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Blue Apron is a popular meal kit service that delivers 2–4 recipes per week directly to your door, along with all the ingredients you need to prepare them. It also offers curated wine pairings and gifts.
However, while Blue Apron is one of the less expensive meal kit delivery services, it’s still more expensive than grocery shopping in most cases and is not necessarily a good fit for people with strict dietary needs.
This article provides a comprehensive review of how Blue Apron works, including the pros and cons of the service and how it compares with its competitors.
- convenient, as it requires less meal planning and grocery shopping
- caters to omnivores and vegetarians
- offers a variety of meals suitable for various dietary patterns, including WW-friendly and diabetes-friendly options
- uses non-GMO ingredients, hormone-free meats, and sustainably sourced seafood
- moderately priced
- free shipping on larger orders
- wine suggestions and optional wine delivery service
- new Blue Apron Market features gifts, kitchen essentials, and wine
- more expensive than grocery shopping
- not suitable for those with severe food allergies or intolerances
- doesn’t offer meals to fit gluten-free, vegan, paleo, or keto diets
- not all produce is organic
- fewer customization options than more expensive competitors
- smaller orders may be more expensive and include an extra shipping fee
- lots of plastic used for packaging ingredients
Blue Apron is a meal kit service that delivers 2–4 recipes to your door each week, along with all the preportioned ingredients you need to make the meals. It’s one of the most well known and widely used meal kit delivery services.
Many people value the convenience Blue Apron offers because it cuts down on the time needed for meal planning and grocery shopping.
Using a meal kit delivery service can also help you expand your cooking skills and try new foods and cooking methods.
Additionally, Blue Apron offers a healthier and less expensive alternative to dining out regularly for people who are too busy to shop for groceries and plan meals each day of the week.
The service recently added a subscription wine service to its offerings, along with the Blue Apron Market, where you can purchase gifts, wine, and kitchen tools.
Blue Apron offers four meal plans:
- Signature. This two-person meal plan offers a mixture of all of Blue Apron’s options, including meat, fish, and plant-based meals.
- Vegetarian. This two-person plan features meals that don’t contain meat or fish but may contain eggs and dairy products.
- Wellness. This meal plan for two people focuses on healthier choices such as carb-conscious meals and Weight Watchers (WW)-approved meals.
- Signature for Four. This meal plan is for larger families, offering four adult-size servings of the service’s Signature selections.
Each meal plan has a rotating weekly menu from which you can choose your meals.
Some meals may fit certain dietary patterns, such as low carb, reduced calorie, or diabetes-friendly. However, Signature (for two or four people), Wellness, and Vegetarian are the only meal plans offered.
After selecting your plan, you’ll be prompted to complete the checkout process and choose your weekly delivery day.
Each week, you’ll have a set cutoff date for choosing your meals. If you don’t select your meals by this date, Blue Apron will choose for you.
Blue Apron also offers you the convenience of skipping weeks or changing plans up to 5 weeks in advance and as late as 5 days before your next order is processed.
You can also contact a customer service representative at any time to get instructions on how to cancel your service indefinitely.
Blue Apron meal selection
When it’s time to choose your meals, you’ll be able to view all the available choices for that week for your meal plan. You’ll get new selections each week.
At the moment, you can’t mix and match between meal plans during the same week. However, you can switch between meal plans at any time.
The Signature plan offers the most variety, with 18–20 recipes to choose from. In contrast, the Wellness and Vegetarian plans include only 3–4 selections each week and the Signature for Four plan offers 8–10 options.
Both Signature plans also allow you to select “heat and eat” meals, which are fully prepared entrees you can quickly reheat in the microwave.
Here are examples of the types of recipes you’ll find, as well as per-serving nutritional information:
|Signature plan||Vegetarian plan||Wellness plan||Signature for Four plan|
|Recipe||One-Pot Shrimp and Udon Noodles with Carrots & Peppers||Creamy Tomato Fettuccine with Mushrooms & Thyme Breadcrumbs||Orange & Brown Butter Tilapia with Collard Greens & Brown Rice||Romesco Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Green Beans|
|Protein||32 grams||24 grams||41 grams||36 grams|
|Fat||19 grams||30 grams||27 grams||33 grams|
|Carbs||79 grams||112 grams||67 grams||54 grams|
|Fiber||5 grams||8 grams||8 grams||6 grams|
|Sodium||1,560 mg||910 mg||1,240 mg||1,590 mg|
Blue Apron meals are delivered to your home in refrigerated boxes packed with ice packs and insulated liners to ensure freshness during delivery. All the cardboard, rigid plastics, metal cans, and glass bottles you receive from Blue Apron are recyclable.
Inside your box, you’ll find most of the ingredients you’ll need to prepare your meals, though some recipes require you to have pantry staples such as salt, pepper, and olive oil.
You’ll also receive large recipes cards for each meal, which include easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. Most recipes take less than 45 minutes to cook and require 1–2 pots and pans for the entire recipe.
All animal proteins are sourced from farms and distributors that meet Blue Apron’s animal welfare policy. Additionally, the animals must be fed a diet that’s free of animal byproducts, antibiotics, and hormones.
The company’s seafood is sustainably sourced, according to Seafood Watch, a nonprofit program.
All of Blue Apron’s ingredients are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and some of the produce and other ingredients are organic, depending on ingredient availability and sourcing.
Unlike many other subscription services, Blue Apron doesn’t offer diet-specific plans such as gluten-free, vegan, or keto.
Instead, within the weekly menu, Blue Apron offers recipes that are suitable for certain dietary needs, such as:
- 600 Calories or Less: reduced-calorie, with 600 or fewer calories per serving
- Vegetarian: meat-free but may include dairy, eggs, and honey
- Diabetes-Friendly: follows the guidelines of the American Diabetes Association
- Carb-Conscious: contains 48 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) or less per serving
- Mediterranean Diet: inspired by the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet
- WW-Approved: emphasizes vegetables and lean proteins; WW (formerly Weight Watchers) points information is provided for these meals
- Plant Forward: contains only small amounts of meat or fish
Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee there will be enough of these options offered each week to fill your order with one particular type.
As such, Blue Apron may not be the best choice for people with specific dietary needs or preferences.
Additionally, while the service offers a Vegetarian plan, there are generally just 4–5 recipes to choose from each week.
Finally, because ingredients are packaged in a facility that processes common allergens, Blue Apron isn’t suitable for those with severe food allergies or intolerances.
Blue Apron meals vary in cost from $7.49–$9.99 per serving.
Here’s a closer look at the per-serving price for each meal plan:
|Signature||Vegetarian||Wellness||Signature for Four|
|2 recipes per week||$9.99||$9.99||$9.99||$8.99|
|3 recipes per week||$8.99||$8.99||$8.99||$7.99|
|4 recipes per week||$8.99||N/A||N/A||$7.49|
Shipping costs an additional $9.99, regardless of which meal plan or box size you choose.
Blue Apron Wine is a separate subscription service offered by Blue Apron that includes a monthly shipment of six 2-serving (2-cup, or 500-ml) bottles of wine for $69.99 per month, shipping included.
You can choose to receive all reds or whites or mix and match.
Each wine includes a tasting card with extra information about the wine, such as helpful tasting notes and tips for pairing it with your Blue Apron meals.
Blue Apron Wine ships separately from Blue Apron meal kit orders, and you don’t have to be a subscriber of one to use the other.
The Blue Apron Market is an online store offering kitchen tools, pantry staples, packaged meal kits, and wine bundles.
Market offerings include:
- Kitchen tools: pots, pans, knives, aprons, etc.
- Pantry: spice blends, salt
- Meal kits: meat bundle, meal prep kits, etc. (these kits don’t require a subscription)
- Wine bundles: curated selections of three or more bottles
As a bonus, you don’t need a Blue Apron subscription to order items from the Market.
This table compares Blue Apron with similar meal kit delivery services — not preassembled meal delivery services.
|Blue Apron||Hello Fresh||Green Chef||Sunbasket||Dinnerly|
|Price per serving||$8–$10||$8–$9||$9.99–12.99||$11–$13||$5–$6|
|Meal plans for special diets||vegetarian|
|• keto + paleo|
• low carb
|Ingredient quality||• GMO-free|
• hormone-free meats
• sustainable seafood
• some organic ingredients
|• hormone-free meats|
• sustainable seafood
• some organic ingredients
|• organic produce and eggs|
• high animal welfare requirements
• sources ingredients from regional farmers and distributors
|• organic produce and eggs|
• sustainable seafood
• hormone- and antibiotic-free pork and chicken
• grass-fed beef
|• some organic ingredients|
•some grass-fed beef
• heritage pork
• antibiotic-free chicken
Hello, editor here!
As a registered dietitian, foodie, and busy mom, I’ve taken on the task of trying several meal delivery companies, including Blue Apron, to help you decide which is the right fit for your household.
Blue Apron was the first meal delivery service I ever tried, but that was nearly 10 years ago, and I was curious to see how the service has evolved since then.
Signing up and selecting my meals
Signing up for Blue Apron was quick and easy. First, you’ll need to provide you email. Next, you’ll be instructed to choose one of the four plans and select the number of recipes you want to receive each week.
In the third and final step, you’ll select your delivery day and enter your credit card info. Once your account is set up, you’ll be able to view your upcoming meals and swap out recipes based on your preferences.
The menu offered a good variety of recipes to choose from, and I found it easy to find meals that my family would enjoy.
Once your meals are packaged and shipped out, you’ll receive an email notification containing a link to track your box, as well as a list of ingredients and kitchen items you’ll need to have on hand to prepare your meals that week.
Delivery and packaging
My box arrived on its scheduled delivery day just an hour or two before dinnertime.
Inside the box were two recipe cards, loose produce, two plastic bags containing additional ingredients for each recipe, vacuum-sealed salmon, and chicken breasts.
All the ingredients were in good condition and appeared to be fresh. However, there was a lot more plastic than I was expecting, which I had mixed feelings about.
When it came to the chicken and salmon, I appreciated that the salmon was vacuum-sealed for optimal freshness and that the chicken was packaged in two layers of plastic to prevent any juices from seeping out — an issue I’ve had multiple times with HelloFresh.
However, I think the service could slightly reduce the amount of plastic by using brown paper bags, rather than large plastic ones, to group each recipe’s “knickknack” ingredients.
Are Blue Apron meals easy to prepare? And how do they taste?
Because it was a holiday week, I opted to receive just two meals, both of which I found flavorful and easy to prepare, though they did require a bit of multitasking.
Spanish-Spiced Salmon & Veggie Quinoa with Almond-Date Topping
This was my favorite dish of the two because it had a great balance of flavors and textures. I particularly enjoyed the almond-date topping, something I never would have thought to pair with a salmon dish.
As a bonus, the meal was ready in less than 30 minutes.
Seared Chicken & Creamy Italian Dressing with Mashed Potatoes & Glazed Vegetables
I was really excited about this dish because I love tangy Italian dressings. Luckily, the dressing lived up to my expectations — it was creamy and packed with flavor. The vegetables were also delicious and easily my favorite part of the meal.
However, I found the mashed potatoes to be a bit dry and ended up adding a dollop of Greek yogurt from my fridge to make them creamier.
I also wished I had prepared the potatoes last. By the time the chicken was ready, the potatoes had gotten cold, even though I’d kept them covered as the recipe card recommended.
How does Blue Apron compare with other meal delivery services I’ve tried?
Overall, I enjoyed my two Blue Apron meals and saw plenty of other recipes that I would’ve been excited to try as well.
While it doesn’t cater to many specialty diets, based on the price, ingredient quality, and recipe variety, I’d say it’s tied with Green Chef as my second-favorite meal kit delivery service.
Two aspects of the experience could have been better (these are also the reasons it’s not my number-one pick): The service could use less plastic packaging and offer slightly more exciting flavor and ingredient combinations.
For these reasons, and because it has more specialty diet menus, Sunbasket continues to be my top pick among meal kit companies. However, it’s also one of the most expensive, so it may not be feasible for all budgets.
Blue Apron is one of the more moderately priced meal kit delivery options, but it offers extremely limited selections for people with specific dietary needs.
Blue Apron may be worth the price if you’re interested in cooking more balanced meals at home and value the convenience of a meal kit delivery service.
It also may be especially beneficial for individuals or small families who are busy and find themselves ordering takeout often for convenience.
However, if you have strict dietary needs or severe food allergies, you should consider another meal kit delivery service that caters specifically to your dietary needs.
It’s also not a good fit if sustainable packaging is one of your top priorities.
Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery service that offers a wide variety of appealing recipes for people without specific dietary needs.
The company now even offers a wine subscription service and an online marketplace, neither of which requires a subscription to Blue Apron’s meal kits.
Compared with other meal kit delivery services, Blue Apron’s prices fall right in the middle — not the lowest or the highest. However, it offers fewer options for people with strict dietary needs and preferences than some of its competitors.
Overall, if you value the convenience offered by meal kit delivery services and don’t have any specific dietary needs, Blue Apron could be a great option for your household.