Both services are well-known and advertised as all-inclusive ways to prepare delicious, fresh meals. But, how do they stack up against one another in the Home Chef vs Hello Fresh debate?
In this comparison, we’ll explore the pros and cons of Home Chef vs Hello Fresh, while analyzing all prospective key features, prices, customer service, and per-meal value.
We’ll discuss our experience with their meal plans (including different dietary options and the entire cooking experience overall), hoping to make it easier for you to choose between the two – depending on your dietary preferences.
Home Chef and HelloFresh are two of the most popular meal delivery services in North America.
Both offer a range of meal options each week, specific subscription plans depending on your dietary preferences, clear instructions, and pre-portioned ingredients that make it easy to prepare their meals.This section features the key elements of each meal service and what we discovered while trying out each one. We’ll give our honest opinion about both services and how much we either liked or disliked our trial run.
Home Chef is a premiere meal service that features one of the best meal kits you can have delivered to your home. They’re known for their extensive customization options, allowing subscribers to choose from various dietary options and customize which sets of meals come to their home each week.
Our favorite part about Home Chef is their expansive range of options, catering to various dietary needs. For example, you can get vegetarian, gluten-free, or even low-calorie tailored options. This makes it easy to try different types of diets, and lifestyle adjustments, or accommodate guests you may have with dietary restrictions.
Another key feature of Home Chef is simplicity.
The meal service is well-known for easy-to-follow instructions that make it possible for even those with limited cooking experience, like me, to expertly prepare a meal. Most of these meals don’t require a ton of prep time, wrapping up in under an hour, so there’s no need to carve out a lot of time in your day for highly specialized cooking instructions.
Home Chef focuses on high-quality ingredients.
The service is known for sourcing fresh and sustainable ingredients, within North America when possible, emphasizing partnerships with the best suppliers in the market. If you’re interested, you can delve into the upper tier of Home Chef and try out their “Culinary Collection” series of meals. These recipes feature premium ingredients, selected by Home Chef’s culinary team.
HelloFresh is another very well-known meal prep service that delivers all the ingredients you need to prepare incredibly fresh meals directly to your door. The key features of this meal delivery service include a wide menu variety, a diverse selection of recipes, organic ingredients, and a customizable delivery day selection.
HelloFresh offers the option to choose vegetarian meals if you’re trying to cut out meat from your diet or adhere to a plant-based diet, along with low-calorie meal options. The “Family Friendly” meal plan includes meals that everyone in your family can enjoy, including the picky eaters.
Additionally, as its name implies, HelloFresh is known for delivering the highest quality and freshest ingredients.
HelloFresh also delivers meals that are very easy to prepare. They include step-by-step, easy-to-follow recipe cards perfect for beginners and more experienced cooks. Even with little experience in the kitchen, I found that HelloFresh's meals were incredibly straightforward and low-stress.
Thinking about subscribing to one of these two meal delivery services? The most important things to know about each are the types of meals they offer. You need to know upfront if there is going to be enough diversity to make it worth it for you to subscribe. Luckily, both do offer a lot to choose from (although you will only have access to a few per week at a time).
Let's take a look at what both Home Chef and HelloFresh offer and what you can expect from delivery.
Home Chef is a premier meal delivery service that is among the leaders in the market. They offer some truly amazing menu options, no matter if you want to try out fancy culinary and curated meals or try something a lot simpler. Some former options include Steakhouse Sirloin and Black Garlic Butter with Blue Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms and Crispy Onion-Crusted Salmon, with German-Style Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli.
Some more recent recipes on their basic plan include Spicy Chicken Parmesan with Crispy Zucchini, Pretzel-Crusted Pork Chop with Brown Sugar Dijonnaise and Brussels Sprouts, and Shrimp Campanelle Primavera with Zucchini and Parmesan Cheese.
For the young ones in your family, you can look forward to trying out One-Pot Italian Sausage Minestrone-Style Soup with Cheese and Parsley and many other kid-tested recipes.
One of the most fun types of meals to make from Home Chef is from their Express Plus menu. These meals are even faster (between 15 and 30 mins).
There are plenty of reasons why HelloFresh is one of the most popular meal delivery services – and stood the test of time. They have a wide variety of recipes that many subscribers probably haven’t tried before, which makes it a good option for someone who wants to start cooking more at home but doesn’t quite know where to start.
These sorts of meal services, especially HelloFresh, offer a lot of guidance and structure for people that want to get into cooking but don’t know exactly how to start.
There are more than 2,500 recipes in the HelloFresh collection that rotate through the schedule.
These include everything from American and Italian recipes to Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Korean, Indian, Latin American, Chinese, and Spanish-influenced dishes.
If you've never tried Thai, French, Cuban, or African food, HelloFresh offers the ability to do so with ease.
Some of their most recent recipes include Lemon Cheesecake, Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Mushroom Sauce, Mashed Potatoes and Scallions, and Hoisin-Glazed Cauliflower and Shrimp Bowls loaded down with Veggie Rice and Sesame Seeds.
Classic favorites include “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” with Orzo, Cheesy Zucchini, and Tomato and Korean Beef Bibimbap with Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Carrots. Another amazing option is the Teriyaki Chicken Tenders with Jasmine Rice and Green Beans.
If you’re looking for something fancier, they also offer gourmet recipes at a slightly higher cost per meal.
For example, Sirloin and Sherry Shallot Sauce with Garlic Parmesan Potato Clusters and Mixed Greens or Bavette Steak and Sherry Shallot Sauce with Creme Fraiche, Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Green Beans.
There are also meals for families with young, picky eaters, like Hoisin Pork Burgers, Balsamic Fig Sirloin, Lemon Dill Lobster Ravioli, and Shrimp.
Ease of Use
When deciding which meal delivery service to use or whether to subscribe to one at all, ease of use comes to mind. If a meal delivery service doesn’t make your life easier, saves you money, or improves your experience while cooking, why subscribe?
In this section, I’ve considered how easy it is to use Home Chef and HelloFresh, clearly describing what I see as the benefits of subscribing to each.
If you’re hoping to do more cooking but don’t quite know where to start, you might want to try one of these two options. Both will reduce the mystery inherent in poorly described online or book recipes – often hard to follow if you don’t already have a ton of cooking experience. Keep reading to determine exactly how easy each service is to work with.
Home Chef is known for its ease of use. The meals are accessible to those, like me, or have very little cooking skills but are still enjoyable if you’ve been cooking complex meals your whole life. Each menu item is designed with simplicity in mind, providing pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards that are quite easy to follow.
The recipes are all very well-designed, we found.
They feature step-by-step instructions with very clear directions and even pictures. They’ll tell you which ingredients in your box you need to use, how much of each is included in the recipe, and what you need to do to prepare each ingredient. Additionally, each card includes small pieces of advice to make it easier for you to get through slightly more difficult steps.
Something else you’ll notice in your box is that the ingredients are pre-portioned, eliminating the tedious need to measure each. This is something that we, and many other meal delivery service users, found to be incredibly beneficial. Plus, it cuts down on food waste. You're never going to prepare too much of one ingredient or not enough of the next and find yourself throwing away food or returning to the grocery store.
If you’re worried about not being able to eat one food or another, you’ll be happy to know that we found it very easy to select a meal plan that worked for us and our families. We don’t eat much meat in our little family, and while going through the available recipes and plans, we could easily find those that suited my preferences and those of my family.
There are tons of options for those looking to go plant-based, or approaching a meal delivery service as a vegan or vegetarian.
HelloFresh is also a meal delivery service that is easy to use.
It is known for its user-friendly platform and easy-to-read recipes. Like Home Chef, we found that the recipe cards that HelloFresh includes with their meals are very easy to understand.
There is no mystery around what exactly one ingredient is, how much of it you should use, or when it uses it. Plus, it cuts out the wandering around the grocery store looking for obscure meal items that often deter me from wanting to cook anything myself.
The meal cards with each kit are laminated and include pictures, the ingredients, what the final product should look like, its nutritional facts, and more. You can expect to find all the information you need to finish a recipe within the single, large laminated card.
The ingredients that come with HelloFresh are also pre-portioned. That way, when it calls for almonds, beef, or cheese, you can use the whole packet as it comes and not have to worry about making mistakes with measuring.I can’t count the number of times that I’ve started cooking and realized that I did not have enough of one specific ingredient or had chosen something completely wrong for the recipe at the store. HelloFresh can eliminate that problem.
Pros and Cons
Everyone knows that all meal delivery services have some pros and some cons. There is always going to be something that you’re not going to love about a particular subscription service.
But, to help you make the most informed decision, let's explore the pros and cons of Home Chef and HelloFresh, two of the market's most popular meal delivery services.
Home Chef is generally a very well-loved meal delivery service; here are a few of the pros associated with it:
While there aren’t a lot of cons to discuss with HomeChef, there are a few you might want to keep in mind.
HelloFresh has several advantages that are worth discussing when you’re deciding whether it’s the right meal delivery service for you. They include:
Pricing is, of course, a very important element when it comes to choosing a meal delivery service. Over-priced options will end up ruining your budget and making it far more economical to visit the grocery store. Affordable options will save you time, money and make cooking fun.
Standard meals with Home Chef cost $9.99 a meal. This will vary depending on the menu you choose and its options. But it’s important to note that you can’t expect to pay $9.99 a week weekly; the service requires that you make a minimum order of $50.95 for the Home Chef Plan and $82.91 for the Family Plan.
I found this cost to be somewhat prohibitive while on a budget, but for families who may spend much more than that on a certain number of meals, it may be worth it.
HelloFresh boxes start at $7.49 a meal, based on the meal plan that you decide to go with. This number goes up based on how many people you say are in your family or how many you want to feed, as well as the dietary options you select.
Whether or not HelloFresh is worth the price comes down to your enjoyment of the meals. We found that some meals were worthy of the $7.49 price tag (most would’ve cost much more than that in a restaurant), but others, such as those I was trying to make vegan, were not worth the cost.
Delivery Experience and Customer Support
While perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind, the delivery experience and customer support of each meal service are also important. Is it easy to make changes to your order? How dependable is the delivery experience? We’ll answer these questions and more in the next section.
Home Chef makes it very clear that they are devoted to providing reliable delivery services and an overall easy-to-navigate customer support platform for their users. The service offers flexible delivery services, providing customers with the ability to select between a few delivery days that line up with their specific schedule.
Plus, you can always cancel one or more weeks and take a break if you’re going to be away or you're particularly busy one week.
If you ever have any questions about your order, you can reach out to Home Chef via phone or email and figure out what’s going on. They’ll help you with general questions as well as specific issues with your order if any arise.
For example, if there are ever any missing items in your box, their customer service team can help make things right by replacing the item or providing discounts if something has gone wrong.
Home Chef also has a website and mobile app that make exploring the service, choosing and editing a plan, and exploring meal options easy.
Customer support and speedy delivery are things that HelloFresh talks about on the company website and which they appear to care a great deal about. I found that all the meals that were ordered from them came exactly when they were expected to, and included all of the ingredients that they said they would.
I did not have a single issue with the ordering process or the quality of the ingredients when they arrived.
Additionally, when I reached out to HelloFresh to inquire about their various price points, their customer service representatives were incredibly helpful, taking the time to answer all of my questions and make sure I felt confident with the meal plan I subscribed to.
They made it clear that if we ever had any issues whatsoever, which seems unlikely, we could reach out to a customer representative whenever we needed to and that they would make things right. Knowing that you can always ask questions when you have them makes any experience with a company or organization easier.
Is Home Chef Worth It?
Whether or not Home Chef is worth your investment depends on a variety of reasons. First, you’re going to want to consider your personal dietary preferences or those of your family. This, considered in combination with the per-meal cost of Home Chef, may, on its own, make it worth the cost.
Other things that you might want to take into consideration include how often you're planning on utilizing the meal service, the amount of interest you have in cooking meals, easy or complex, as well as how appealing the meals that Home Chef delivers might be to you.
Some people find that one meal delivery service offers better options than another. So, we highly recommend taking a look into Home Chef as a potential option.
Is HelloFresh Worth It?
If you love the variety of meals that HelloFresh offers and do not mind paying their per-meal price, then HelloFresh is likely worth it for your family.
This may be particularly true if you don't have a lot of time to go to the grocery store or the ability to plan more time-consuming recipes for your family. We found that HelloFresh makes it very simple to choose a variety of recipes regularly that everyone in your family would likely enjoy.
Another thing that you’re going to want to consider is personal dietary restrictions.
If you’re on a special diet, like keto, gluten-free, vegan, or paleo, you may find that HelloFresh, and all of the more popular meal delivery services, do not have as many options as you might need to meet your nutritional needs.
You may instead want to seek out the specific meal-prep companies that cater to these dietary restrictions to save money and ensure that each meal is as good as it can be.
Who wins in a match-up between Home Chef and HelloFresh mostly depends on budgetary constraints. The latter is slightly cheaper, coming in at around $8 a meal, while Home Chef is two dollars more expensive per meal.
Otherwise, both meal plans offer the same variety of dietary choices and follow similar delivery schedules. We’d probably opt for Home Chef if you have more dietary restrictions, while we’d go for HelloFresh if you’re more easygoing and want something more affordable.
In our honest comparison of Home Chef vs HelloFresh, we explored everything from the meals the two services offer to the customer service and delivery experience, the ease of use of each, the pros and cons of each, and the price point comparison.
On the Home Chef side, you have a variety of incredible meals, catering to a wider range of dietary preferences, for about $10.00 a meal. They offer recipes for those hoping to improve their cooking skills or those just looking to prepare delicious meals quickly for a family or group dynamic.
With HelloFresh, you can expect to get the freshest of ingredients at a great price, only $7.99 a meal, while also learning how to make some really tasty dishes. You can choose from a similar range of meals from those offered by Home Chef, but at a loss of dietary catering – perhaps not suitable for those on a vegan diet.
No matter which of these two services you choose, you’re very likely to find numerous meals per week to love and return to making, and we’d feel comfortable recommending both to anyone looking for a high-quality meal delivery service.