

This is truly one of the easiest meals I’ve tested, which is really saying something because I don’t consider enchiladas simple to make. The utilization of one pan for both the browning of the meat and the baking of the enchiladas was a game-changer. I did find the enchilada filling to be somewhat bland (the salsa verde helped a little), but it was so easy to make that I didn’t mind. This would be an ideal weeknight meal delivery for a family with young kiddos.

Creamy Dreamy Mushroom Cavatappi

Ingredients for Creamy Dreamy Mushroom CavatappiAnnamarie Higley/Taste of Home

I love it when I dig into one of these bags to discover some of my favorite supermarket brands, like Colavita and Philadelphia, both of which were provided for this cavatappi recipe. Taking these as well as the fresh mushrooms and pre-made garlic-herb butter into account, I had a good feeling about this dish before I even began. (Note: The flour bag tore slightly during shipping, so there was a thin coating of flour on all the ingredients.)

During preparation, I pulled out a knife, cutting board, saucepan, strainer, skillet, wooden spatula, paper towels, measuring cup, plate, whisk and kitchen shears. I loved that the instructions had me use the same skillet for the mushrooms and the bechamel sauce. This recipe took me about five minutes longer than allotted, but that’s on me. I added too much pasta water to the sauce so it took longer to reduce to the correct thickness.

The prepared pasta was so delicious but very rich, so be warned. The cavatappi was cooked to perfection, and the sprinkling of shredded Parmesan cheese and green onions on top took things, well, over the top. Although I wish I could’ve gotten a nice crisp on the mushrooms like the directions said, this meal was still majorly enjoyable and, in my opinion, worthy of a restaurant menu.

Pros

  • Well-rounded, tasty recipes
  • Convenient
  • True to cook/prep times
  • Helpful instructions and resources
  • Little food waste and efficient packaging

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Considerable cleanup

FAQ

What is the downside of HelloFresh?

Which meal delivery service is right for you (or whether any of them are right for you) is entirely subjective. HelloFresh reviews suggest that some people might perceive the cost to be a drawback, for example. The meals cost between $11.50 and $10 per serving, with the price going down incrementally the more you buy. Similarly, other HelloFresh reviews might view the absence of keto or paleo options and the lack of vegan options as a downside. HelloFresh is a great meal delivery service for the masses, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for everyone.

Is HelloFresh really worth it?

Above all else, HelloFresh saves you time on meal planning. If you’re someone who’s too slammed or unable to plan recipes, create a grocery list and go to the store, then HelloFresh is absolutely worth it. HelloFresh would be especially beneficial for families with small children, busy young professionals or housebound folks.

Product Comparison 

Boxes of three different brands kept togetherAnnamarie Higley/Taste of Home

I’m something of a meal kit expert—I’ve tested six services at this point. I’d argue that HelloFresh was the first household name in this business, and there’s good reason for that. The website and service as a whole are user-friendly, and the variety of choices—both the sheer quantity of recipes and the range of flavors and dietary preferences—is amazing. Although it might not be as affordable as some other brands, including its sister brand EveryPlate, it’s cheaper than most, like Home Chef or its other sister brand GreenChef.

Those meal kit services that are a bit pricier are, in turn, a little more gourmet, too. Some foodies might find HelloFresh’s recipes to be a little elementary for their liking, but that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t taste good. HelloFresh offers straightforward, tasty recipes that the whole family will love, as well as convenience the cook will love.

Final Verdict

In all, my HelloFresh reviews are positive, though I will not make a weekly habit of ordering it because it’s a little beyond my budget. But because the service is so easy to activate and deactivate, I would definitely consider re-ordering if I’m ever in the mood to treat myself.

This service is probably best for busy couples or small families who don’t have the time to devise lengthy grocery lists or run to the supermarket each week. All it takes is the click of a few buttons, and—bada bing!—there’s a box with everything you need delivered right to your doorstep.

Where to Buy HelloFresh

Hellofresh box with Vegetables lying next to itVIA MERCHANT VIA MERCHANT

We Tried It

HelloFresh

HelloFresh transforms your weekly meal prep by shipping everything you need for dinners (and beyond) straight to your door.

Purchase your shipment of HelloFresh meals directly from the company’s website. Boxes range from about $56 to $250, depending on the number of recipes and servings you order. I know I’ll be dreaming of that Creamy Dreamy Mushroom Cavatappi until the next batch arrives.

Annamarie Higley
Annamarie is Taste of Home’s Shopping Editor and previously worked on the brand’s magazine and special issues. It was during this time she tapped into her love language, gifts, and spearheaded the print holiday gift guides in 2021 and 2022. She’s thrilled to continue creating gift guides full time for the shopping team, in addition to testing and reviewing products, spotlighting viral gadgets and editing freelanced content. A midwestern transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, crafting and—you guessed it!—shopping and cooking.