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Blue Apron vs. HelloFresh vs. Sun Basket

Thank you to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post! The first 25 readers to click here will get three free meals on their first Blue Apron order.

Hi friends! As you know, Matt and I have tried a bunch of the meal kit recipe delivery companies and basically can’t live without them now – not having to meal plan is the best!

We used Blue Apron every week for years, and then recently started alternating between Blue Apron and Sun Basket due to Matt’s need for gluten free meals for the meantime.

Since we started mixing it up, and because we’ve tried other services in the past, I’ve had a lot of questions from you guys about the differences between the services, so when Blue Apron pitched a compare and contrast post to me I thought it was a great idea.

Don’t worry – while they are sponsoring this post and offering a deal for you guys if you want to try them out, they wanted the post to be authentic and truthful and specifically said they did not want to influence what I wrote.

So here are my honest thoughts on Blue Apron vs. HelloFresh vs. Sun Basket, which are the 3 main services we have tried!

blue apron vs. hellofresh vs. sunbasketPictured above: Tandoori-Style Chicken and Rice (<- recipe) – the yogurt sauce was sooo good!

Before I get into the comparison, let’s talk about basics of the three services. All of the meal delivery kits:

  • Deliver fresh ingredients in a refrigerated box right to your doorstep. No food waste (everything comes in the exact amounts you need for the recipes) and no trips to the grocery store.
  • Offer recycling options for their packaging. (More info on Blue Apron’s recycling program here.)
  • Allow you to create delicious, chef-designed recipes at home by following the steps on the recipe cards.
  • Offer different plan options based on your needs – a 2 person plan and a family plan (generally 2 adults + 2 kids). HelloFresh also offers an adult 4 serving option, though, and you can get 3, 4, or 5 meals per week (the other services just offer 3 meals per week).
  • Change their recipes each week, constantly adding new dishes, so you don’t get bored with the same old recipes.

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Pictured above: Spicy Miso-Glazed Baked Chicken Wings with Purple Rice and Zucchini & Cucumber Salad (<- recipe) – this was one of our all-time Blue Apron faves!

There’s also no commitment with the services – you sign up for a weekly plan, but you can cancel or pause/skip weeks at any time if you are out of town or for whatever reason won’t have time to cook.

This comes in really handy with all our travel!

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Pictured above: Seared Chicken and Caramelized Fennel (<- recipe) – another all-time fave!

So, what are the main differences between Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Sun Basket?

#1 – Price

One main difference is price.

Blue Apron and HelloFresh are a lot more affordable – each meal is $9.99 per serving on the 2 person plan ($8.99 on the family plan for Blue Apron, $8.74 for HelloFresh), and shipping is free. On the 2 person plan for 3 two serving dinners per week, this ends up coming out to $59.94 per week.

HelloFresh does have some “premium” meals, though (things like steak), which add $5 per person to the order if you select those options. I like that with Blue Apron (and Sun Basket) everything is the same price, even steak. :)

Sun Basket is $11.49 per serving for the 2 person plan, and $9.99 per serving for the family plan. There’s also a $5.99 delivery fee each week. On the 2 person plan for 3 two serving dinners per week (or 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts), this comes out to $74.93 per week, so about $15 more per week. Definitely not cheap, and that certainly adds up!

So, Blue Apron definitely comes out as the overall winner on price – it starts out the same as HelloFresh, but they don’t have any “premium” upcharges for certain meals.

#2 – Specialty Diet Accommodation and Meal Selection

One thing I wish Blue Apron would offer is a gluten free option; while some weeks there do occasionally end up being 3 gluten free recipes for us to select, for the most part most of their meals contain wheat, which is why we switched mostly to Sun Basket when Matt needed gluten free meals.

With Blue Apron, they offer a regular and vegetarian plan, but you can mix and match between the meal offerings each week. They used to have a weird restriction where you couldn’t pair certain meals together (like a specific veggie dish and a steak dish), but apparently they just changed that – awesome news. That drove me crazy because we like getting some meat and some veggie meals, but didn’t always want the specific ones they’d let you pair together.

HelloFresh also offers a regular and a vegetarian plan option; they don’t have a special gluten free plan, but they note which of their meal options each week are gluten free (and dairy free and nut free), and you can mix and match any of them/pair anything you want together (although as I mentioned above some include an upcharge if they are “premium”, which is kind of lame).

Regarding gluten free, there were usually 3 gluten free options offered each week from HelloFresh, but no more than that, so that meant if you didn’t like the look of those meals, you were out of luck.

Sun Basket offers paleo, gluten free, and vegetarian plans, and you can mix and match within those categories based on which recipes you like the look of the most.

There were enough options in each category from Sun Basket that you could mix and match nicely and still easily do all gluten free, too, which was awesome.

Sun Basket also offers a breakfast option – you can swap out one of your dinners for the ingredients for 2 fast two serving breakfasts, which is fun, especially if it’s a week where you only want to cook dinner twice.

#3 – Organic vs. Non-Organic

All the services do a great job of offering fresh ingredients that are sourced from quality suppliers and artisans.

That said, if organic food is a priority for you, and you are okay with paying more for it, then Sun Basket is going to be a better option for you because a lot of (not all, but a lot of) their ingredients each week are organic.

#4 — Deliciousness

Obviously this is not an official or scientific measure and is completely subjective, but we found Blue Apron and Sun Basket to have the tastiest meals, with Blue Apron being the overall deliciousness winner.

Between Blue Apron and HelloFresh, I liked the additional variety and flexibility with meal selections that you had with HelloFresh, but we thought their meals were much more basic and boring/bland.

One of the things we love about Blue Apron is that they are really creative and have you using unique ingredients – and their meals are really flavorful and taste like something you’d get at a restaurant vs. just something you’d easily throw together on your own.

That said, Blue Apron can tend to overly portion the carbs and underportion the veggies in some of their meals – we sometimes find ourselves adding extra of our own veggies.

Regarding deliciousness with Sun Basket, we love that all their meals pack in tons of veggies, but sometimes they lacked creativity – a lot of their paleo meals were “protein with a side of sauteed greens”, for example, which was kind of meh, and also had us reaching for cereal an hour after dinner because they didn’t include enough carbs. Opposite problem here!

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A couple other small differences to consider:

Blue Apron offers a wine pairing program!

I love this (well, I did before I was pregnant, anyway – ha) – especially because the bottles are smaller than normal bottles so it’s just the right amount for a weeknight dinner (that doesn’t leave you hungover). Only $10 per bottle, too!

HelloFresh also recently launched a wine program, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t review that. :)

We prefer Blue Apron and HelloFresh’s recipe cards because they have photos of each step of the process. Makes it a little more fool-proof, in my opinion, plus I like seeing what everything should look like. 

Sun Basket just has one finished meal photo on their recipe cards, and recently they started sending whole recipe books with ALL the recipes from the week (vs. just the 3 you received), which we didn’t like because then we were paging through it trying to find our meals. It also seemed like a waste of paper because we wouldn’t use the other recipes.

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Conclusions

We love both Blue Apron and Sun Basket the most for different reasons, as you can tell, and it’s nice to switch back and forth depending on which menus look more delicious each week.

If Matt’s able to move on from the gluten free thing we’ll likely start working Blue Apron into the rotation much more again just to mix it up (we miss it!); for now, though, our Blue Apron weeks have been limited because they don’t usually have enough gluten free options for us to work with.

Bottom line:

If you are looking for an affordable, classic option, I’d go with Blue Apron.

If you have dietary restrictions (beyond vegetarian) or are very passionate about organic food, however, you may want to consider Sun Basket instead.

I hope this post answered questions you guys might have about the three services!

Let me know if there are any other things you’d like to know. 

And now, if you’d like to try out Blue Apron (if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?! meal delivery kit services are THE BEST… we can’t live without them now), the first 25 readers to click here will get three free meals on their first Blue Apron order!

Have you ever tried any of the meal delivery kit services? What did you think?

Comments

  1. 1

    We love Blue Apron too, but you should update this, you can now choose any three BlueApron options, they stopped that weird restriction, and added more meals to choose from. I think they did this 3-4 weeks ago.

    • 2

      Whaaaaat! That’s awesome news!!! We got our most recent Blue Apron delivery just over a month ago (they haven’t had enough gluten free options since that week) and they still had the weird restriction then. Thank you for letting me know – I’ll update the post!

  2. 3

    Thank you for your post! I’ve been on the fence for years about trying it and decided to go for it. My husband really only likes to eat take out/restaurant food or cereal and I hate cooking just for one. So I told him I was ordering this and if he didn’t I like it then I’ll have dinners for the entire week.

  3. 4

    Cool! I will check this out when I move back to the States- foolproof recipes that are interesting with no grocery shopping sounds great to me!

  4. 5

    I always love reading comparison reviews of these services! I haven’t tried Sun Basket yet, but I’ve enjoyed the other two. I totally agree that Blue Apron meals are way more delicious, and just more fun to cook since they have more unique ingredients. If I’m paying that much for my food, I want it to be a step above my regular ‘throw together veggies and meat and spices’ cooking. For me, one benefit of the Hello Fresh meals is that they are way faster and simpler to prepare (and simpler to recreate on your own later)- so that’s the service I usually go for in busy weeks where I don’t want to fuss with so many ingredients (and dishes!).

    • 6

      Totally agree with all of this! Hello Fresh was definitely a bit faster/simpler to make, but they just weren’t as interesting… felt more like things we could really easily make on our own. And a few of them needed some extra spices/flavoring because they were bland as-is!

  5. 7

    I live in Eastern Canada and so far the only meal delivery options we have here is HelloFresh. I’ve been using it for 5 weeks now and I’m really pleased. I’m a single person and needed some help with meal planning and avoiding ingredient wastage so this works. HelloFresh is more expensive here at $80/week for a 3 recipe/2 person Pronto plan. Also, we only have 4 meal options to choose from each week so it’s more limited for sure, but I’m just happy anyone is willing to ship food for Newfoundland. :P I can’t get things like fresh basil here unless the farmer’s market is on the go.

    • 8

      That’s awesome that they are in Newfoundland! I don’t think the others are in Canada at all, but maybe I’m wrong – good to know!

  6. 9

    Thanks for sharing this, I have only tried Blue Apron, and have been really happy with it, but it is nice to see what the other meal kits offer.

  7. 11

    Thanks for the comparison! I’ve always been really, really interested in Blue Apron, but for one person it’s a little bit of overkill. I could get three 2-person meals per week, but I don’t really want to eat them for 6 (or more, if they’re big) meals in a week. I wish they had a single-person plan. I’ve been looking into 80Fresh, which does have a single-person option, but it’s really expensive because of more expensive meals and shipping costs (something like $16 per meal, if you work it all out).

    • 12

      Yeah, I totally agree it would be too much for one person eating solo. That’s good feedback for all of the services that they should offer a 1 person plan – clearly hard to find right now but I’m sure LOTS of people would love it! I haven’t heard of 80Fresh – interesting!

    • 13

      I do 2×3 and find it fine for a single person. Some meals are small enough that I end up eating most in one serving. I typically eat left-overs for lunch and reheat in microwave. So it’s 3 dinners and 2-3 lunches. One thing that’s a pet peeve is they say things like ‘heat water in a medium pot”. Well, how much water and how big is a med pot? Sometimes just waiting for water to boil can take half the time because I’ve over-filled my ‘medium’ pot. How hard would it be to say “boil 2 cups in one quart sized pot”

  8. 14

    Another one to check out is GreenChef. It’s more expensive than BlueApron but it’s all organic. We had a free box I got from a friend and the 3 meals were amazing. We felt like we were eating out! I only do a meal order once a month, so I don’t mind paying a little extra for GreenChef now. They also have gluten free options! I checked my Blue Apron app this AM and I still have the meal restriction/can’t choose any combination.

    • 15

      Oh weird! I wonder if the selection option thing with Blue Apron is being rolled out slowly? I’ve heard about GreenChef but haven’t tried it… seemed like the reviews were really hit or miss when I was researching them online back when I was looking for gluten free meal kits. Good to know there’s another choice for GF/organic though!

  9. 16

    I finally tried Sun Basket back in May (thanks for recommendation). We loved it, every meal was delicious (especially the vegetarian option we tried). I’d like to give Blue Apron a shot too but am waiting until after our move.

    Which service do you find to be the most complex? Like most steps in the recipe? I learned a couple of cool new cooking techniques from the Sun Basket recipes and am wondering if Blue Apron will be similar?

    • 17

      Hmmm they are pretty similar in terms of complexity and cooking techniques, I think! I feel like Blue Apron has more often had ingredients we’d never heard of, but Sun Basket gets creative as well (I had never tried poaching salmon in coconut milk, for example, and a few of their recipes did that).

  10. 18

    You will absolutely love this service post baby!!!!! We did the Hello Fresh family plan 3x/week so for the 2 of us I squeezed 6 meals out because the grocery store with a newborn was a nightmare and I didn’t have spare energy to meal plan. I loved the flavors and uniqueness of Blue Apron but my garbage disposal husband didn’t like the portions ;) haha. Hello Fresh though was also SO MUCH CHOPPING! Loved this post!

    • 19

      Thanks my dear! Yeah, considering I can’t handle meal planning without a baby… I’m sure I won’t be able to handle it with a baby either, ha! Definitely planning to continue using meal delivery services – they are the BEST.

  11. 20

    I’ve tried Blue apron, Sun Basket, and Home Chef. You honestly should try out Home Chef! The price point is competitive and I find the meals to be really tasty. Thanks for your review and happy cooking.

  12. 21
    Bellamy Pailthorp Bray says

    Thanks for this review! Do you have any notes on packaging? We’re mostly using Sun Basket, which seems to try for low impact in that regard, but sometimes their smaller spice containers have popped open en route, which was a real drag. How do others do in terms of functionality and sustainability- in your opinion?

    • 22

      They seem to be similar in terms of packaging/sustainability efforts! Blue Apron sends all the ingredients (except for a little paper bag of “knick knancks” – small items- for each recipe) separately, though, so it is nice that Sun Basket and HelloFresh both package the ingredients together for each recipe so you just grab one bag/box from the fridge vs. sifting through all the ingredients.

  13. 23

    This is so interesting, haha. My favorite part of Sun Basket is that they send you all the recipes! I feel like because I’m spending more than HelloFresh (the other service I’ve tried), it’s awesome that I get more recipes, and I can switch out the ingredients I shouldn’t eat with ones that I can.

  14. 25

    I had done Blue Apron for awhile and just got my first Sun Basket box. I tend to gravitate towards their recipes that have more creative ingredients… I ‘m blessed to have two grocery stores within a block’s walk of home, so I tend to avoid recipes that I could easily make myself. I was actually delighted when I opened my box and got a recipe booklet instead of individual cards because there are recipes I’ll make (I’d actually printed some online and was annoyed at how hard it was to print!), so it’s like getting a small cookbook every week.

    Also, because I’m just cooking for me (and I’m female), I liked the portion sizes better from Sun Basket and I liked the ability to choose the number of meals I was getting from week to week. With Blue Apron, I was finding that the portions were just a little too big and I’d add some veggies to make them three portions instead of two. Which, great, except then I had to figure out how to get everything eaten within a week when I don’t cook/eat at home every night.

    Lastly, I’ve recently gone pescatarian for health reasons, and their options for seafood/vegetable based recipes is outstanding! I’m hooked!

  15. 26

    Thank you so much for this excellent comparison. I recently had my fourth baby (!) and menu planning has never been my favorite. :) We have only tried Hello Fresh so far, and I have wanted to check out some other options. I found your blog and this post after searching for vegan meal plan options. We don’t currently eat vegan, but I was curious to see what is out there as I would love to eat a more plant-based diet. I have also been GF in the past, so I appreciate the points in your comparison. Have you heard of Purple Carrot?

  16. 28
    Cyndy Dennison says

    Hello Fresh does not have upcharge for any meals. I have used IF for over 2 years, and have never ever paid more for any meal with steak, or salmon, or anything else.

    • 29

      They actually do – I paid an additional $5 per serving for lobster ravioli a couple of weeks back – I’d attach a screenshot of the menu a couple weeks out but not sure I can. Not every week has upcharge meals and it’s not all fish or steak but definitely some. And the lobster ravioli was AMAZING!

  17. 30

    We tried Hello Fresh and like you, thought their recipes were super basic and bland, and since we eat out a lot, basic isn’t what we get excited about anymore. We moved from Hello Fresh, (Goodbye!) to Blue Apron, but their Gluten Free recipes were almost always paired with the meat options before a GF vegetarian option. My husband is a pescatarian, he eats fish but not meat, so Blue Apron (at the time) allows you to pick One fish and two vegetarian options, 2 out of three vegetarians options are a sandwich, a flat bread, a noodle dish or made with flour tortillas, so you were pretty much stuck with at least one but usually two Gluten heavy meals in a three meal box. Almost every Blue Apron meal relied heavily on carbs: Potatoes, Bread, Noodles, Rice, or Flour Tortillas. Although Blue Apron had the easiest recipes and best flavors, we had to quit because of the gluten/carb issue and when they were transitioning to their new location we received box after box of damaged items or borderline fresh veggies that were not going to last 3 days and meal planning was suddenly based on what was going to rot first. We realized that Blue Apron seems to have about 4 months of recipes, we were repeating identical dinners from previous months. After taking a break from box meal delivery for a year we’re trying Sun Basket, the hubs chose the first group of recipes and the first was a gluten free noodle and mushroom pasta, it was also Vegan, so it didn’t taste great. Although Vegan CAN taste great, you just have to put some thought into it which Sun Basket apparently did not. The sauce was almond milk that never thickened like it should have and was served with spinach tossed with olive oil and too much lemon juice. It tasted more like a punishment than dinner, and we both agreed that we’d skip their vegan options in the future. If Sun Basket continues down the same road, we’ll probably switch back to Blue Apron unless the carb fest continues to reign. Maybe we need to call the Brady Bunch and see if we can hire Alice?
    What I did like very much about Blue Apron, along with their well thought out and flavorful meals, was the message board, so if you waited a day or so you could go online and get tips from other home chefs on what to add or not add to assure success with your recipe.

  18. 31
    Fred Andersen says

    Based on your comparison/recommendation I’ve decided to go with Blue Apron, which you indicated in your review had free shipping, along with Hello Fresh. But when I went on the website to order, I’m seeing a $7.99 shipping charge. Has something changed?

  19. 34

    A friend recommended Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. I don’t eat meat but like practically everything else including seafood. My husband would like to have at least some meat every week. We both like to keep things simple. Suggestions? Thanks!

    • 35

      It sounds like both could be a good fit… Hello Fresh meals are more simple than Blue Apron, but I think Blue Apron meals are tastier and more creative. If I were you I’d do a week with both and see which one you like most!

  20. 36

    Marley Spoon (Martha Stewart) is another really good service.

  21. 37

    My husband and I signed up for Blue Apron about a month ago. So far we’ve liked all of the meals, with only minor complaints about two. I chose their Weight Watcher’s Freestyle option to keep calories down, though I don’t follow Weight Watchers. There are a number of meal options to choose even just within that option.

    Next week I’ll be trying Hello Fresh. Obviously I can’t judge the taste of the meals yet, but when reviewing the options, there were many fewer low calorie options to choose between. I also disliked that so many required extra cost. Some options were things like fancy looking pizza and burgers. That’s not exactly what I’m looking for, frankly. I’ll try them for a few weeks and see how it goes. I may even trial a third outfit afterwards.

    Blue Apron’s app is much more user friendly and helpful than Hello Fresh’s, in my opinion. I even sent Hello Fresh that feedback a few days ago and never received an acknowledgement from them. The main difficulty I had with Hello Fresh’s app is being able to see the ingredient list in a way to determine the ease in eliminating garlic from meals. My husband is allergic to garlic. With Blue Apron, it’s easy to find this info. With Hello Fresh, that’s only available when the choices are already being processed. Too late! This is a big deal.

  22. 38

    I’ve ordered from Hello Fresh and been charged 8.99 shipping for each order.

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  1. […] did Sun Basket for awhile in the meantime (you can see a detailed comparison of the two services in this post) and really enjoyed it, but lately their recipes have been getting stale (seriously every week over […]

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