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HelloFresh Meal Delivery Kit Review

Updated


HelloFresh is one of the best meal-kit subscription services that delivers everything you need to cook delicious meals at home. Meats and produce are very fresh, and the recipes are easy to prepare. Even better, the meals taste as good as they look. Unlike competitor Blue Apron, HelloFresh manages to deliver quickly without any delays attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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HelloFresh is one of the best meal-kit subscription services that delivers everything you need to cook delicious meals at home. Meats and produce are very fresh, and the recipes are easy to prepare. Even better, the meals taste as good as they look. Unlike competitor Blue Apron, HelloFresh manages to deliver quickly without any delays attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Table of contents

Founded in 2011, HelloFresh is a German-based company with operations in the U.S., Canada and other European Union countries. Their distribution centers are in New Jersey, California, Colorado and Texas, and they ship to everywhere in the U.S. Generally their delivery schedule is Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but there are exceptions for cities located near the distribution centers.

Website and ordering meals

HelloFresh’s website and account set-up are similar to the other meal kit subscriptions. You begin by choosing your preference of meals from four categories: Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly and Low Calorie. The selection can be changed at any time, but you need to make a preliminary choice to set up an account.

Next, you customize the plan by choosing how many people you’ll be cooking for. For two people, you can choose three, four or five recipes per week. For four people, you choose two or three recipes a week. For each plan, the price per serving plus shipping ($7.99) is displayed. Prices range from $7.49 to $8.99 per portion (not per person).

Once you’ve set up your account, you need to provide payment information before you can choose recipes. All meal subscription services, like Martha & Marley Spoon, Blue Apron and Dinnerly, work the same way: Pay first, then see what your choices are.

After you’ve paid, it’s revealed what your week’s menu will be. Each recipe has an attractive photograph and a brief description, and at first glance, we noticed there was an over-abundance of pasta, rice and potato side dishes. However, if the recommended recipes aren’t to your liking, you can edit the recipes by choosing from 12 – 15 others.

Not all of the weekly recipes are available because the COVID-19 pandemic has created some food shortages, which, HelloFresh explains, prevents them from getting certain ingredients. HelloFresh, however, had more options than some of its competitors (Blue Apron had the least; Martha & Marley Spoon had the most), so it wasn’t a problem for us to select a tasty-looking menu. After you’ve chosen your recipes, you’re offered several delivery dates, the earliest being four days from the day you’ve ordered with a delivery window between 8 am and 8 pm.

What’s in the box?

Packaging

We were alerted by email when our box would be delivered and then when it was delivered. The box was insulated with a cushioned biodegradable cellophane wrapper, and ingredients for each recipe were in separate paper bags. The packaged locally sourced meats — chicken strips, ground beef and ground pork — were sandwiched between two frozen gel packs.

Once your box is delivered, and if you’re not preparing to cook one of the recipes, you should refrigerate all the ingredients immediately. Depending on what you’ve ordered, the bags can be a bit bulky and finding room in your refrigerator could be tricky. But we liked the convenience of having everything we needed for a recipe in individual bags.

In the photo below, you’ll see how one of the recipes is packaged. We’ve read that HelloFresh had been previously criticized for over-packaging, but that issue has clearly been addressed, and their recyclable packaging is minimal and necessary.

ingredients for 1 recipe: chimi chicken and rice

When you empty the ingredients from the bag, make sure that you turn the bag upside down, because smaller packages, like hot sauce or mustard, or small chili peppers, can get stuck in the bottom folds of the bag.

Recipe cards

3 HelloFresh recipe cards

Each recipe has a card with step-by-step instructions that are illustrated with beautifully styled photographs. (All HelloFresh recipes are available online.) The front of HelloFresh’s cards have a photo of what the final meal should look like, and as you’ll see in our photographs below, we attempted to replicate HelloFresh’s photography.

The recipe card also has ingredients and amounts for both two-person and four-person meals listed side-by-side, which we found a little confusing at first. For example, Roma tomato is listed as 1 / 2 — 1 tomato for two people and 2 tomatoes for four people — which could easily be misinterpreted as ½ of a tomato.

Prep and total cooking times are included, and we found them to be accurate. Calories are also listed, and we were surprised at the whopping 950 calories for the Cheesy Beef Tostadas. However, the portion size is three tostadas per person, which we thought was much too large. But on the plus side, it also means that you’ll have leftovers for storing in our favorite food storage containers.

On the reverse side of the recipe card are six steps for preparation and cooking, each depicted with a photograph. Overall HelloFresh’s photos were very helpful in showing us how each step should look. Also included is a list of the cookware, utensils, seasonings (salt and pepper) and oil you’ll need for the recipe.

Recipe results

As will all meal-kit subscriptions, be aware that you will actually have to cook. The chef-created recipes also assume that you have basic knife skills. (It will also help if you have a great kitchen knife.) Beyond that, however, we found the HelloFresh recipes very easy to execute thanks to the detailed step-by-step instructions.

Chimi chicken and yellow rice bowls

chimi chicken rice bowl

This well-designed recipe was one of the recommended recipes when we signed up for the subscription. As with the other HelloFresh recipes, portions are large; the turmeric rice in this recipe for two people could easily feed four people. With the added roasted onions and poblano chili, ten ounces of chicken was plenty for two people.

The recipe entails making the turmeric rice, roasting the onion wedges and poblano strips till slightly charred, making two different salsas and lastly sauteing the chicken. The salsas took the most time to chop the ingredients finely and then separate them into two different bowls, which we thought was an unnecessary step since they’re spooned on together.

That said, the rice was delightfully bright and cheerful, and the juices of the salsas seeped into the rice, making it savory and spicy. The chicken and produce were fresh-tasting, and the whole meal was flavorful and filling.

BBQ pork and apple meatloaves

spread of ingredients for bbq apple meatloaf

This was our favorite recipe of the three we ordered. It was extremely easy to prepare and took almost no effort. The mini meatloaves are made from ground pork, grated apple, a bit of garlic, panko bread crumbs and a dash of chili powder. Once shaped into mini loaves, they bake for 10 minutes. Fresh green beans (pre-washed and trimmed) are tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in the same baking sheet as the meatloaves.

Although it’s not in the instructions, ground pork should always be cooked to 160 ℉, which you’ll only know for sure by using a meat thermometer.

This delicious recipe has two side dishes, the second being mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and garlic, and as with the Chimi Chicken recipe, the 12 ounces of potatoes was a lot for two people. The meatloaves are finished with a barbecue sauce glaze, which had the right balance of spicy and sweet. We would definitely order this recipe again.

bbq apple meatlof, green beans, and mashed potatoes

One complaint, however: A corner of the packaging for the panko bread crumbs had been ripped, perhaps in packing, so we discarded it for safety’s sake. Fortunately, we had panko crumbs in our pantry to use instead.

Cheesy beef tostadas

ingredients for cheesy beef tostadas

There was a bit too much slicing and chopping with this recipe, and prep time took a lot longer than the recipe card’s estimate of 10 minutes. The vegetables in this recipe didn’t seem as fresh; the Roma tomato was a little overripe, and the onion and Anaheim chili had a few bruises. Although the end result was good, we found that adding pinches of salt as instructed to almost every step made the dish too salty for our tastes.

two cheesy beef tostadas

The technique for making the tostadas, however, is excellent. The six tortillas are lightly brushed with oil, pierced with a fork and then baked in a hot oven. The tortillas puff up, crisp and golden brown. When the Mexican cheese mix is sprinkled on the hot tostada, it melts, so each bite is both crunchy and gooey. We wouldn’t order this recipe again, but we will use the tostada method for other Mexican dishes.

Subscription cost and value

HelloFresh is comparable to other meal kit delivery subscriptions. For two people, and depending on how many recipes (3, 4 or 5) you choose per week, it runs between $9.78 to $10.32 per portion (that is, two portions per meal) or $61.93 to $97.89 (includes shipping).

For four people, HelloFresh only offers 2 or 3 recipes per week at $79.81 and $97.87, respectively, or $9.98 per portion (four portions per meal) and $8.15 per portion per person. The more recipes you order, the cost per portion decreases.

Weekly OrderPrice Per PortionShippingTotal WeeklyPrice Per Portion With Shipping
2 people/3 meals$8.99$7.99$61.93$10.32
2 people/4 meals$8.99$7.99$79.91$9.98
2 people/5 meals$8.99$7.99$97.89$9.78
4 people/2 meals$8.99$7.99$79.91$9.98
4 people/3 meals$7.49$7.99$97.87$8.15

Continuing the subscription?

The subscription to HelloFresh can be paused or canceled at any time. You can choose to skip delivery for a particular week if you don’t care for the offered recipes. We found HelloFresh’s website and ordering process easy to use, but we would have liked options for ordering two recipes for two people or four or five recipes for four people.

Generally, the majority of the recipes in the HelloFresh repertoire are enticing, although there may be too many carb-packed items for people who are following low-carb or low-calorie diets. It would be worth exploring HelloFresh’s low-calorie options because the regular recipes average between 800 to 1000 calories per serving. That said, portion size is quite large, and for all of the recipes we cooked for two people, we didn’t consume full portions in one sitting, meaning we had leftovers. In fact, there was so much food, we could have easily served a third person.

If you’re too busy to plan out weekly menus or are unable to shop for groceries, HelloFresh can be a real time-saver. If you don’t enjoy cooking, this probably isn’t the service for you. But if you want to learn to cook, HelloFresh’s easy recipes could turn you into a chef in no time. The high quality of their meats and produce delivered to your front door at a reasonable cost makes HelloFresh one of the best meal-kit-delivery subscriptions services.

HelloFresh - Meal Delivery Kit

A great time-saver for those who enjoy cooking and aren't on low-carb or low-calorie diets.

Gene Gerrard, Writer

Gene Gerrard was recently voted as one of the top five personal chefs in Los Angeles. He created About.com's Meat and Wild Game Cooking website and published hundreds of recipes, interviews, cookbook reviews and blog posts about food trends. Gene is also a professional magician, and when he's not writing for Your Best Digs, he's performing at the World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood.