Over the past month, I've been trying as many meal kit delivery services as possible in order to find the perfect box for YOU. Home Chef, an Illinois based company, promises to help simplify dinner with a wide range of recipes and a lot of flexibility. After cooking with it for a week, here's my full breakdown of the service:
Home Chef makes calculating the cost of your meals very easy. Regardless of delivery frequency or the size of your family (two, four, or six), each serving will cost you $9.99. If your plan exceeds $40 a week, shipping is free, otherwise it costs $10. This places Home Chef well within the majority of other well known meal box services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh in terms of price.
Bottom line: The price is right.
Choosing Your Menu
The first thing that jumped out to me is just how many meals Home Chef will deliver right to your front door. They offer eight meals a week! I've never tried a meal kit service that will allow you to order so much. Home Chef is also the only box service I tried that lets you order for a family of six, making this a great option for larger families.
Once you decide how many meals you want, you'll be presented with huge variety of options to choose from. You'll need to decide:
What type of eater you are: omnivore, carnivore, pescatarian or vegetarian
If you're someone who's calorie- or carb-conscious
If there are any specific foods you’re looking to avoid
If you want oven-ready meals, meals that can be made in 15 minutes or less, or if you're up for anything.
Bottom line: You've got a lot of options.
Home Chef also offers weekly smoothie and “Snappy Snack” options for $4.95 each. These weekly extras require minimal equipment to prepare and are just as delicious as Home Chef’s dinner offerings.
Additionally, if you want to eliminate as many trips to the grocery store as possible, they offer customizable "protein packs" with options like lamb chops, chicken breasts, burgers and filet mignon.
Bottom line: It's not just for dinner!
When you open your Home Chef box, the first thing you’ll see is a white binder containing your recipe cards. This is now your Home Chef cookbook. Though most of these services urge you to recycle their recipes, Home Chef goes above and beyond to show you how easy it is to reuse and revise their dishes.
The ingredients for each meal can be found in individual zip lock bags that can be repurposed to hold produce or recycled. In those bags you’ll find little individually wrapped components of the recipes (like spices or sauces). All of your proteins will be individually wrapped in their own bags, separately from the rest of the ingredients.
The recipe cards are easy to read, and Home Chef provides how-to pictures for each key step. Each card outlines the cook time, difficulty and spice level and the equipment you’ll need to prepare the dish. There's also a “Customize It” section that details how you can adapt the recipe with different proteins and ingredients. This underlined the value of having your own Home Chef cookbook—the possibilities are endless!
Bottom line: The packaging is reusable and recyclable, and the recipe card binder is a major plus.
These recipes are extremely accessible. On the recipe cards, you'll find a “Before You Cook” section which outlines quick steps you'll need to take before getting started. Even our test kitchen chefs can forget to allow a steak to come to room temperature, so the helpful tips are much appreciated. This attention to detail even extends to the "Customize It" section mentioned above. Not only do they offer substitution ideas, they provide clear instruction for those swaps. For example, if the recipe involves cooking chicken breast but you want to use sirloin, you'll have detailed instructions to make adjustments.
The quick prep options were true to their cook times too! My “15-minute-meal” was fully ready in just under a quarter of an hour, making it a perfect weeknight meal. And my oven-ready option, though not entirely ready to put in the oven straight out of the box, was easily assembled in 5 minutes and on the table in 25 minutes. With straightforward and detailed recipes, these dishes were a pleasure to cook.
Bottom line: It's a great option for beginners.
I was particularly surprised by how fresh everything tasted, especially the quick prep meals. The corners cut to shorten these recipes definitely did not sacrifice any flavor. My oven-ready Creamy Tomato and Italian Sausage Penne Bake tasted like it took hours to prepare and was one of the favorite things I ate all week. I also cooked Hot Honey Salmon and Chicken Satay Rice Bowls with Bok Choy, both of which were lighter than the pasta bake but equally flavorful.
Bottom line: The recipes are delicious.
Home Chef is a wonderful choice for anyone entering into the world of meal delivery subscription services. If you're a total novice in the kitchen, trying to feed a large family, or looking for a solution that can replace much of your grocery shopping (and meal planning), I highly recommend it. With super approachable recipes and the ability to order 8 meals a week, plus snacks and smoothies for six people, this meal kit would be a no brainer for busy parents trying to introduce more fresh and healthy home cooked meals into their dining rooms.
You Might Also Like