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We recently tried out Home Chef, a meal kit delivery service. These services have been immensely popular lately and there are now several companies that offer this type of subscription. Pricing, meal selection, and delivery options vary depending on which company you choose, so hopefully as you are reading Home Chef reviews, this one will help you make an informed decision if you're in the market to give one of these services a try. When you're finished reading, please leave me a comment and let me know if you've tried Home Chef and tell me what you thought!
HOW MUCH IT COSTS
- The meals start at $8.99 per serving, and the minimum weekly order value is $49.95 (updated 3/8/21)
- Add-ons such as a seasonal fruit basket and a smoothie kit are available at $4.95 per serving, and each order serves 2. (Updated 3/8/21 - add-on availability and options have changed, check Home Chef's current menus for most up to date add-ons)
HOW THE FOOD IS ORDERED
- You can fill out preferences via your profile in your account to include or exclude ingredients you like or dislike.
- Each week a different selection of meals (15+) are available. There are options available such as calorie conscious, vegetarian, carb conscious, and Oven Ready meals. (updated 3/8/21)
- "Protein Packs" are available that contain a collection of raw proteins that you can use as you wish. Options include items such as chicken breast, ground turkey, ground beef, salmon fillets, ahi tuna, and a variety of steaks. Contents in the available protein packs change each week and start around $60 each. (updated 3/8/21)
- There is a Customize It feature available on some dishes that allows you to substitute the protein included in the dish. The options available are based on what fits the individual recipe. (updated 3/8/21)
- In October 2020, Fast and Fresh options were added that require no prep and can be microwaved in less than 5 minutes (they can also be heated up in the oven)
- Oven Ready meals are available, which come with fresh pre-portioned ingredients in an oven-safe tray. (updated 3/8/21)
- Home Chef is not a certified allergen-free facility because ingredients are packaged in the same facility and are packaged together in your box.
HOW THE FOOD IS DELIVERED
- You can choose the day of week for your deliveries, so you know when to expect them.
- Delivery day options may vary depending on your location.
- Deliveries can be skipped or edited, but changes must be received by 12pm(CST) on the Friday prior to the scheduled delivery day.
- Boxes can be left on your doorstep without a signature (though I personally would recommend being home so you can inspect the ingredients and store them ASAP)
- Boxes are shipped lined with insulated material and ice packs to ensure the ingredients stay fresh during transit.
READY TO TRY HOME CHEF? GET STARTED HERE
WHAT WE ORDERED
We ordered Roasted Salmon with Ginger-Scallion Sauce, Patio BBQ Steak Sandwich with Grilled Corn, and we added on the addition of a seasonal fruit basket and a Strawberry Fields smoothie kit. There were 2 servings of each item in our box. The total for our order was $59.60 with free shipping.
HOME CHEF DELIVERY DAY
My box arrived in the afternoon on Friday, the day I selected for delivery. The box was lined with some insulated material and there are 2 layers of frozen ice packs. When I opened it up I noticed some moisture and condensation. When I removed the piece of cardboard shown in this photo I found that the top layer of ice packs had completely melted and ingredients directly under the ice packs felt just on the cool side of room temperature. This was surprising to me since I was at home at the time of delivery and the box was brought inside immediately.
There was a 3-ring binder with pre-punched recipe cards for the meals that I had ordered. I thought this was a nice touch and an easy way to keep the recipes organized from each meal box in case you want to repeat the recipes in the future using your own ingredients.
Under the recipe cards the ingredients for each meal were grouped into separate bags, which I appreciated. This made it easy to quickly grab only the ingredients I needed out of the fridge. The packaging used is recyclable.
Under the bags was a second layer of ice packs that were still semi-solid. There were containers of "frozen sliced strawberries" that were mostly melted, but were still sealed and had not leaked. Under the ice packs were the raw proteins - beef and salmon. There were no ice packs under the proteins, just the insulated box lining, and the bottom of the box felt warm from the hot August weather.
At this point, I contacted Home Chef customer service and let them know what I had encountered with my box, and asked if they thought the ingredients were still safe to use. The representative who responded to me was prompt and friendly. He said that if the ingredients were below 41 degrees they were safe to use. Obviously, I did not have a way of measuring the exact temperature of the meat and by the time I contacted customer service I had already moved all of the ingredients to my refrigerator, rendering the temperature a moot point anyway. I told the rep that I had no way of knowing for sure if the meat and fish had gone bad other than the sniff test and "Well, it looks okay..." The representative apologized for the trouble and immediately credited my account with the same amount that the first order was worth.
We inspected the ingredients and decided that the meat still seemed fresh enough and that we would press on and prepare the meals, though we did decide to not feed the proteins to our toddler out of an abundance of caution.
This was the box labeled as the seasonal fruit basket. I was disappointed to see that the box containing the fruit had taken quite a beating during shipment, and it was damp from the condensation coming from the melted ice packs surrounding it in the shipping box.
Inside I found 2 pears, 2 apples, and 1 orange. The fruit itself didn't show signs of damage from shipping. We consumed it over the course of a couple of days and found it all to be good quality and quite tasty, though at ~$10 for this add-on, too expensive for the amount of fruit you get.
Our first meal was Roasted Salmon with Ginger-Scallion Sauce. I appreciated that the meal was incredibly simple with few ingredients and not too much prep work. The garlic arrived peeled and the fresh ginger was already chopped.
The salmon was shrink wrapped in individual packages.
The salmon looked and smelled completely fine despite the questionable packaging, so I felt more confident as I prepared the fish per the recipe's instructions, searing it in a skillet and then finishing it off in a hot oven.
The finished meal was delicious! There was a lot of flavor in the ginger-scallion teriyaki glaze and it tasted amazing spooned over the roasted salmon. There was an additional step to create some scallion curls for garnish on top of the fish, but we didn't care much about making things pretty - we just wanted dinner - so we stuck to slicing the scallions and mixing them in with the glaze.
The beans were prepared simply by cooking them for just a few minutes in a hot skillet with garlic and ginger, so they retained some crisp. It may be my new favorite way of working with fresh green beans.
The second meal was Patio BBQ Steak Sandwich with Grilled Corn and Herbed Butter. Here are all of the ingredients, save for a few pats of butter that I left in the fridge when taking the photo - oops!
I should mention that when gathering the ingredients for this meal I noticed that we had been sent 2 bags of items for this meal by mistake. There was the correct amount of protein, but we ended up with double of everything else (4 rolls, 4 ears of corn, etc). I guess if there's going to be an error with the order, having too much of something is better than not having enough.
Prep work for this meal was also quick and simple, and included peeling and slicing the onion, chopping the parsley (and mixing with the butter), and shucking the corn. The instructions stated to slice the rolls, but our rolls arrived pre-sliced, which was nice.
Everything in this meal was cooked on a grill or a grill pan. As we are currently sans grill, I pulled out our trusty Lodge grill pan (seriously, everyone needs one of these in their kitchen). But you can also use traeger pellet grills to achieve that perfect char-grilled texture outside.
One advantage we would have had if we had a working grill is that preparation would have been even faster if we could have grilled everything at the same time. Instead, I turned on the warmer on our oven and transferred the ingredients in there after they were grilled so that everything stayed warm. It worked great.
There's nothing fancy about this meal, but it didn't need to be fancy... it was incredibly filling and you can't go wrong with BBQ grilled steak, onion, and cheese on a toasty bun spread with parsley butter. All of the ingredients were good quality, the corn was crisp and sweet and was a pleasing side dish.
At just over 800 calories per serving (each meal contains 2 servings) you could easily cut the sandwiches and corn in half and feed 4 people. It's a nice value for the money.
And one more money shot, because it really was a pretty and colorful meal.
The last item to try was the Strawberry Fields Smoothie, another of the add-ons available. The smoothie selections vary depending on the week. Each bag of ingredients makes a large batch of smoothie that will serve 2 people. My smoothie contained Greek yogurt, a fresh pear, canned pineapple juice, and frozen sliced strawberries. All of that gets blended together with some ice.
There was also an "error" with the smoothie ingredients, as I only ordered one but was sent 2 bags of ingredients (so 4 total servings). But again, I was fine with that error since it ended up in us having extra ingredients instead of not enough.
It was a really delicious smoothie. I followed the instructions and used the recommended amount of ice and the consistency was perfectly smooth with just enough frothy thickness. Though the smoothie was yummy, at almost $10 for one batch (2 servings) I have the same opinion as I do about the seasonal fruit basket add-on... it's a bit pricey.
IS HOME CHEF WORTH IT?
WHAT WE LOVE
Home Chef has one of the best and most diverse selections of recipes that we've seen so far from a meal kit service. Each week there are so many delicious options that it is hard to choose which ones to have delivered. I found it helpful that the full nutritional info is available for every meal before orders are placed so I can make sure they fit within my calorie needs for the delivery days.
The meals themselves are a great value - some lower than most restaurant meals.
The portions are generous and preparation is fast and fuss-free.
All of the food tasted amazing and the ingredients were good quality despite the melted ice packs and condensation in our box.
Customer service was friendly and their responses were prompt.
WHAT WE DON'T LOVE
The smoothie and fruit basket add-ons are pricey at $9.95 each (2 servings) In the future we will stick to only ordering the meals.
There were errors with our order resulting in extra ingredients. Though this time that works out in our favor, I hope that any future orders won't go the other direction and have ingredients missing instead.
Packaging needs improvement. The boxes should be better insulated and an extra layer of ice packs should be added under the proteins at the bottom of the box, especially when shipping during the warm months. Customer service was receptive to my comments about the packaging.
WANT TO READ MORE? I just reviewed Home Chef's new FASTER AND SIMPLER meal options with almost no prep required! CLICK HERE TO READ REVIEW.
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We were provided a trial to share our reviews of Home Chef with all of you. We do not create sponsored posts in return for a fully positive review. Remember our motto: if it sucks, we'll tell ya!
About green chef. I appreciate all the details about making a meal. The information that you gave about unpacking what's most important because of you said you didn't know if the food had spoiled or not and you called the red. I also appreciated seeing all of the pictures of the food included. I also appreciated that you included the cost of everything you paid you get the food Thank you
Thanks so much for your comment!
This is a very great and resourceful site!
I was quite disappointed with home chef so called oven ready meals, from freezer to oven. Nope. Nothing was put together. I spent over an hour peeling, scrapping, chopping, measuring, seasoning, browning, searing, etc. nothing arrived frozen. I called customer service and they said the service was for people who wanted to practice their cooking skills and be better chefs. I told him that’s not what the ad says. He said the from freezer to oven meals are something offered by Kroger. So these ads are all false advertising. Don’t waste your time or money. It’s just not worth the hassle.
Very poor, most of the meals are incomplete, the dish will lack any veggies or not include any kind of starch, rice or potatoes. The enchiladas meal is just three lack lustre enchiladas with so little cheese, there was nothing accompanying the enchiladas. I have used Hello Fresh and Good Food, both are 10 times better. I have canceled after 2 weeks of there service, it just isn’t worth it!
My family has ordered other meals from 4 other companies. Nothing compares to Home Chef! The meat is so tender a knife is barely needed! We have used the service for a few months now. We enjoy the variety. There has not been one meal that we have not loved. We will continue to use Home Chef!
I’m shocked no one mentions size portions. My husband is 6’7 and I’m 5’2. While portion was ok for me - his portion left him hangry. He would need double the portion. Ingredients were not very fresh. Recipes great but not really worth it. PCkage half thawed on arrival.
Just received our first order this Friday. I have ordered from Home Chef in the past and was satisfied, however this time I was disappointed. I noticed on the Tracking info that my order was packed some time on Tuesday for a Friday deliver. Which we received late afternoon. The items were barely cold when we got them and the ground beef that was included was gray; I'm not sure I want to use it. The green beans for that same dinner were old and some were mushy. I will probably throw out the whole thing. The second dinner was steak, potatoes and broccoli and that dinner was good although again I was concerned about the meat being that it too was barely cold when we got it. I wonder if they are having trouble getting items and orders shipped during this corona virus pandemic. Perhaps they are unable to keep up with the demand. I will continue ordering a couple more weeks to see if it is any better.
I had the same issues with the ice packs no longer being frozen as well as my food was delivered a day late. Upon contacting customer support i got no answer. I left 2 different reviews which were removed within the hour. I also complained about getting the wrong meal which had allergens in it that i couldn't consume. Upon going back to my order they had simply sent an entire meal wrong.
In the end my wife and myself did eat the steak meal because it didn't have any telltale signs of having gone bad however we both got sick from the food. Again upon attempting to get ahold of a representative i got no answer so i emailed and as of now 2 weeks later still have not received any response from them. The 2 other meals were chicken and upon opening the chicken was completely rancid.
None of this may have been a problem if it had been delivered on time as someone was home on the scheduled delivery day but we found the box sitting on our front doorstep a day late in the sun on a day that nobody was home to receive the package.
I’ve been doing Home Chef for about 3 weeks now and have been very pleased with it so far. I’m surprised to hear that your ice pack temperature was nearly room temp as our boxes have all been quite cold and well insulated. However today we did receive a bag of diced chicken that was open.
Otherwise almost all our meals have been very flavorful, easy to prepare and with high quality ingredients. I would not however recommend their “express” meals, we got one or two that were kinda bland.
All in all it’s very convenient, fun, and a treat to come home to at the end of a crazy day!
I have had several shipments from Home Chef and there has been poor quality produce in every box. At first I thought maybe it was just that the shipping service had mishandled the package. But that turned out not to be the case.
I have been sent cauliflower that had a strong odor and turning brown, bruised pablano peppers, damaged zucchini on two occasions, and wilted, browning green onions.
It's really a shame because the other ingredients and recipes are of good quality.
The first occasion that I received bad produce, I called customer service and received very generous credits to my account and was hoping that future shipments would be better.
I started avoid ordering the produce that I had issues with. But most of the produce I received from Home Chef was of poor quality and I have decided that it's just not worth the cost.
Thank you for sharing your experience, Merrie!
It's a joke. Ice paks melted. One steak that I was instructed to cut into two for purpose of 2 6oz steaks
I also do really enjoy home chef. Great menu and prices. But I do also like Hello Fresh. I have compared both of them. Here it is https://www.mealkitadvisor.com/home-chef-review
We tried Home Chef and found the food to be of good quality and flavor, but ended up cancelling any future orders until they improve their packaging. Our first delivery was literally hot and our second would have been if we had not been home when it was delivered. They refunded us for the first delivery, but wouldn't give us the same discount on our second delivery, even though it was technically our first.
Quit being lazy and just go to the damn grocery store.
We've been enjoying Home Chef meals for about 6 months now. I have skipped a couple of weeks because we had plans and wouldn't be home to prepare and eat them. I've had no problems with my orders at all. The ice packs are still frozen when the package arrives, and sometimes it sits on my front step for a little while before I get home. Then again, it's not real hot here yet and not sure if I'm planning to order much in the summer because it gets pretty busy and we're not always home for regular meals! I can't think of one of the meals that we've prepared that we didn't like! They have all been wonderful and given us great ideas for making our own...especially the veggies! All the meat has been so moist and tender, and the flavor can't be beat. It's funny because about the only think you use it olive oil and salt and pepper!
Overall, we are very happy with our experience with Home Chef and plan on continuing to order from them. We've wanted to try other companies but we've been so happy with Home Chef!
Just received our first order from Home Chef last week. I brought the box is right after it was delivered and found only one, still mostly frozen, ice pack in the box, at the very top. The meat at the bottom was between cool and cold, which was disconcerting to me. If I hadn’t been there to bring it in, would it have gotten warm by then? The food was very tasty and I also appreciated how it’s separated out for each meal. I am not sure about the cost. $20 is high for two pork chops, 3 carrots, and some mushrooms, but with the convenience and the recipe....I’m on the fence.