*This review has been updated August 2019 to include the most current Blue Apron information.
When it comes to food subscription services that are currently available, one of the companies we’re all familiar with is Blue Apron.
What many may not know is that Blue Apron got its start back in 2012 thanks to Matt Salzberg, Ilia Papas, and Matt Wadiak. It was then that they tested the very first Blue Apron recipes in their New York City apartments.
The goal with the recipes they created was to give everyone access to better cooking. They wanted people to have the ability to obtain quality produce and specialty ingredients. They also wanted to make cooking simpler for those who lead busy lives and might struggle to get a nutritious dinner on the table sometimes. And that’s exactly how Blue Apron was born, with this very mission in mind.
Since its beginning, Blue Apron has expanded into a significantly larger team and they now send over eight million meals per month to their customers. These meals are enabling their customers to experiment with the foods they eat and expand their knowledge of the culinary world by making cooking an enjoyable process. There’s no excuse to be stuck in a cooking rut or to resort to fast food when you have a company like Blue Apron by your side.
To learn more and to determine if Blue Apron is right for you, read on for our review of what you can expect when ordering from them.
How to Join & Choose Your Items
If you’re interested in trying Blue Apron, the good news is that joining and ordering your first box is pretty simple.
The first decision you’ll have to make is which plan option is right for you. You can choose a two-person plan, which delivers two or three recipes to your door each week. Each recipe is perfectly portioned for two people (meaning you get 2 servings of each meal) making it perfect for you and your significant other or even you and your roommate.
They also offer a family plan, with is ideal for feeding a family of four. With this plan, you’ll receive either two, three, or four recipes each week (each with four servings of each meal). You can choose exactly how much you’d like to receive from Blue Apron, making it customizable to suit your unique needs.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll want to do a little exploring around your Account Settings to familiarize yourself with how everything works. You can check your dietary preferences to indicate if there are any types of foods you aren’t interested in receiving. You’re also able to select your delivery date, based on the options available for your area. The “Upcoming” page will allow you to review your calendar and the upcoming meal options.
You’ll have a certain time frame each week to select the meals you want to receive in your box, which ensures you get something you’re truly interested in eating. You don’t have to let it be one big mystery. Instead, you’ll know what you’re receiving and can plan your weeknight meals accordingly.
Types of Food They Offer
With the help of their culinary team, Blue Apron crafts unique recipes each and every week. They plan recipes based on the produce they’ve sourced.
While many food subscription services provide breakfast and lunch options, Blue Apron is focused strictly on dinner. They don’t have a variety of meal plans (e.g. low carb or high protein). However, they do have vegetarian options available on their Two-Person plan.
A few of the dinner options they have previously crafted include: Thai Steak Lettuce cups with Spicy Green Beans & Sushi Rice, Honey-Rhubarb Chicken with Asparagus & Fingerling Potatoes, and Salmon-Dill Burgers with Marinated Cucumber & Roasted Potatoes. They even put their own spin on a traditional pizza with their Asparagus & Arugula Pesto Pizza with Pink Lemon Ricotta.
If you choose their family plan, you’ll find dishes such as: Italian Meatball Sandwiches with Red Leaf Lettuce & Cucumber Salad, Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Parmesan-Garlic Summer Squash, Three-Cheese Focaccia Pizza with Marinated Cucumber & Bell Pepper Salad, and Spicy Shrimp & Fresh Fusilli Pasta with Spinach & Basil. Even if you have children who are picky eaters, you’re sure to find something they’d be interested in trying out.
In our updated video review above, you can see that we received 2 chicken dishes and burgers:
- Smoky Chicken & Honey Butter with Corn on the Cob & Cabbage Slaw
- Creamy Chipotle Chicken with Cilantro Rice & Cotija Cheese
- Shiitake & Hoisin Beef Burgers with Miso Mayo & Bok Choy (we cook these in the video)
As you can see, one of the best parts of Blue Apron is the unique variety of meals that they offer.
One thing to note is if you have any food allergies, Blue Apron does not recommend using their food subscription service. Although allergen information is printed on their nutrition labels and they take great care to prepare meals safely, there’s no guarantee that cross-contamination hasn’t occurred. All of the ingredients they use are produced in a facility that processes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy. If you have a food allergy, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
You can, however, personalize your box based on your dietary preferences. For example, if you are a vegetarian or pescatarian or if there are certain things you don’t eat (such as red meat, fish, shellfish, pork, or lamb), you can indicate that in your meal preferences. There aren’t a ton of vegetarian or pescatarian meal options but if you have 1 person in your family that follows either of those diets, Blue Apron would suffice.
When considering signing up for a food subscription service, it’s important to make sure they deliver to your area, as not all of them do. Blue Apron delivers to all of the contiguous United States. If you want to be sure you can place an order with them, you can enter your zip code and see delivery options over on their website.
After you’ve signed up and entered your zip code, you’ll have the ability to select a delivery day from a list of options that are available for your area. You can always view your delivery date by logging into your account and heading over to the “Upcoming” page. Typically, delivers are scheduled from Tuesday to Friday each week, but some locations are eligible for Monday and Saturday deliveries.
If you ever need to, you are able to skip a delivery with Blue Apron. All you have to do is log into your account and select the week you’d like to skip. This is ideal if you’re ever going out of town or just want to take a break from receiving their deliveries. If you change your mind, you can even reschedule those deliveries you skipped. However, you need to remember that all changes need to be made by the “Changeable by” date in your account. Your “changeable by” date is six days before your next shipment, by 12 PM Eastern Time.
You also don’t have to be home for the delivery, which means there’s no waiting around for a shipping carrier to show up with your meal ingredients. Packages are typically left on your doorstep, but you may be able to provide additional shipping instructions that indicate where you’d like the package to be left if you aren’t home. This is, of course, dependent on the shipping carrier and not Blue Apron.
Blue Apron Mobile App
The Blue Apron mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices. In addition to their website, it’s another way that you can manage your account and set upcoming orders. It also allows you to do some fun things that you can’t on the website. Let’s go over all of its features…
Efficiently Manage Your Account & View Upcoming Meals
If you download the Blue Apron mobile app, there’s a good chance you won’t even have to view their website on desktop anymore. You can do things like change your delivery day, update your payment information, and skip a delivery. Plus, you’ll have the ability to view your upcoming orders and make any necessary changes. That means you don’t have to go to their website to pick your meals each week and you can make any necessary changes on the go.
The added bonus of using the Blue Apron mobile app is that you can receive notification reminders regarding your account, shipping notifications, special deals and promotions, and order status reminders. These mobile notifications make managing your meals and knowing what’s coming when a lot easier.
Get Exclusive Tips, Techniques, & How-To Videos to Improve Cooking
One reason that some people shy away from meal delivery services is because they think they have to be a master in the kitchen. But this simply isn’t true. In fact, it’s quite the opposite with Blue Apron. They encourage people of all skill levels to try their box because the recipes are thorough, easy to follow, and you’re getting pre-portioned ingredients.
With the Blue Apron mobile app, they take their thoroughness a step further by giving you access to a number of exclusive tips, techniques, and how-to videos so you can improve your cooking skills. So, when you’re preparing your meals, you can refer to these videos any time you need them. Anything you need to know when cooking your meal, there’s most likely a video in their app to help you out.
Gain Access to 1,400+ Recipes Whenever You Need Meal Ideas
Most Blue Apron plans only send you two or three dinner recipes per week. So, what are you to do on those other nights when you don’t have Blue Apron meals to prepare? Instead of scouring the web for recipe ideas or resorting to takeout, there’s one simple solution. You can refer to their app!
Inside, you’ll find a library of over 1,400 recipes that you can check out whenever you find yourself asking, “What’s for dinner?” As a customer, you have unlimited access to all of these recipes right at your fingertips. This includes unique, seasonal recipes that have been created by their team of chefs each week. And the best part is that you can save your favorites so you can refer to them quickly and easily when needed.
Save Photos of Your Favorite Blue Apron Meals
Want to remember the delicious meal you just created from scratch? Well you can take a picture of your meal and keep in organized within the mobile app. Mobile users have the ability to take photos, edit them using special effects and filters within the app, and then save them to your camera roll or share on social media.
Because you will be receiving ingredients that need to be kept cold during transit, Blue Apron has designed their packaging to ensure everything remains fresh. An insulated box and frozen gel packs are inside their packages to keep everything at the optimal temperature. They even modify packaging depending on the season and your location, so you shouldn’t have to worry about anything spoiling or not being in great condition upon its arrival.
Once you have received your delivery, you’ll want to unpack all of the ingredients as soon as possible and place anything that needs to be kept cold inside the fridge. This helps to promote freshness so everything tastes great once you’re finally ready to prepare your meal.
Blue Apron also provides customers with two different ways to recycle their packaging. You can find your local recycling center and find out what types of material they accept. This will give you the chance to recycle items such as the box, the liners, ice packs, etc.
Blue Apron used to give you the option to return your packaging to them so that it could be recycled but, unfortunately, they discontinued that service.
Freshness of Food
If you’re concerned about the freshness of the ingredients you receive in each box, you may find some comfort in knowing that Blue Apron offers a “Freshness Guarantee.” If you ever find that an item isn’t in acceptable cooking condition, all you have to do is notify Blue Apron with seven days of receiving your delivery. There’s a specific form you can fill out via their website so you can let them know exactly what the problem was. Then, they’ll make it right for you!
They’re also committed to providing their customers with only the highest quality ingredients. Blue Apron has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to ensure any fish or shellfish used is rated “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative.” They even worked with farmers and ranchers who raise animals without added hormones or antibiotics. The farmers Blue Apron selects also use minimal fertilizers and pesticides. Many of the ingredients in your box are also USDA certified organic.
Each meal is designed to remain fresh for the entire week as well. They do recommend fixing fish and seafood meals first though to ensure it’s at it’s best when cooking.
In every box that we’ve received, each ingredient has stayed fresh in transit.
Ease of Cooking
Blue Apron was one of the first meal delivery services on the market that with ingredients and a recipe for you to prepare the meal on your own. While it may seem intimidating, it really doesn’t have to be.
The beauty behind Blue Apron is that they are able to turn a relatively complex recipe into a much simpler cooking experience. How? It comes down to the fact that all of the ingredients are pre-portioned and that they have an easy-to-read recipe card.
While they aren’t “hard” meals to cook, they are involved so you may end up using a variety of cooking utensils. With almost all of the Blue Apron meals we’ve received from our various boxes, we always ended up using many different pots, pans, etc. So this can take a bit longer to clean up.
Blue Apron has a team of very talented chefs coming up with their recipes. We know firsthand since all of the recipes we’ve cooked have turned out delicious.
A lot of what you’re cooking is unique in that you’re likely not going to have had it before. For example, in the video review above, we ate Shiitake & Hoisin Beef Burgers made with Miso Mayo, Bok Choy, and a side of broccoli. First, the side of broccoli was actually made with a bit of vinegar. Yes, it sounds weird to put vinegar in broccoli but it actually gave it a nice zesty taste. Second, the burger had a delicious Japanese flare to it with shiitake mushrooms and miso mayo.
As you can see, these aren’t the run of the mill meals you might be used to cooking in your kitchen. The most interesting aspect of Blue Apron is the unique spin they put on all their meals. If you’re adventurous and looking for something new, you’ll love it.
The price you’ll pay for Blue Apron will depend on how many meals you want to receive each week and how many servings you’ll need. They offer a two-person plan, which provides you with three recipes each week. They also offer a family plan, which is ideal for a family of four and is perfect for those who have children to cook for as well. You have the option to receive two or four recipes each week when choosing the family plan.
Here’s a breakdown of the pricing for each plan:
- Two-Person Plan
- 2 Recipes Per Week — $47.95 weekly, $9.99 per serving (including shipping fee)
- 3 Recipes Per Week — $59.94 weekly, $9.99 per serving (shipping is free)
- Family Plan (Four-Person)
- 2 Recipes Per Week — $71.92 weekly, $8.99 per serving (shipping is free)
- 3 Recipes Per Week — $95.88 weekly, $7.99 per serving (shipping is free)
- 4 Recipes Per Week — $119.84 weekly, $7.49 per serving (shipping is free)
Many customers are put off by the prices on meal subscription services, but you really have to consider the convenience and what you’re getting for the value. Instead of going to the grocery store and spending that money, you’re able to put it directly to use with Blue Apron and receive just what you need to make delicious meals every week. It also saves you the hassle of having to plan meals and do the shopping yourself.
Another plus is there’s a lot less waste when using a service like Blue Apron. You’re getting exactly the amount of ingredients you need and then using them in the recipe. This helps to eliminate food waste and ultimately saves you money that you won’t wind up throwing out because you failed to use something before it expired.
If you’re looking at getting a meal kit for the first time but don’t know where to start, Blue Apron is a great option. Being a general food box, they have a lot of variety. This is helpful if you have a family of picky eaters.
On the flip side, if you’d rather stick to more traditional meals, Blue Apron might be a little too adventurous for you.
Also, if you’re new to cooking and want to really learn or sharpen your skills, Blue Apron can help. Their meals are more than just “heat and eat” style recipes — they require a bit of time to cook. However, with their pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-read recipe cards, actually cooking the recipes isn’t that hard. Just be prepared to use more than just one pot or pan!
All that being said, their meals really do come out tasting delicious.
Have a question or comment about Blue Apron? Let us know in the comments below!