Blue Apron Overview
If you have weeks when you just don't have time for a meal plan ahead of time. And then those weeks turn into days when you just don't have time to think about what to cook for dinner. Enter: blue apron.
After hearing rave reviews from friends, we finally decided to try Blue Apron, the pre-portioned, ready to cook meal delivery service. Here's how it went.
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What is Blue Apron?
Blue Apron is a (for the most part) nationwide delivery service that sends you a box of pre-portioned meal ingredients, with recipes. We were curious whether this was a truly helpful innovation in shopping and meal prep, or simply the worst of both worlds - expensive take-out food you still had to cook yourself.
Blue Apron cost, details and features
Blue Apron's serving size
We chose Blue Apron's Classic Plan, which is meant for two. The serving sizes were an average. There was enough for two plates of food, but definitely no leftovers.
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How much does Blue Apron cost?
Depending on the plan you choose and the number of meals you select, your cost per serving can go down. Here is the cost breakdown for each plan:
- 2 people, 2 recipes per week - $9.99/serving ($47.95/weekl + $7.99 shipping)
- 2 people, 3 recipes per week - $9.99/serving ($59.94/week + FREE shipping)
- 4 people, 2 recipes per week - $8.99/serving ($71.92/week + FREE shipping)
- 4 people, 3 recipes per week - $7.99/serving ($95.88/week + FREE shipping)
- 4 people, 4 recipes per week - $7.49/serving ($119.84/week + FREE shipping)
- Easy to follow recipes - Each meal comes with simple recipes complete with step-by-step photos
- Delivered at the ideal temperature - Comes with ice packs to keep the food cool even if you come home after a few hours
- Has a Weight Watchers option - If you're doing Weight Watchers, there's an option for you to order Blue Apron meals
- Delicious, quality meals - Blue Apron is known for encouraging customers to use interesting ingredients they may never have considered. The meals are consistently interesting and tasty
- No specific dietary plans - Can't cater specifically to certain allergies
- Not as easy to cancel plan - Must send a request by email rather than doing so online
- Less choice - Blue Apron offers 8 meals a week to choose from
Characteristics and Specs: The kit contained all the ingredients needed to cook three meals, each feeding two people, complete with recipes with step-by-step photos. Blue Apron also offers plans to feed four people, as well as a choice between the meat and fish or vegetarian meal plans. Delivery times range daily from 8am to 8pm and 6pm to 8pm.
Blue Apron posts the following week's menu on the site a week in advance so you will have the opportunity to make sure the menu looked appealing before ordering. Our week's dishes included ginger beef stir fry, turkey chili, and salmon with fennel and cauliflower steak.
Our meals came neatly packaged in a cardboard box lined with ice packs to keep the contents fresh for a few hours. The steak and chicken in our pack were vacuum sealed, which meant we had an extra week or two to use them.
Each recipe was well explained and every single ingredient except for olive oil, salt, and pepper was included. Tiny container of soy sauce? Check. One tablespoon of chili powder in a tiny bag? You bet.
This was helpful; however we found ourselves wishing we could have had the entire head of cauliflower and more than one stalk of celery so we could stock my fridge at the same time.
Favorite details: we liked being able to preview the menu first to make we would actually want to cook the dishes on it, and to know what we were going to cook for dinner a few days later, a rare occurrence for my usual spur of the moment cooking schedule. Bonus: I liked the look and sound of lots of the meals on offer!
Although the recipes included weren't especially creative, we still enjoyed trying a new take on dishes we would cooked before. We loved the salmon coated with ground fennel seed, and the turkey chili with its jalapeño kick and bright lime flavor won a spot in our regular recipe rotation. The ginger beef was nothing outstanding, but it added variety to the week.
The step-by-step color photos included with the recipes showed major steps in the process and each started with instructions to prep all the ingredients before cooking.
Blue Apron automatically enrolls customers in a weekly delivery plan with the option of skipping as many deliveries as desired at no charge. While we thought we would want to just try the service once and cancel, we have kept with it, skipping any weeks with unappealing dishes or when it doesn't fit our schedule provide allergen information. We often skip a week, but we know it's available when we in a bind or a menu looks particularly delicious. Also, the recipes are free to anyone browsing Blue Apron's website and aren't restricted to paying customers.
As of now, Blue Apron doesn't offer specific dietary plans and they're not able to cater to specific allergies (they do provide all the necessary allergen information). There is a vegetarian option (only for the two-person plan) and, if you pick the meat and fish plan, you can say which proteins you do and don't eat.
Some of the dishes don't quite add up to the price point, either. If we made turkey chili on my own, we would end up with quite a bit more for $22 (at $10.99 per serving) than enough for two people. To be fair, the portions are generous and some of the dishes would have been enough to feed three people, but you're paying for convenience. Leftovers are unlikely.
Although we loved having everything we needed for the recipes at the ready, we not sure we could justify the packaging used for such small amounts of spices and other ingredients on a weekly basis.
The Bottom Line
Overall, Blue Apron impressed us with its organized packaging, clear recipes, and menus. While we won't be using it as a weekly meal service, we enjoy checking out what's on the menu, browsing the recipes, and periodically ordering.