Blue Apron review
Credit: blueapron.com

I Can't Cook, but Blue Apron Meals Made People Think I Can

I understand the hype now. Here’s my review.
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Did I ever think I'd be crafting a whipped lemon ricotta in my kitchen on a Thursday night? Absolutely not—it sounds like something I'd order at a brunch spot where I slightly wince at the price of a mimosa (but get it anyway). Yet, I watched a meal come alive via my own hands by just reading recipe cards from Blue Apron. On this particular night, it was a simple but elegant pesto pasta with broccoli and lemon ricotta. Regardless of what you like to cook, Blue Apron's menu has a little something for all preferences and dietary restrictions. As a vegetarian, I really appreciated the variety of meals, and as a wannabe chef who can't cook, I liked that I could still make these meals without (too many) incidents. I received four sample meals from the Blue Apron menu, and for two weeks, my dinner game soared. Here's how it went.

Overall Rating for Blue Apron: 9.6 out of 10

Pros:

  • User-friendly sign-up process
  • Flexible and easy delivery
  • Simple instructions for preparation and cooking
  • Good variety of meals for different dietary preferences
  • High-quality and flavorful ingredients
  • Competitive pricing
  • Strong initiatives for sustainability and social impact

Cons:

  • Doesn't ship to Alaska or Hawaii
  • No options for more than four servings per meal to accommodate large families
  • Ingredients don't always arrive in pristine condition
Blue Apron review
Credit: Madison Yauger

Signing Up for Blue Apron

To sign up for this popular meal kit, choose your meal plan from the signature menu, wellness menu, or vegetarian menu. The signature menu features a mix of meat and fish and more traditional meal offerings, whereas the vegetarian menu highlights meat-free meals with fresh produce and seasonal ingredients. The wellness menu offers nutritionist-approved recipes.

Next, you'll decide how many meals you want in each shipment. Families might consider ordering three or four recipes for up to four people per week. Or, if you and your partner just need a couple of meals to supplement your cooking (or takeout orders, let's be real), then you could choose two recipes with two servings every week. Once you've made your selections, you'll fill out the shipping and billing information, set your first delivery date, and then choose your meals for the following week—which you'll be able to do every week online. You can pause or skip deliveries and modify your plan at any time. Sign up for Blue Apron and get $110 off across your first five boxes and free shipping on your first box.

Sign up now: Blue Apron Meals, From $50/week; blueapron.com.

Blue Apron review
Credit: Madison Yauger

Blue Apron Delivery and Packaging

Both of my Blue Apron boxes arrived in good condition, containing refrigerated bags that kept the ingredients fresh until I returned to my apartment after work. Blue Apron says their packaging is 85 percent recyclable, and I found that to be true. The outer box is cardboard, and many of the ingredients come in rigid plastic that can be easily recycled. The ice packs can be drained into your sink—just run water over the soluble gel as you pour it out to disperse everything. That being said, the plastic ingredient bags are only recyclable if you bring them to a specific location, and there are other items, like the bubble insulation, that have to be disposed of in the trash. Overall, the packaging was pretty sustainable, but some work could still be done to bump it up to 100 percent.

To set and change your weekly delivery day or reschedule an order, visit the Plan Settings tab in your online account. Just make sure your order doesn't say "order processed" or "shipped" yet, otherwise you won't be able to reschedule that particular shipment. 

Blue Apron review
Credit: Madison Yauger

Cooking Blue Apron Meals

I received four meals (two servings each) from Blue Apron to try out over the course of two weeks. On the menu: creamy tomato banza chickpea pasta with mushrooms and sweet peppers; cheesy tomatillo enchiladas with chayote squash, spinach, and white rice; pesto pasta with lemon ricotta and broccoli; and togarashi tilapia and brown rice with marinated cucumbers and sweet peppers. These meals offered a blend of zesty flavors and textures that fooled my friends into thinking I could cook. (Who's going to tell them?)

The first meal I prepared was the pesto pasta dish. Using the recipe cards and detailed instructions that accompany them, I chopped, whipped, and cooked my way to a restaurant-worthy dish. The recipe card estimates 15 to 25 minutes for cooking time—most Blue Apron meals take between 15 and 40 minutes. This meal took me the full 25 minutes, but the flavors turned out great. And the dish actually resembled the recipe photo, which … doesn't always happen for me. For example, the enchiladas did not have a photo finish because I'm human, was distracted while cooking, and misread the instructions. Such is life. Despite the haphazard appearance, everything still tasted good!

Third up to bat was the creamy tomato banza chickpea pasta. I was a little hesitant with this one because I love pasta and wasn't sure a chickpea version would rise to my expectations. I'll admit, I was pleasantly surprised. The sweet peppers balanced nicely with the garlic and a couple of other ingredients I added for personal preference (like onions and fresh tomatoes), making for a really delicious dish. The chickpea pasta nearly tasted like the real McCoy. Last on the menu was the togarashi tilapia and brown rice. The vegetables added some solid texture and brought out the more subtle flavors of the fish and rice. Overall, all four meals were successful in different ways—and my time in the kitchen was almost, dare I say, relaxing. 

Sign up now: Blue Apron Meals, From $50/week; blueapron.com.

Blue Apron Flavor and Quality

As many customer reviews suggest and I can confirm, Blue Apron knows its flavors. Each dish combines subtle notes with punchier flavors that make for a really great bite. The ingredients are fresh and arrive in good condition. In many of the meals, traditional staples are paired with less-common ingredients, like truffles and capers. The menu features a good balance of vegetarian and meat options as well as dishes from a variety of cultures, including Asian-inpired cuisine, Italian, Mexican, and more.

Blue Apron Sustainability and Sourcing

Part of the reason these meals are so high quality is because Blue Apron practices responsible sourcing and sustainability. For example, the company never uses genetically modified organisms (GMOs), meaning your food hasn't been genetically altered in any way. With meat and egg sourcing, Blue Apron has a strict animal welfare policy that ensures all agricultural partners are treating animals humanely and without the use of antibiotics, hormones, and growth promoters. This also demands that the animals raised for meat consumption still get to engage in normal animal behavior during their lifespan, with policies in place to reduce any discomfort at its end. Blue Apron has also joined the Ocean Disclosure Project, which "rebuilds depleted fish stocks and reduces the environmental and social impacts of fishing and fish farming."

Blue Apron Price

Blue Apron prices are competitive with other meal delivery services, ranging from $50 to $130 per week depending on the quantity of recipes and servings you order. Those prices include a $10 flat shipping fee. For comparison, the average household of two people spends between $115 and $180 per week on groceries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Blue Apron's billing cycle is weekly, and you can modify your deliveries or plan online at any time. Right now, when you sign up for Blue Apron, you'll get $110 off across your first five boxes, plus free shipping on your first box.

Sign up now: Blue Apron Meals, From $50/week; blueapron.com.

Blue Apron review
Credit: Madison Yauger

Blue Apron Customer Service and Reviews

With 4,241 reviews on TrustPilot and an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, Blue Apron is a fan favorite among meal delivery services. Customers say the simplicity of preparation and wonderful recipes keep them coming back for more. Others have noted how accommodating the customer service team is—always ready to assist with delivery issues and potential mishaps. To contact the customer service team, you can fill out a request form online, call (646) 891-4349, or email contact@blueapron.com.

One Blue Apron home chef said, "Blue Apron is absolutely my favorite way to cook for my husband and myself! We look forward to Blue Apron nights when we know we will eat high-quality, perfectly portioned dinners with delicious and creative ingredients. We enjoy the many layers of flavor each recipe offers. You can learn how to cook, or become a better cook, using the recipe guides that come in each delivery box. I have started a Blue Apron book and repeat unique recipes that we love most."

Another reviewer noted the importance of the recipe cards, saying, "I think it is fun to cook these dinners. It's kind of like a science lab. You need to follow the directions to get the correct results … a delicious meal!"

Others praised the "fresh and socially responsible" ingredients and how tasty everything is. One reviewer gave Blue Apron five stars but wished the company would expand the offerings for four-serving meals.

Blue Apron: My Take

After cooking Blue Apron meals, I feel confident saying these are versatile dishes that would work well for many different families. For a senior couple who might not make it to the grocery store as often or a busy mom trying to feed her family without spending too much time in the kitchen, Blue Apron offers supplementary meals that taste great and will get you through the week without much effort. The recipe cards allow seasoned chefs to find new meals to try and wannabe cooks, like myself, to make something edible in the kitchen. Regardless of your schedule and level of experience, Blue Apron meals offer a little something for everyone, with rich flavors, fresh ingredients, and sustainable practices you can feed good about. If you haven't tried it yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up today and get $110 off across your first five boxes, plus free shipping on your first box!

Sign up now: Blue Apron Meals, From $50/week; blueapron.com.

My Testing Methodology

After considering factors like ease of preparation, flavor, meal variety, customer service and social impact, I gave Blue Apron a weighted score of 9.6 out of 10.

Factors

What it means

Numerical ranking (1-10)

Taste

Meals have a balanced and delicious flavor and consistency.

9

Ease of Preparation

The service provides easy-to-follow instructions for preparing and cooking the meal.

9

Quality of Ingredients

Ingredients are high quality and fresh. They are in good shape when they arrive.

9

Dietary Customization

There are options for users to note dietary restrictions and preferences. Choosing these options is easy to do, and there are plenty of meal/food options for these preferences.

10

Meal Variety

This service provides a variety of meals, cuisines, and flavors to avoid meal repeats and provide users with new dishes to explore.

10

Health

Meals are healthy and provide balanced nutrients.

9

Availability

The service is available to consumers in a variety of locations.

9

Portion Size

Portion sizes are reasonable and filling. You don't need to supplement the meal with additional food because you're left hungry.

10

Price

The price is reasonable for the quality of food you receive.

10

Subscription

The subscription/plan offers reasonable customization. You're able to adjust or cancel your order within a reasonable time frame.

10

Shipping

The meals arrived on time. The packaging kept things fresh and in good condition. You're able to provide delivery instructions if needed.

10

Customer Service

How quickly customer service responds to queries, the level of detail they provide, and how helpful the team is overall.

10

Social Impact

Takes into consideration a company's social missions, charitable causes, and sustainability efforts. Products are sourced ethically. Packaging is recyclable or sustainable.

10