HelloFresh Review: A Detailed Look

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Feb 26, 2020

If you’re looking for a less stressful way to cook at home, then you’ve likely looked into a meal kit subscription.

HelloFresh is one of the most popular subscription meal services. The company claims to help you put a home-cooked meal on the table in thirty minutes or less—no shopping or meal planning required. Each week, HelloFresh offers more than 20 entrée recipes as well as extras like lunches, side dishes, desserts, and extra proteins.

These recipes are sorted into different levels, designed to give you a sense of how much effort it will take to make them.

  • Level 1: Simple and familiar recipes, most require 1–2 pots.
  • Level 2: Slightly more multi-tasking and concentration, may require experimenting with unusual ingredients or cooking techniques.
  • Level 3: Multitasking required, includes adventurous ingredients and cooking techniques.

Should you sign up for a HelloFresh subscription? This review lays out the facts so you can make the right decision for your family.

Pros
  • 20+ meal options per week
  • Variety of extras, including lunches, desserts, side dishes, etc.
  • Meals sorted by difficulty level
Cons
  • Some complaints about ingredient quality
  • Meals might get monotonous over time
  • Serving sizes may be small

How Does HelloFresh Work?

As with most of its competitors, HelloFresh lets you sign up for weekly meals on a subscription basis. You can choose your top choices from the weekly offerings, or allow the company to choose for you.

Each weekly HelloFresh delivery will include premeasured amounts of all the ingredients necessary for your requested meals. All you’ll need to supply is salt, pepper, sugar, oil, or butter, depending on the recipe.

The meals will arrive in an insulated box packed with ice packs and will include recipe cards. You can expect each recipe to take about 20–45 minutes from starting to when you eat.

Meal Options

HelloFresh offers 20+ changing meal options every week. On average, you can expect about five of these meals to be vegetarian, three to be considered “calorie smart” (about 650 calories per serving), and two or three labeled as quick, meaning they require less than thirty minutes of prep time.

Below is a sample of meals from weekly menu options and their difficulty levels. In cases of add-on items or where the meals cost most more than the standard price, we’ve included the additional charges in parenthesis.

Entrees:

  • (Gourmet Plus, +$7.99/serving) Duck a l’Orange with Duck Fat Mashed Potatoes and Arugula Almond Salad: Level 2
  • (Gourmet, +$5.99/serving) Butter-Basted Chicken Breasts with Candied Bacon Brussels Sprouts and Mashed Sweet Potato: Level 1
  • (Calorie Smart) Apricot Ginger Chicken with Roasted Green Beans and Jasmine Rice: Level 1
  • Juicy Lucy Burgers with Tomato Onion Jam and Potato Wedges: Level 1
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas with Mexican Cheese and Hot Sauce Crema: Level 1

Quick Lunches:

  • Prosciutto-Caprese Sandwiches with Pesto Mayo ($6.99/serving)
  • Butternut Squash Agnolotti ($2.99/serving)

Sides and Complements:

  • Garlic Bread ($3.99)
  • Annie’s Organic Flakey Biscuits ($4.99)

Desserts and Treats:

  • Annie’s Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ($5.49/dozen)
  • Chocolate Fudgy Brownies ($4.99/dozen)

Proteins:

  • Two Chicken Breasts ($4.99/12oz)
  • Shrimp ($6.99/10oz)
  • Bacon ($2.49/4oz)

Note that while HelloFresh advertises three levels of meal difficulty, most are classified as Level 1. In fact, we looked through the menus for several upcoming weeks and couldn’t find any Level 3 meals.

Does HelloFresh Support Dietary Restrictions?

HelloFresh offers a diverse roster of 20+ meals per week, and the selection is curated to provide options for those with allergies or dietary restrictions.

For instance, at least four meals a week will be vegetarian. Each recipe will also indicate whether it contains wheat, milk, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, or shellfish. The company also segregates its stored ingredients to limit the risk of cross-contamination.

The majority of HelloFresh ingredients aren’t certified organic, though the company claims to work with sustainable business partners to source high-quality, seasonal produce as much as possible.

While HelloFresh doesn’t specify whether recipes are low-carb, keto-friendly, or fit other kinds of diet plans, you can find nutrition information for each recipe on the cards that come in each order, or by searching the recipe on HelloFresh’s website.

Pricing and Plans

HelloFresh’s cost per meal depends on how many people you feed and the number of meals you commit to per week.

Recipes Per Week 2 Servings Per Meal 4 Servings Per Meal
2 $10.99/serving ($50.95) $8.99/serving ($78.91)
3 $8.99/serving ($60.93) $7.49/serving ($96.87)
4 $8.99/serving ($78.91) $7.49/serving ($126.83)

The pricing for each plan includes a $6.99 weekly shipping cost.

Beyond these base plans, your cost per week may vary depending on whether you add gourmet meals or other add-ons to your order:

  • Gourmet/Gourmet Plus Meals: an extra $5.99–$7.99 per serving
  • Quick Lunches: $2.99–$6.99 per serving
  • Sides and Complements: $2.49–$4.99 each (may include up to four servings)
  • Desserts and Treats: $3.99-$5.49 per serving
  • Proteins: $2.49–$6.99 per 4-12oz

HelloFresh is currently available across the continental United States. When you first sign up, you will choose your first preferred delivery date. All future deliveries will arrive on that same day of the week unless you request otherwise from your account.

You can pause your account, skip a delivery week, or cancel your subscription up to five days before the next delivery is due. Each action can be performed through your “Account Settings” page.

HelloFresh vs. Home Chef and Blue Apron

HelloFresh is one of many meal kit subscription options. Two other companies will similar services include Home Chef and Blue Apron.

HelloFresh Home Chef Blue Apron
Cost Per Serving $7.49- $10.99 $7.49-$12.95 $7.49-$9.99
Shipping Cost $6.99 $10, free for orders over $49 $7.99, free for orders over $50
Weekly Meal Options 20+ 15+ 11+
Add-Ons Quick lunches, sides and complements, desserts and treats, proteins Lunches, salads, snacks, extra protein, premade meals, etc Wine subscription
Available in Stores? Yes Yes No

As this chart shows, all three services offer meals at a price point between $7.50–$10 per serving, and you can plan on the cost going down the more servings you commit to per week.

With more than 20 weekly options, HelloFresh offers the best variety of meal options per week, with Home Chef not far behind. Both also offer options for expanding your order beyond dinner with options like lunches, side dishes, desserts, and extra protein servings.

Blue Apron doesn’t offer these extras, though it’s possible to sign up for a companion wine subscription. For this program, you will receive six wine bottles per month for $65.99, and they include a wine pairing key to help you match each drink to a recipe. Note that these bottles are 500ml, meaning they are approximately 2/3 the size of standard wine bottles.

Both Home Chef and Blue Apron might be best for larger families because they incentive larger orders by cutting out the shipping fees once you order at least three meals or four servings per meal. Home Chef also offers several premade meals that can be heated in the oven for extra convenience.

Key Takeaways: To decide which meal plan is best for you, consider how many meals you want and whether you still plan to grocery shop as well.

Blue Apron and Home Chef both award bigger orders, though HelloFresh includes the broadest meal selection and the most add-on options. This makes either of them a better choice if you want to spend less time shopping for extras each week.

Likewise, HelloFresh’s difficulty rating system and clear guidelines about how long each recipe should take make it easy to predict what your time commitment will need to be to make them. This rating system might help novice cooks gain some confidence and may make it easier for those strapped for time to plan ahead.

Many people find Blue Apron’s wine subscription a key selling point, as it allows them to mimic more of a restaurant experience at home by making each meal feel like more of an event. If you’re considering signing up for a meal kit to cut down on how often you eat out, this might be a deciding factor.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

Here at HighYa, HelloFresh averages 2.7 stars after more than 130 reviews. The sentiment is slightly different on ConsumerAffairs, where the company averages four stars after 4,300 reviews. Here’s a recap of what readers are saying:

Common Compliments:

  • Great Meals, Clear Recipes: Customers found the food delicious, uncomplicated, and a great way to experiment with new ingredients and cooking techniques.

  • Big Time Saver: HelloFresh saved users time and money because they didn’t have to grocery shop as often and were going out to eat less.

Common Complaints:

  • Poor Quality Food: Some wrote that the serving sizes were too small and that much of the produce was overripe or underripe.

  • Delivery Problems: Many users had the wrong meals arrive, received boxes with missing key ingredients, or continued receiving shipments after they paused or canceled their account.

  • Not Possible to View Meals Without First Signing Up: One common complaint was that HelloFresh didn’t let them view that week’s recipes until they had signed up with a credit card.

Key Takeaways:

Overall, HelloFresh seems to deliver on its commitment to making dinner less stressful. You might run into occasional quality concerns or customer service problems, but if you already know that you like the idea of a meal kit delivery service, then HelloFresh is likely to be one you enjoy.

The Bottom Line

HelloFresh makes sense for anyone looking into a meal kit subscription service. The company offers more meal options per week than its competitors and allows you to add plenty of extras to your order.

We also think that the company has an easy-to-navigate website and makes it simple to pause or cancel your order at any time.

Keep in mind that HelloFresh struggles with the same downsides as many other meal kit companies. Your produce might not always arrive fresh, there might be missing ingredients in your order, and your box may arrive late or unthawed.

If you think it’s worth skipping the meal planning process despite these potential problems, then HelloFresh makes a lot of sense.

Learn more about choosing the best meal kit subscription service here.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of HelloFresh:
  • 136 Customer Reviews
  • 41% Recommend This Company
2.7 out of 5
5 star: 29% 4 star: 11% 3 star: 4% 2 star: 4% 1 star: 50%

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  • Definitely recommend it

    • By Lula,
    • London,
    • Sep 19, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I tried 3 different boxes and simply loved them! The recipes are very creative, easy to understand and follow, the products are very fresh and - most importantly - the final dishes are really delicious. When I had an enquiry and called their customer service, they also made a great impression: they responded promptly, they were understanding, very nice and really made me feel like a valued customer.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Easy to make, great taste

    Overall Experience:

    My husband has been cooking for many years (I don't cook) and HelloFresh has helped him discover new recipes and different ways to cook things.

    I order three times a week, and it has been great! The portions are perfect, and the instructions are easy to follow. We love the different options, and I would highly recommend it.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • So far, good experience

    Overall Experience:

    Some of the reviews scare me, but so far we have had our tenth meal and have no problems. The meals have been really delicious, with fresh veggies and other items arriving well packaged with a cooling pack. Billing so far has been accurate, but we have to remember to "pause" deliveries that we don't want. We will keep using them, and if we run into problems, then we will have to discontinue. I hope not because we love the meals.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Two years of healthy and delicious meals

    Overall Experience:

    I have been a HelloFresh customer for two years. There have been 2 or 3 meals that we didn't like, and I always received a refund and/or credit. Customer service has always been polite, responsive and customer-centered. You have to read the guidelines, and you can skip a month, skip a week or postpone or cancel your subscription. Due to the use of regional delivery services, you may receive late shipments, but that is not on HelloFresh, and they will always make it right.

    The meals do NOT take an hour to prepare unless you can't cook. They are tasty, creative and healthy. I love it!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Highly recommend to EVERYONE

    Overall Experience:

    We absolutely LOVE HelloFresh! We love trying new things. We love the fact that everything you need is already measured out and keeps me out of the grocery store where I am likely to overspend. The recipes are wonderful.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • So thankful for HelloFresh

    Overall Experience:

    I love to cook, but my schedule or my energy level rarely permits it. I have seen the boxed meals advertised, and on a whim, I started my HelloFresh subscription. I adore it! The selections give my husband a variety that we did not have in our cooking repertoire, and we both love the reliability of it, knowing that we'll have two meals delivered on a specific day lets us know that we at least have those two meals prepped! I recommend HelloFresh to all who need to be reintroduced to the kitchen, especially if you already love cooking but don't have the time to cook like you once did.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Great service

    Overall Experience:

    Everything has been great, from the quality of the recipes, the variety, the quality of the ingredients, and the easy instructions. Plus it's all delicious when it's done.

    Two slight complaints: for people who aren't great at cooking, sometimes it's confusing when it says a "bit of oil" or "finely minced" - those are terms we're not familiar with, but we do our best. The other: too many dishes rely on scallions. I generally leave them out, but there are a lot of recipes that use them.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Best food delivery

    Overall Experience:

    HelloFresh is a great service that provides healthy foods for a quick meal at home. The recipes are simple to follow and can make the most inexperienced cook feel like they are a chef.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Easy and delicious

    Overall Experience:

    I used HelloFresh last year and then took some time off. I started using this service again a couple of weeks ago and found new recipes that we LOVE and have ordered my second box. I cook every single night so having the food delivered to my door is such a convenience, just having the menu planned and all of the ingredients provided is a pleasure, and I think I am actually saving money! What more could I ask for!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Why did I wait so long to try HelloFresh?!

    Overall Experience:

    I freakin’ love HelloFresh! My husband and I are fairly picky eaters, so I figured I’d never find a meal service that we’d love this much. However, the ingredients are high-quality and fresh, the recipes are easy-to-follow, I can adapt the dishes to fit our tastes, and we’re discovering delicious dishes we never would have tried before HelloFresh.

    HelloFresh has pulled us out of the same-old-same-old rut, and we’re enjoying (restaurant-quality) dinners at home more than ever before.

    I recently increased our plan to four meals a week, and I’d consider upping it to five per week if that was an option. LOVE HelloFresh!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Overall success

    Overall Experience:

    I switched from Blue Apron to HelloFresh after experiencing multiple episodes of "growing pains," where I frequently received damaged fresh produce.

    HelloFresh recipes aren't quite the same level of "gourmet" as other food delivery companies, but the quality of ingredients has been excellent, and they're simpler to prepare.

    Some fresh produce, such as baby bok choy, has been wilted due to the paper bag drawing out the moisture. Such fresh green, leafy items would be better protected if placed in a plastic bag.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


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HelloFresh Review: A Detailed Look