when you want to cook but not do all the work: Blue Apron

And now a break to talk about a sponsor…

I like to cook – and more to the point, I like to eat. But when I have busy workdays, the last thing I want to do is spend half the evening figuring out what to cook for dinner, rounding up ingredients, and then cooking something that doesn’t turn out quite right. So I order take-out way too much.

ingredients

Everything is pre-measured and ready!

Which is why I really love Blue Apron. Blue Apron is a delivery service that delivers farm-fresh ingredients for delicious, chef-designed recipes directly to your doorstep. You don’t need to make a trip to the store, and you’ll receive in everything you need in exactly the right proportions, along with instructions for preparing it. In other words, they do all the annoying prep work for you (coming up with recipes, gathering ingredients, and even measuring them out), so that you just have to do the actual cooking (which at least to me is the fun part).

You can either get a 2-person plan (one delivery a week, with three meals for two) or a family plan (one or two deliveries a week, with two or four meals for four). Each meal comes out to under $10 per person, with free shipping. And you can tell them all your dietary preferences, so that you don’t get meals you don’t like or won’t eat. Everything all gets delivered in a temperature-controlled box so ingredients stay fresh even if you’re not home when it arrives.

Spring pea gnocchi with Parmesan and garlic scrape sauce. I cooked with garlic scrapes and now they are forever my friend.

Spring pea gnocchi with Parmesan and garlic scrape sauce. I cooked with garlic scapes and now they are forever my friend.

What I especially love about Blue Apron is that it gets me cooking things that I probably would never try to make on my own otherwise. Like most people, I tend to have a regular rotation of recipes that I make all the time. Blue Apron has shown me how to go way outside that comfort zone and cook all kinds of other things. They even taught me how to cook with Szechuan peppercorns, which I’m totally obsessed with because they numb your tongue in a fantastically tingly way. (See the photo of the Szechuan tofu and long beans, which was ridiculously delicious. Like restaurant-quality delicious.)

Szechuan tofu and long beans. I would eat this daily.

Szechuan tofu and long beans. I would eat this daily.

They have loads of interesting recipes. Next I’m particularly eyeing the spring miso ramen and the Greek sweet and sour stew.

If you’re busy and want someone else to handle meal prep work for you, or if you’d like to cook new things but want someone to make it easy on you, or if you just like having things delivered to you (as I so, so do), you should try Blue Apron.

In fact, Blue Apron is offering two free meals on your first order to the first 50 readers to sign up here. Give them a try.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

{ 142 comments… read them below }

  1. LBK

    Looks good! I’m curious how this compares to Plated if anyone has used both (I have a Plated discount code lurking around somewhere too that I haven’t gotten around to using).

    1. TNTT

      I’ve done both – in my opinion Plated has more interesting/variety of foods, and all their containers are recyclable (addressing just laura’s comment below). Plated is also much more flexible with when you order/how much you order. Some weeks we’ll do four nights, some weeks none, etc.

    2. Liz in a Library

      Like TNTT, I also prefer Plated. I’ve enjoyed both, though!

      For my tastes, Plated has more interesting recipes. It’s also more flexible in that you can order any combo of that week’s recipes (or all of them, I guess, go nuts!), and you can easily scale up or down your subscription each week as needed.

      However, Blue Apron is less pricey for the same number of meals, and those meals are more substantial. For the amount we eat (and my husband is a big, big guy), the two person Blue Apron meals always yield leftovers.

      I’ve kept an active subscription to both, but I’ve skipped every week for the last two months on Blue Apron, and had three Plated shipments in that time.

      1. Robles

        I haven’t done Plated, but I totally agree on servings for Blue Apron… we tend to eat big servings in our household, and I never felt like Blue Apron wasn’t enough food for us.

      2. LBK

        Good to know about the price and portion. I think that was my biggest hesitation with Plated – that it seemed much more expensive than buying the ingredients at the store (which isn’t a big deal for me, it’s more being pushed to try out new recipes that I like about these services). Blue Apron looks more in line with my normal grocery costs, especially if it will yield leftovers. Thanks!

      3. Aaron

        I too have come to love delivery services – and my girlfriend and I have tried all of them and settled on Plated. While we, too, have had some recent quality issues with Plated, in general we’ve been really happy with the quality and we prefer the larger number of selections each week.

        Blue Apron was really good – maybe more original dishes – but very little choice. Hello Fresh was brutal – they shipped pita dough instead of pizza dough for a pizza dish, and their other dishes were just not tha tgood.

        All that said — I suggest trying them all to see what’s best for you! All of the services offer discounts on your first order (Plated does 4 free plates) if you Google it. Start with Blue Apron to help support this site, then try them all and see which is best for your family.

      4. Kiryn

        Good to know about the portion sizes. My husband and I have the opposite problem, where portion sizes are always way too big and it’s pretty normal for us to order one entree to share when we go out to eat. We don’t like eating leftovers, but it’s really tricky to cook small enough portions from the ingredients I have access to.

        I freeze a lot of meat and fish because the meat department doesn’t sell anything small enough for a single meal. There are some veggies that I never use because a single one is enough for four or five meals. A service that only gives me the exact amounts I need for a recipe might have been helpful to cut down on waste, but not if it’s still giving me grocery-store-sized portions that I could have bought myself.

    3. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees

      I prefer the Plated food more, I thought it was more customizable and they didn’t seem quite as obsessed with “bitter leaf green as a salad” as Blue Apron does, but in my area they use the worst shipping service (arrived 2 days late in an open, damaged box!) and will not use them again until they switch to a different shipping company.

    4. Lisa

      My husband and I have tried Blue Apron, Plated, and Home Chef and have unilaterally agreed that Blue Apron is the best among them. We had a really difficult time using our Gilt City deal with Plated, and once we finally got the food selected and received our order, almost all of the fresh produce was destroyed or had some kind of defect (brown basil, onions with large soft spots, a peach that had turned to mush, old red peppers). We contacted Plated, and they only reimbursed us for one of the meals for two, even though almost all of the produce was bad. One also has to order four servings (two meals for two) to get the free shipping so we would have to pay another $24 to use the free meal credited to us. When my husband pointed this out, they said they wouldn’t do anything more for us since we came through a voucher and didn’t pay the full value for our first meals anyway.

      Compare that to Blue Apron, who, when our shipment was delayed by two days due to massive snowstorms, issued us a completely free box for the following week. The original box eventually showed up, and we were able to use everything in it except for the fish. (We bought substitute fish and used all of the other ingredients.)

      I’ve liked the recipes we’ve gotten from Plated, but it simply costs more, and the customer experience we had was so rotten that I’m not inclined to use it again.

      FWIW, Home Chef was not good at all. The quality of ingredients was poor, and the recipes, while good, were not particularly interesting. Blue Apron’s have been consistently good and fun to try; as Allison said, they’re recipes that we normally wouldn’t seek out or try on our own, but they end up being some of our favorites!

      1. Career Counselorette

        We had that experience when we had a free trial of Plated too- nearly everything they sent us had gone off, and when we looked at the comments on Facebook every single person said the same thing. I think Blue Apron orders in more limited quantities to avoid that very thing happening.

    5. Skip2MyLou

      I’ve used both and I find the portions larger with Plated than with Blue Apron. I also like that with Plated you can choose any combination of the meals that are available, with Blue Apron there are only certain meal combinations you can select.

      I live in NYC and have not had any issues with delivery or the freshness of produce from either company, but your mileage may vary depending on where you live.

      1. Liz in a Library

        I’ll add another point of data. I’ve also had zero freshness issues with either company, and I’m not in a major city (I’m in SC).

    6. Meg

      I use Plated on a weekly basis, and I love it. I like that we get to pick what we are going to get, and I’ve never had a problem with bad produce. A couple times the box came late (thanks FedEx), and Plated gave me a credit for the full amount of my meat dishes (I didn’t ask for it for the vegetarian dishes). Their customer service is great, especially if you call. I’ve never emailed them, but my father has. The serving sizes are large. We are big eaters, and we are always full. My parents always have more than enough and often have enough for 1 1/2 meals to 2 meals.

    1. einahpets

      This was the reason we ended up canceling after trying it for a few months. We try and be conscious of our footprint, and it was just too much.

    2. Clever Name

      I know. Me too. :(

      My husband and I both love to cook, and for me, the part I like the least is chopping up all the veggies, so in theory, I should love this. I guess I hate the waste, even if it’s recycled. Recycling takes energy and producing no waste is better.

      1. Kyrielle

        What I want is a store (or shipping service, but I’d rather a store) that lets me buy the ingredients I want, in the amounts I want, cut up the way I want – basically, I want a sous chef I can drop in on and pick up a pre-placed order on the way home. And either lets me use my own containers, or issues me returnable ones they can clean and reuse, or if absolutely necessary, recyclable ones.

        1. Amy Farrah Fowler

          Most grocery stores have cut fruit and cut veggies available in the produce department. Sometimes they have good mixes like potatoes, carrots, and onions to throw in the crock pot for a roast. They may not be in exactly the quantities you need, but they usually have them in a couple different sizes. As far as the containers, they’re probably recyclable.

          I do think your idea could be a good business idea in certain areas of the country.

          1. LawBee

            an additional option is to buy your veggies at the salad bar. Depending on the store, I can get the sliced zucchini, baby carrots, or whatever I need in exactly the amount I need, for less than the produce section.

        2. SanguineAspect

          There’s a place near me that does all farm-fresh, local ingredients and they have “meal shares” you sign up for. They deliver to you once a week in reusable BPA-free containers, that you then return or reuse. If you’re near Cambridge, MA, you can check them out: http://cuisineenlocale.com/meal-delivery/

        3. the_scientist

          There is a place like this in my area called SupperWorks, or something. Or it’s similar to your idea anyway- you drop in on your way home from work, pick up your washed, cut and prepped dinner ingredients and then throw them in the pan at home. I think they also have premade options? My hometown is a pretty decent commute from a downtown core and the location is or was situated near the train station- I bet they made a killing.

    1. puddin

      THIS. I see time spent in the kitchen as nurturing my body and soul. Time spent dusting/vacuuming is soul crushing and an endless cycle of suck. I know there are those who enjoy it, and man I wish I did. Maybe some day…

    2. Carrie in Scotland

      I just got my flat cleaned by a cleaning lady (for the photos) and OMG such a difference. I only need to keep it that clean for another 4 days…

    3. Bekx

      I know this is thread hijacking and I’m sorry but how do you find a reputable cleaning person? The people at work would scoff if I asked for recommendations because I’m a woman, how DARE I not keep my place clean. Craigslist seems shady and no one I know has a cleaning service come in.

      1. GOG11

        There is a post from Adulting Blog that gives some useful tips on cleaning services. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover how to locate one. But, once you’ve found a potential service, it does provide tips on screening them. Link to follow. I am curious to see what others have to say as well.

      2. puddin

        Yelp – but then you are looking at services more than individuals who clean. I do prefer a locally owned, non-chain service and that is how I found my current provider. They will be a tad more expensive, but the peace of mind for theft, damage, and personal safety are worth it.

        Your work folks sound icky. Sorry.

        1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

          Yeah – I feel torn about services vs. individuals. I feel like most of the services charge more, and then pay their employees minimum wage. It’s hard/impossible to completely avoid supporting minimum-wage businesses, but at least in my own home I’d like to avoid it. The individuals, I think, end up putting more money in their pocket especially if they are using my supplies, which I prefer. On the other hand, I’ve tried 3 individuals and they were all so painfully inconsistent that I gave up. It’s that whole “cleaning for the cleaning lady thing” – it takes forever, and then when they don’t show up it’s irritating. Especially because hubby works at home and would have to plan a specific day out to avoid being there when they come. A service, on the other hand, normally sends a sub. I also had this individual woman who would leave all her stuff (mops, etc.) on by back porch and then show up to get them at inappropriate times. Like midnight. Always creeped me out.

          1. Olive Hornby

            If you’re in a largeish city, there might be a cooperatively owned service, which is a nice way of splitting the difference and ensuring that your cleaning person is paid a living wage. We found our (New York) cleaning person through Si Se Puede, which I love.

        1. S

          Homejoy as well! They’re specifically for professional cleaning services, not just any and all errands. They have a presence in most major cities now too.

      3. fposte

        I’ve just started using nextdoor.com, and that’s the kind of thing that gets posted there in my area. I don’t know if it would work the same in a larger city, but our population often isn’t dense enough for Yelp, etc., to have much impact.

        1. Bekx

          I mean, for the most part they aren’t too bad, it’s just certain things I have to resist the urge to roll my eyes on. Really it’s just one or two queen bees who have been there 25 years.

      4. Amy Farrah Fowler

        My area has a lot of facebook activity for things like that. Some people will post on the “Beg Barter Buy Sell” facebook pages that they do those sorts of things. People also ask for recommendations for all kinds of things from cleaning help, HVAC work, plumbers, etc. If your area doesn’t have an active group for stuff like that, maybe Angie’s list? I’ve never had a subscription, but supposedly it’s only people recommended by members, not just flagrant advertising.

      5. Carrie in Scotland

        At my work there is an email list for sales, wants, freebies, recommendations etc and I got the cleaning person from that. When walking in my city, I walked past some cleaning companies, in the past I’ve also managed to snap a pic of (painter, decorator etc) on my phone if they’ve been driving/parked. I’d also try your local paper, the ads in there have services available.

      6. PhyllisB

        Suggestion? Contact a real estate agent and ask them if they mind sharing some of their contacts with you. They may refuse, but what do you have to lose by asking?

    1. Erin

      Indeed. You still have to go grocery shopping – it does not eliminate grocery shopping. And as I mentioned in my main comment here, there is a lot of prep work. Thus, while good food, it really doesn’t save you time.

    2. MegEB

      In all fairness, each meal has two servings, so it ends up being six meals. When I used it, I ended up cooking it for dinner one night and then using the second serving as lunch the next day.

      1. kristinyc

        Yes – It also factors that you may have days that you go out to eat. My husband and I did a similar service a few years ago, and we had trouble finding 2 days a week when we were both actually home to cook dinner together.

        My mom did this one by herself, and she’d have dinner and lunch the next day (or two dinners).

      2. jmkenrick

        Yes. We used Blue Apron for about a year, but actually ended up discontinuing because our schedules are TOO hectic. We could maybe do 2 dinners a week, but routinely committing to three meant that occasionally the ingredients would go bad and then there would be another weeks.

    3. Parfait

      Three times a week is about as often as I can really commit to cooking dinner. A happy hour one night, a date night another, maybe one night you aren’t that hungry and just want a bagel or something…three times a week is plenty in our house.

      Signed, happy Blue Apron user

  2. LisaLisa

    I tried it and what annoyed me about it is that I didn’t want them delivered every week (maybe every other or just when I have time to make their meals) and you have to manually go in an skip weeks instead of being able to say I want it to come here and here (an you can only skip three weeks in advance — so no saying ‘oh we’re traveling next month…let me turn it off then.”) It was particularly annoying because we would go way on vacation and I’d forget to turn it off and all that food would be wasted. I finally got so annoyed I decided to cancel but there’s not easy way to cancel….they make you email them to get access to page they could have easily given you access to from your account page. So needless to say, they’re on my bad list.

  3. steve g

    I’ve heard of them before and just went to do this but it looks like it is setting you up for an ongoing delivery (and the original one isn’t free as well). Isn’t there a way to do this here and there and not set up a strict commitment? My schedule is too unpredictable to set up anything pertaining food for an ongoing delivery

      1. SG

        My roommate uses it, and you can pause whenever you want- you just need to remember to let them know.

        1. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees

          Since they send out weekly emails I find it easy to remember to skip, especially since you can several weeks in advance and change your mind later.

          1. Lisa

            This is what my husband and I do. We skipped every week we could for the next couple of months, and then we evaluate if we want to get a box based on our schedules and the recipes that show up in the e-mails.

    1. AnonInSC

      Just a note that if you want to cancel and not just continue to skip deliveries, it’s a pain in the behind. I kept using the email they give in the FAQ section and it never worked. Skip straight to the “contact us” form. That’s what finally made it happen. While the food was good, it just didn’t work for us. Loved the service until I tried to cancel the account. The experience left a bad taste (ha!).

      1. Liz in a Library

        Weird! I’ve cancelled and resin scribed several times, and every time I’ve emailed to cancel, I’ve gotten the response with the link to cancel instantly. Could it possibly be going to your spam folder, since it’s an auto response?

        It’d be much better to just have a link on the account page though…

  4. Retail Lifer

    My boyfriend and I are trying to eat better by attempting to cook at home more, but we don’t know what we should eat and we’re really bad about going to the store. Hmmmm…

    1. TNTT

      This is 100% why we started doing it (although we use Plated now instead). Too busy to make it to the grocery very often and, once we got there, pretty overwhelmed! We’ve learned so many new flavors and techniques and have definitely developed a much better instinct in trying to come up with meals ourselves.

    2. Muriel Heslop

      I think it is totally worth a try if it’s just you and your boyfriend – my husband and I love the idea of cooking together with less planning and shopping but it just doesn’t work with us with small kids. We tried it and liked it but I am not up for making two completely separate meals for us and for the kids.

  5. SG

    I grew up in a family that almost ALWAYS cooked all meals at home, and we’re all fairly talented cooks/bakers, but I’ve been kind of skeptical about Blue Apron. My roommate uses it. The recipes all seem kind of complicated, she uses about 10 dishes/pans per recipe as it’s a little overly enthused with the mise en place, and the excessive packaging seems incredibly wasteful. Like each little bit of the meal is packaged in its own separate plastic container.

    1. Career Counselorette

      That surprises me- we do Blue Apron at home with two of us, and they’re pretty clear in the recipes that you do not have to use every single pot and pan and ladle you have (they will say word for word “In the same pan as….”). We actually end up compensating for the excess packaging by using the containers for our mise on place, which are less dishes we end up having to wash.

    2. Lucky

      I’m fairly handy in the kitchen – my dad was a cook in the Army and taught me good habits, then I worked in restaurants during college. I loved trying new recipes and they are literally written out with photos so that a novice could use them to learn to cook. What irked me about Blue Apron was the sheer amount of prep work, more than I would normally need to get dinner on the table. So much prep work, and so much of it not necessary. Like, if I need to add crushed pistachios to the salmon, just give me a packet of crushed pistachios – their cheaper than whole ones! If the recipe calls for kalamata olives, give me a package of PITTED olives, don’t make me slice little slivers of olive off of the pit.

      1. Betty (the other Betty)

        Thanks for this info: I would have expected that the service would pre-prep at least some of the ingredients. Chop veggies? Sure, whole veggies stay fresher so that makes sense. Pit olives or chop nuts? I’d rather not. (Says the woman who just got stitches due to a kitchen chopping accident.)

      2. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees

        That was one of the things I also found Plated did better, if an item could be preprepped it was sent preprepped. Or if a recipe calls for a clove of garlic, Blue Apron will send a full bulb per recipe that calls for a clove but Plated would send one already peeled garlic clove for you to chop or crush.

        1. SG

          We currently have four garlic bulbs in our kitchen, and we don’t share grocery budgets so I don’t want to take her items, but jeez.

      3. AnonaMoose

        Re: pistachios and olives – SERIOUSLY?! Wow, ya, I would be irritated too. Who the hell wants to do everything from scratch? That’s the whole point of getting a service!

        I was still considering it despite all of the comments above, but your comment sealed the deal. I mean, next you’re going to tell me that I have to roast and crush my own chiles to make some difficult spicy sauce. No, that’s why I eat at restaurants, so I don’t have to spend 3 hours making one dish. Yeesh.

      4. Solid B student

        Concur. Waaaay too much prep work for me. When I had to peel and zest a lemon I was done!

    1. Ohword

      Less than going out to eat and more than gathering all the ingredients yourself… Sounds about right to me.

      1. GOG11

        This is a good point. I thought that seemed a bit much, too, but if you’re wanting to branch out and you don’t already have quite a few of the ingredients on hand, this spice plus this random vegetable I had to go four stores to find plus a whole container of something I’ll never use again (looking at you, wheat germ) starts to add up pretty fast. It does seem like a good way to branch out and experiment with new ingredients without having to commit to keeping it all in your pantry until it gets thrown out because you hated it.

    2. LBK

      If you’re just cooking for one or two people, I’d think not being forced to over-buy ingredients would make a difference to the price too. I find when I’m just cooking for myself, half the time I end up throwing out half of what I buy because I can only buy it in a portion that would serve 6 people (or would require me to use it in every meal all week) and then the rest goes bad.

      1. Adonday Veeah

        This. I throw away tons of food some weeks, alternating with weeks where I eat eggs and toast because that’s all that I have. And meal planning doesn’t seem to be one of the life skills I’ve mastered.

        I bet this will either save me tons or cost me the same.

      2. Meece

        I am kind of addicted to my spreadsheet of all things financial in my life (like really, compulsively addicted), and the most shocking thing (to me, anyway, coming from a very budget-conscious family of origin that pretty much always cooked at home) was that with just my spouse and me, we save money by eating out every single day of the week compared to cooking at home. Spouse doesn’t like leftovers and will typically only eat them for one day after they are made, I get free meals through work every day and can’t absorb all the leftovers solo, so when we cook, we spend lots of time on it, we have to overbuy at least some ingredients (soooo happy when the grocery store started offering single ribs of celery …), and an appalling amount of it goes to waste anyway. So I looked at our food costs in the master financial spreadsheet, and the months with the lowest food cost per day were months when we almost exclusively ate out (ranging $10-$20/plate, where a plate is usually enough for dinner + lunch the next day). I like to cook and bake, and I still do a couple of times a month, but I treat it as more of a hobby than a life necessity now.

  6. SG

    If anyone likes the idea of trying new ingredients, but not having the meals predetermined for them (all the Plated/Blue Apron meals are a little complex sometimes when you get home at 9pm and maybe don’t want to make an elaborate meal) and if you live in NYC, I subscribe to a grocery delivery thing that I LOVE. It’s called Quinciple. I don’t work for them in literally any capacity at all, I just love them so much that I thought I’d throw it out there. AND their customer service has always been really awesome, which I sincerely appreciate in anyone who delivers.

    1. Robles

      I use Peapod and it’s life-changing. Started because we didn’t live close to a grocery store, but then we moved like 2 blocks from a Safeway and we still use Peapod for most of our groceries. And they have a CSA box you can add to your order now!

      1. SG

        Yeah! They actually are a small curated box, so you don’t choose what comes, you get what they have from farms for the week. You usually get some kind of bread, a protein (meat/fish), a cheese, every other week eggs, lots of veggies and some fruit. Cooking for one person who likes to be a little adventurous, I LOVE it. And I can be as lazy or as creative as I want.

  7. Amber Rose

    If I lived alone I’d try it. But I suspect there isn’t a company in the world capable of coping with someone as picky as my husband.

    1. GOG11

      Yup. My boyfriend likes rice, bread, ground beef, corn, green beans, peas, and select boxed meals and processed foods. That’s it. If it has more than three ingredients to it, there’s a good chance one of those ingredients will be something he can’t eat.

    2. AnonInSC

      The time for prep and the fact our husbands are food brothers is why I stopped using it.

  8. Susan

    For anyone who’s interested: Lifehacker did a review comparing Blue Apron, Plated and another service.
    For anyone who thinks $10 per meal is a lot, a possible alternative is to get just the meal planning-it’s WAY cheaper and you get the chef designed meals/recipes, a shopping list, and cooking tips (example Cook Smarts).

    1. CherryScary

      Thanks for the heads up on this! I like the idea of these services, but I just really want the meal planning!

    2. Erin

      Do you know anything about eMeals? My husband has been wanting to check that out and it sounds a bit like Cook Smarts you mentioned.

    3. Judy

      Before kids, I used to have a subscription to cooking light, and both my husband and I would go through the magazine monthly and pick recipes. We would attempt to try at least one new recipe a week, some months there would be lots of new recipes we wanted to try. At one time they had a feature that included 5 recipes for a week with a shopping list.

    4. Muriel Heslop

      We have used the meal planning and recipes from the Blue Apron blog and we love it. With two small children at home we need a little more flexibility and we cater a bit to my four year olds SPD palate. The recipes are great and have inspired some fun meals and grocery trips.

    5. Ellie H.

      I can see this working well especially for someone who really doesn’t like leftovers (like me – there are 2 kinds of people, those who like leftovers, who in my experience often can’t understand who anyone wouldn’t, and those who don’t) but who loves to cook and try new things. I probably won’t try it bc I live alone and already like to cook and do try new things and don’t have a lot of extra income lying around. But I have considered it based on the minimizing leftovers factor alone!

      By the way, for anyone else who doesn’t like leftovers, the other thing I do to mitigate this is usually cook the same cuisine/types of food (in my case, Japanese or sometimes Chinese) – it’s easier to use leftover ingredients for new meals that way and to usually have what you need on hand-ish.

      1. Meece

        I will cop to being a person who likes leftovers and doesn’t understand people who don’t like them. Married, naturally, to a person who doesn’t like leftovers. In the interest of marital harmony, can someone explain what it is that non-leftover-eaters don’t like about leftovers?

  9. Erin

    My parents get Blue Apron and have let me try several recipes. There actually is *a lot* of prep work generally involved. I’ve found it really didn’t save me any time, and after doing the math comparing it with money spent on groceries, it wouldn’t save me money either if I actually signed up for it.

    However, the food is good, the recipes are unique, and the end result does look like the picture given. Also, the ingredients from my experience did stay fresh for several days, up to even a week, in the fridge, so you have some wiggle room in terms of how soon to cook the food after it arrives.

    Although it’s not for me I can see it working for some. If the price makes sense for your budget it is a really good way to try new and creative recipes.

    1. JC

      Yup. People I know who use it like it, but say that there is more prep work involved than when they cook (simpler) meals on their own.

    2. Ten

      I tried Plated once to try and up my cooking skills (low) and to make that transition easier. Nope. Soooo much prep, and there are so many components that it was super stressful!

  10. The Other Dawn

    I’d to try something like this, but my husband is not adventurous with food. I’d be the one eating it all. Looks like a good way to save some time and try something new, though.

  11. Career Counselorette

    We were also crazy about the Szechuan tofu and long beans. Tuesday night we made palak paneer with a cucumber and heirloom tomato salad, which was hnnnnnnnnggggggg.

  12. TV Researcher

    Just chiming in to say that I love this service. I live alone with a relatively small kitchen (joys of NYC living), but I can usually get 2 to 3 meals out of each meal they send (or two dinners and a lunch).

    Sadly, I’ll have to pause the service for 11 months, as I’m moving into my brother’s house and his kitchen is Kosher Vegetarian. Now, if they had a service that catered to that populace, I’d be all over that.

  13. My 2 Cents

    I just looked at Blue Apron and Plated because I thought I would sign up. I didn’t realize the minimum was THREE meals per week! I don’t want 3 meals per week! I know that’s probably the number that makes it economical for them to offer the service, but honestly I’m just not going to do 3 meals a week from a service. I’ve heard from everyone who uses is that they actually get double the meals from their Blue Apron, so if that’s true then 6 of the 7 meals of the week would be coming from them, I don’t want that! Not to mention that I’ve been cutting out big dinners and making lunch my big meal of the day and just eating a light dinner and snacking in the evenings (because America is obese!) and it’s been a great lifestyle change, I don’t want to go back to a full dinner every night.

    1. SG

      My roommate usually brings her leftovers from dinner to work for lunch, so you could make it your main lunch thing too.

  14. MegEB

    I LOVED Blue Apron when I used it. I ended up discontinuing the services because it was just a tad too expensive and I’m a pretty decent cook all on my own, but the recipes are super easy to follow, the food is always fresh, and I got to learn new flavor combinations. My boyfriend has been using Blue Apron for over a year now and he’s gone from not being able to make scrambled eggs to being a pretty solid chef (and he now enjoys cooking!). He says it’s also saved him money, since he would just order takeout most of the time anyway. I highly recommend trying it.

    1. SG

      I think it’s great for people who default to takeout but WANT to cook- it’s the only thing I’ve seen my roommate regularly cook and I’ve lived with her for 12 months!

  15. KarenT

    Looks very cool! If they delivered to Canada I would try it. I have seen a few Canadian services like this, but none that have appealed to me this much.

  16. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees

    I love services like this because I am the worst at meal planning, but love cooking and trying new things. I’ve tried both Plated and Blue Apron and food-wise found Plated offered a better variety and the recipes turned out more successfully. Everything I tried with Blue Apron ended up being tasty, but mostly flopped in terms of looking like it was supposed to. Plated had more that interested my super picky BF, but Blue Apron allows you to chose the meals you want EXCEPT many combinations aren’t available together! I will see two or three things in the weekly menu that I want and can’t seem to match them with each other so I’ve skipped all but my initial week since trying it (it keeps trying to give me lamb and salmon, the only two foods that disgust me to the point I won’t eat them). It’s still a service I’d recommend to anyone interested!

  17. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

    I love the idea of this and have wanted to try it, but I’m 99% veggie – and I don’t eat soy or other “meat substitutes”. I want whole foods that are naturally protein-rich (which frankly, is just about everything. You could get all your calories from corn and have plenty of protein). Beans, nuts, seeds.

  18. CV

    This sounds so good! We usually plan our own meals, but with a 10 minute commute it’s easy to find time for cooking.
    One nitpick – they’re garlic scapes, not scrapes. (But so delicious. LOVE the scapes.)

  19. Interviewer

    Thank you for this post – I’ve been meaning to sign up for a service like this for some time! I decided to give the family meals a test drive for my weekends, where I spend a lot of time searching for new recipes, shopping & cooking. I’ve got picky kids, too, but if I get them to just try it, they usually eat it. Plus, they’ll love helping me with all of these ingredients. We definitely need some real variety, and if I get leftovers for lunches, that’s a bonus. Looking forward to seeing how this goes. Thank you, AAM!

  20. Dan

    I’m picking a nit here, but the advertising is misleading, and I hate companies who play advertising games unnecessarily.

    Alison writes this: “In fact, Blue Apron is offering two free meals on your first order to the first 50 readers to sign up here.”

    But if you go to the signup page, *everybody* gets two free meals on your first order. There’s no “first 50 people” limit or code required.

    As a math guy, I hate it when advertisers make it look like I’m getting a special deal when I’m not, or for that matter, exaggerate the “value” of the deal unnecessarily (I’m looking at you, Groupon.) In this case, it’s sufficient to say, “Sign up and get 2 free meals!”

  21. Jessica

    Mmmm, garlic scapes! I have a huge bag in my fridge that I am trying to figure out what to do with. Thank you for showing the food you received and the finished meal. I have always been curious about that.

  22. Anonymi

    I love Blue Apron and love that they’re sponsoring one of my favorite blogs. I love seeing companies like this recognizing the value of this site.

  23. treytrey

    We have been using Hello Fresh for several months and we absolutely love it! We love to cook, but hate the planning and shopping. We have tried all kinds of new things and there isn’t any waste. We typically get a dinner and a lunch each out of most of the meals as well, which brings the cost down. For the alternate nights, I make very simple meals and our grocery bill has gone down.

  24. pony tailed wonder

    Has anyone tried PeachDish or Home Chef? They are supposed to be like Plated and Blue Apron.

  25. Dana

    My boyfriend has a guy in his network who just started a business in our area delivering already-cooked meals and snacks. I hate cooking and this thing (for us) is the BEST ever–the food is so good! We do the 5-day plan so we can go out on the weekends, but they have 7-day plans as well. We get a delivery twice a week and everything is fresh and healthy and really tasty. I don’t know how I managed before. (Well, yes I do, I used to have frappuccinos for lunch…)

    1. Judy

      One of my friends is a personal chef. She will come to your house (every other week, I think) and cook a certain number of meals, that she puts in the freezer with instructions.

  26. LawBee

    All of my favorite podcasts (list upon request) seem to be sponsored by Blue Apron – and now AAM? It’s really making me lean towards at least trying it once. (I just wish they had a single-person option. I don’t need two of the same meal, especially as it’s my understanding that the portions are pretty darn generous.)

      1. GOG11

        Potentially stupid question, but can you still taste when your tongue is numb like that? I’m trying to recall the one time I had Novocaine for a dental procedure and whether or not I could actually taste the chicken nuggets I’d gotten afterward…

        (FYI, solid food is a TERRIBLE life decision when your mouth is completely numb. You will bite yourself. A lot.)

  27. The Other Katie

    I’ve used Blue Apron for about a year now, and we love it! We’ve tried so many recipes that we normally wouldn’t have thought of, and a few we’ve added to our normal rotation of meals. We use it more during the winter than the summer (I think I’ve skipped the last 10 weeks) but I love having that option.

  28. Kzkz

    We use Blue Apron and sympathize with the people who think three times a week is too much. We also don’t like cooking and not having leftovers. So, we switched to the two meals a week / four servings each (family plan). Works for us! I’d say we only do it once a month or so but it’s a fun option.

  29. Melissa

    Oh my holy god yes yes yes. I love to cook but I’m the laziest cook in the world; I love trying new stuff but I never have the right ingredients in my apartment and I’m always too lazy to go get them. In fact, I’m relocating and one of the primary characteristics of my new place has to be “walking distance to some grocery store where I can pick up eggs when I realize I don’t have them.”

    So I’ll probably hold off until I move, but bookmarking this for revisiting later!

  30. BudgetChick

    Being on a strict budget delivered meals are a real stretch, but coming home tired one night I out of frustration started googling three ingredient dinners. Oh my! All Recipes.com delivered two fast easy dinners I had the ingredients for. Chicken coated with mustard & rolled in parmesan cheese was a total winner!
    Now I just google what ingredients I have on hand & see what pops up. Finally no stress mealtimes. It’s more like a tiny adventure.

  31. Bio-Pharma

    For those of you who’ve tried several services, how would you rate the level of “preparedness”? For example, I use Plated and I find it super annoying to get a teaspoon of sesame seeds, and you’re supposed to roast them in a pan. Why not give us roasted sesame seeds??

    I wonder if some (maybe Plated?) is more about the cooking EXPERIENCE. Is there another service that makes things easy and well prepared, so you still feel like you’re COOKING, but simplified?

    1. Aaron

      Pre-toasted sesame seeds aren’t going to have the same flavor characteristics as freshly toasted ones. That’s why they make you do it! :)

  32. Teacher Recruiter

    I’ve tried Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. Haven’t yet tried Plated. I LOVED Hello Fresh, and canceled my Blue Apron. I just liked the recipes and the choices better with Hello Fresh.

    I will say with both of them though, I got 3-4 meals out of their “one meal.” I live alone, so I’d cook the meal, and usually could divide it into 3 or 4, resulting in anywhere from 9-12 meals out of it. So I had lots of leftovers, and it made it super economical for those of you worried about $10/meal. I will caveat that and say I’m a fairly petite woman and typically by the time dinner rolls around I’m only looking to eat 300-400 calories or so.

  33. JeanLouiseFinch

    When we first started to get Blue Apron we loved it, but recently they have had some really lame recipes, like so called Chicago style Italian Beef (major fail), and Cheeseburgers (I mean, come on, who can’t shop for those ingredients?) I have not received BA in the last few weeks because I do a better version of most of these recipes on my own. Having said that, I do like many of their recipes, in particular, the fish meals are usually very good, and some of these recipes are a good introduction to new ingredients. If I lived alone and was still working 60-70 hour weeks, I would probably depend on Blue Apron, so on the whole, I recommend using them. If you are going to use them, it’s smart to get a good set of graduated glass bowls, use sherry instead of water in many of the sauces, double the garlic, and use a good chicken or beef stock if the meal is a soup (instead of the concentrate + water they provide.) Oh, and if, like me, you are a type I diabetic or a type II on medication, be sure the meal has enough carbs. Some of their meals have no carbs or very few. If not, you can always make some rice or noodles to supplement.

  34. Litwolf

    My stepmother turned me onto this and I love it! I don’t use it all the time; been signed up for four months and have only done three deliveries. But all the food has been delicious and it’s awesome to try new things that I would never think to try for myself. Blue Apron rocks!

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