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Is Blue Apron really worth the cost?

(Note: This post was sponsored by Blue Apron. Read our disclosure policy here.)

Last year I had the opportunity to try out Blue Apron — a subscription service that ships farm-fresh ingredients right to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions so you can make home-cooked dinners for your family.

Since I’ve gotten so many questions about Blue Apron since then, they asked me if I would be willing to do another unboxing and review on my blog for those of you who have yet to try out the service and are curious if it would work for your family or not.

When I first tried out Blue Apron, I was a newbie and didn’t know that you could go in and change what meals they would send you and when your box would arrive. This time around, I got smart and went in to my account and looked at the different meal options and chose two meals that I thought my family would really like.

(Some of their meals are ones that I know we wouldn’t like at all and that some in my family wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole because they are just too different than our usual simple meals.)

I also changed the delivery date so that the box would arrive on a day that would be better for our family instead of the pre-scheduled date.

When I was in my account, I also discovered how easy it is to see what meals they are going to be sending to you (if you are signed up for the subscription service), how simple it is to skip deliveries, and how it only takes a click of a button to see and/or change what meals they will be sending you.

I chose to have them send us a box of ingredients for two recipes: Sweet & Sour Salmon with Bok Choy, Carrot, and Ginger Fried Rice and Mushroom and Swiss Cheeseburgers with Roasted Rosemary Potato Wedges.

I made both recipes this week and both were winners at our house! Yay for going in and choosing which recipes I thought my family would love best!

{all the ingredients for the Sweet & Sour Salmon recipe}

If you are unfamiliar with Blue Apron, they are a meal subscription service and they send you a box of all the ingredients you’ll need to make 2-3 meals, including sides.

The box includes pretty much every single thing you’ll need to make the recipes. The only extra ingredients the recipes called for this time were olive oil and salt & pepper.

Blue Apron’s goal is to make it easy for you to create delicious, nutritional recipes at home and I think they do a really great job of that. The service is definitely on the pricey side for a frugal person like me, but it’s really fun and the meals we made this time were SO delicious!

I also love that they send you everything you need to make the recipe and very detailed instructions on how to make the recipe. Even if you aren’t an experienced cook, the instructions are so detailed (and include lots of pictures!) so that it feels so doable and simple.

I also love that they tell you exactly how long it’s going to take to make the meals — so you can know how much time you should plan to make dinner.

(Note: Some of their meals take quite a bit of time and prep. They can all be made in 40 minutes or less, but as someone who rarely spends more than 15 minutes making dinner, spending twice or three times as long in the kitchen making dinner is a big difference! I love cooking, but I rarely have time at dinner for a bunch of steps and a lot of time-intensive effort.)

For me, one of the huge benefits to this service is that you literally don’t have to think about planning a meal or buying the ingredients for that meal. You just choose the recipe and open the box and it’s all there for you!

As always, though, I encourage families to do what’s best for them. All of us are on different budgets and in various seasons of our lives, and Blue Apron may or may not be a great fit for your family.

If you are thinking of trying out this service, here are some pros & cons to consider:


  • The ingredients are very, very fresh. The ingredients were delivered in a refrigerated box and I was impressed with how fresh they were for being sent by UPS!
  • You get a choice in the kinds of recipes you want to receive (meat, fish, vegetarian, etc.)
  • There’s a fun variety of recipes and an opportunity to try new foods. Some of the ingredients that we’ve received in our boxes have been outside our usual fare. If you like to try new things, this is a great way to keep your meals fresh and varied!
  • There is no wasted food. They send you the exact amount of everything you need to make the recipe — so you don’t end up throwing out the extra food because you don’t have another recipe that calls for that ingredient before it goes bad!
  • They offer a large selection of different recipes — all that are between 500 and 800 calories each. They are always adding new recipes to their line-up and do not repeat any of the same recipes for at least a year.
  • All of the recipes can be made in 40 minutes or less. This seems like it’s pretty much right on.
  • They offer two types of plans — the 2-Person Plan and the Family Plan.
  • You can choose which day of the week your food is delivered to you.
  • There’s no long-term commitment once you sign up for Blue Apron. You can cancel your subscription or skip weeks at any time.
  • They are working to develop a sustainable food system and use high quality ingredients. Check out their vision page here.


  • To keep the food so fresh, there is a LOT of packaging waste, in my opinion. Gratefully, however, they do offer a recycling program and you can return your packaging for free to Blue Apron via USPS. This made me feel better about all of the packaging!
  • The meals are more time-intensive than I’m used to. Blue Apron specializes in more creative recipes that are geared toward foodies and those who love to spend time in the kitchen. While I love to cook, I don’t always have 30-45 minutes to spend in the kitchen making dinner.
  • Not all of the meals are things our family would really enjoy. When I was choosing which recipes to have them send in our box, I saw a number of recipe options that I knew would be things my kids (especially) would not go for. This is why I think it’s so important that you go online and choose which recipes they send in your box. Don’t just let them choose for you or you might end up spending money on a meal that you won’t like at all.
  • Personally, I think the prices are really expensive — especially if you usually cook from scratch and make simple meals like we do. (However, if you love to buy expensive and unique ingredients or you typically go out to dinner multiple times per week, it’s very possible you could save money and eat more healthfully by using Blue Apron. Plus, it could also save you time and effort when it comes to grocery shopping and meal-planning.)

After your first Blue Apron order, there’s no long-term commitment. You can cancel your subscription or skip weeks at any time!

Have you tried Blue Apron before? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

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  • I haven’t tried Blue Apron but I have been using another delivery service for the last two years and absolutely love it!

    The meals are definitely most expensive than making scratch from home, but it’s a terrific way to get out of a food rut or doing a lot of take out.

    We’ve gotten to the point now where we skip quite a few weeks and a lot of the meals in my weekly menu plan are recipes that we’ve received in past boxes.

  • Pamela says:

    I’ve tried both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh thanks to people who shared coupon codes for free boxes with me. I enjoyed the meals I made with both but they all seemed quite fussy. The recipes turned out well but I didn’t think they were tasty enough to justify the time I spent making them. Also, they advertise fresh meat and veggies and such, but it didn’t seem any different to me than what I can get at our grocery stores or Farmer’s Market. I do live in California so maybe I’m spoiled? In any case, the boxes are too expensive for us for now. And I felt like I needed to rush through the preparation so that I’d get it done in the “right amount” of time, which is silly. I think they could be great for people who are used to eating out a lot and who want to transition to eating at home but it just wasn’t right for me.

  • Banni says:

    I’ve never tried the Blue Apron service, but they list recipes for their dishes on their website and I’ve made several of those. I tend to be a bit of a foodie and have a well stocked kitchen so I usually have most, if not all, of the ingredients already on hand (and if I don’t have an ingredient will either sub or eliminate if I don’t want to go to the store) Everything I’ve made has been great!

    • What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    • Marion says:

      Thanks for the tip about their recipes on their website. I like Blue Apron but with a family of 6 big eaters is does not make sense financial for us. I have order for 2 to have an in home date with my husband before and I think that’s a good deal much cheaper than a nice restaurant.

      • Lisa says:

        That’s a fun idea and great for families with little ones who would also have to include the cost of sitting (or the struggle of getting little people to friends/relatives). Thanks for sharing!

  • Cheryl says:

    I’ve never heard of Blue Apron, but seeing as how I’m in Canada and they don’t deliver outside the US, that’s not surprising! I took a look at their page and they are expensive. For 3 meals in a week, for 2 weeks, I can do an excellent job of stocking my pantry, including perishables and frozen, plus misc baking supplies. I can see how it might work for some people, maybe that’s a great deal in some of the more expensive parts of the country. I live in an area where I have access to several produce stores plus fresh seafood. It’s a supply and demand thing. It won’t cost me $60 to put together 2 salmon dinners. More like $10 or $15. This service wouldn’t make financial sense for me.

  • I agree that a meal delivery service is fairly expensive, significantly moreso than what our usual budget allows. Like many things in life, however, there are times where it pays to flex your budget. My husband travels quite a bit for work and sometimes I have work trips. The last thing we want to think about after returning from an exhausting work trip is meal planning. If we coordinate a Blue Apron delivery with our return, we can ease back into life at home without having to worry about rushing off to buy groceries right away.

    • Meg says:

      Yes, 100%! I’m so glad you’ve found what works best for your family. 🙂 -Meg, MSM Team

    • Laura says:

      I usually make sure we have ultra-pasteurized milk in the fridge so we can have cereal when we get back from a trip. I’m pretty sure that means I am NOT a foodie, lol!

  • HannahL says:

    Have you heard about Green Chef? I did not like Hello Fresh at all and their customer service was frustrating. But Green Chef was the best I’ve tried so far. It’s not cost effective for me to use on a regular basis but if we ever have a week that I need something prepped and ready to go that will be my choice. Almost all the ingredients are chopped for you so you’re really just dumping them in a pan. The recipes involves different veggies then my kids usually eat but even my normally picky 7 year old had 2nds.

  • Janna says:

    I was recently working with a new grandmother who does not cook due to both, lack of time and lack of interest. She said she got her daughter, the new Mom a 3 month subscription so she could have fresh food delivered for so many meals a week. I thought that was a great idea for someone to do who does have the time or desire to cook and stock someone’s freezer for an event such as a new baby.

  • laura says:

    I’m a bit of a foodie and am not cooking for picky eaters, so I liked that Blue Apron (and competitors – I’ve also tried Hello Fresh and Plated) encouraged me to try ingredients and techniques that I wouldn’t normally buy on my own. However, like you, I found it to be way more expensive than my usual habits, and I was also concerned about what felt like a lot of wasteful packaging. I would keep using it if it were significantly cheaper, but would not subscribe at full price.

  • Beth says:

    Goes to show you shouldn’t compare yourself to others: I would love to be able to fix dinner in only 40 minutes! How exactly do you fix a meal from scratch in 15 minutes? Is everything already prepped? Between my son’s soy allergy and the country we live in (no frozen veggies available) I’m happy if my dinner prep is under an hour. For the next time we’re in the States: can Blue Apron accommodate food allergies/intolerances​?

    • We eat really simply, so that helps. I also do bulk prep whenever I can (making a big fruit salad for a side that will last us for a few meals, making rice ahead and freezing it, etc.).

      Check out my videos here where I’m prepping our main dish in 5-15 minutes every day this week:

    • Mchele says:

      Blue apron states on their websote that if you have a food allergy or intolerance, this may not be the service for you. I do deal with a couple of food issues, and I just review the ingredients in detail to make sure the meal will work for my family.

  • Antonella says:

    My dinner prep is usually 30-45 minutes every night. Maybe because I’m Italian and we use less frozen, pre-prepared ingredients? I would love to know your tricks to have dinner ready in 15-20 minutes, a lifesaver for busy night when we usually resort to take-out pizza!

    Meanwhile, I’m going to look up the recipes on the Blue Apron website to get a few new ideas…

    • Crystal says:

      Me too! 15 minutes to dinner? Please share!

    • kathy Ego says:

      chicken sauteed in a pan with a bit of olive oil and some spices with a fresh salad or a baked potato and some raw veggies is a quick meal only takes about 20 minutes. Same with a turkey loin. I find that sauteing the meat in spiced oil or a bit of juice and spices is a great way to cut down your cooking time!

  • Heather says:

    My husbands boss recently lost his wife unexpectedly. She was a stay at home mom that left behind a nine year old and a 3 week old baby. Needless to say, his boss is having to take on huge changes and additional responsibilities with his young children. Instead of sending flowers, the employees of my husband’s company are collecting money to hopefully supply 3 months of blue apron meals for the family. Their hope is to not only help out their boss with the immediate adjustment, but also simplify the grocery shopping and well as helping him learn to cook meals for his family.

    • Chris says:

      Oh my word. That is a wonderful idea!

    • Karen says:

      Excellent idea. How caring and thoughtful. I like the idea for when we are going traveling with our camp trailer. It’s nice the first night to toss together. I’ll choose a meal that involves less time in prep. I’ve learned new flavors and techniques. If something’s not right with your order remember to call customer service and they are good at making it right.Home chef and green chef I’ve tried. Im sure blue apron also.

  • Lisa says:

    I’ve been thinking about trying out a food delivery service so this was the push I needed! I set our first shipment for the week of May 8th. They will have a Master Chef Junior recipe that week. My boys LOVE watching that show! Looking forward to some fun in the kitchen with them. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Holly says:

    I’m expecting my first child in the next two weeks and had been considering trying Blue Apron for a while, just to see what it was like. This was just the push I needed to give it a go. Thanks!

  • After trying Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, I ordered a box from Home Chef this week. Like your family, we prefer simpler meals. So far, Home Chef is by FAR my favorite. Tuesday night we had coffee-rubbed tenderloin with brown butter mashed potatoes and roasted carrots. I don’t care much for red meat, but the tenderloin was AMAZING. This is definitely the meal delivery service we’ll go with as our budget allows.

  • Lindsay says:

    I tried 1 box/3 meals of both Blue Apron & Hello Fresh recently. Blue Apron was the winner by far in terms of tastiness. I kept all the recipes for future use. Hello Fresh meals really fell flat for me. Bland and formulaic. Blue Apron was restaurant quality, really delish.
    Unfortunately, the amount of waste in packaging is guilt-inducing, even with the recycling program. (Are those freezer packs really non toxic? Seems fishy.) And as a single person, 40 minutes of cook time to only get 2 serving was overkill, when i could cook a larger batch of something in the same amount of time and eat it for lunch all week! Plus i would end up using almost every pot, pan & baking sheet i own! Sooo many dishes. Those issues combined with cost just wasnt with it for me. I do plan to try some blue apron recipes on my own though, and double the batch!

  • Julia says:

    I’m also impressed that you can keep meal prep to 15 minutes a night. I’m happy to keep it under 45. I do make almost everything from scratch but I’m definitely gonna check out your videos from this week to get some fresh ideas.

  • Andrea says:

    I’m not much of a cook and my meals don’t always turn out well so we tend to eat out more often than we should. My husband prefers to avoid frozen or prepackaged food and looking up new recipes is hard! But since blue apron I’m now cooking at least 2 meals a week and my kids are young and don’t eat full portions we end up with leftovers so I get lunch the next day or they make it to leftover night. I feel like it’s half cooking class and half dinner. I’m spending way less time meal planning and grocery shopping and we are all trying new things. My 4 and 7 year olds are eating kale and mushrooms!! It comes to about $35 a meal but us eating at a decent restaurant would cost that or more. It’s fresh food and for now I’m enjoying it. I’m saving all the detailed recipes and can remake our favorites.

  • Nancy says:

    We get Blue Apron once every 3 or 4 months. It’s too expensive for regular use, but I find that it really helps us get out of a funk when we’ve fallen into a pattern of eating out and not cooking.

    I usually don’t change what they’re sending because I like the encouragement to try new things and my kids (teens) are at an age where they’re willing and interested in expanding their palettes.

    The food is good–I can only think of one meal that I thought was bland–and enough for our family of four. The best thing: it gets us eating dinner together at a table!

  • Alicia says:

    I like Sun Basket. There are a ton of meals you can choose from each week and the recipes and ingredients are very international.
    My husband is the cook in the family but he works nights. I love the convenience of not having to think or shop for dinner. We don’t use it all the time but it’s a nice supplement.
    I’ve tried Blue Apron but I like the Sun Basket meal selection better.

  • Marjie says:

    I had no idea there were companies that did this. Great idea, though, for many different reasons. Don’t see any comments from seniors who have tried this type of program , but it seems like it would be an option that would help them continue to eat well even as their appetites and energy to prepare food decline. Hmm…finances? This is far too expensive for our family–ever–and since we don’t eat out, I can’t really compare there. But it sounds like a great idea.

  • Jenni says:

    I’m one of the rare ones that really thinks all of the pre-prepared meal service plans are a huge rip-off. We are on a really tight budget, and $35 would cover at least 5 meals for our family of six. Also, if people want to step outside their comfort zone, aren’t there hundreds of thousands of free recipes on the internet available to try something new?

  • Lorna says:

    I love Blue Apron. But we have only gotten free meals so far. I was searching online to see if it actually saves money and stumbled upon your post 🙂
    But yes I am finding myself throwing out waaayyyy too much food that we buy at the store since it’s only my husband and I and a breastfed baby. Probably more moneys worth than how much Blue Apron cost.

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