(Updated on 2/21)
Home Chef is a middle priced meal kit service furnishing easy-to-cook meals catering to all-American tastes. It’s a solid choice for people who want to get something tasty and not overly complicated on the table. It’s reasonably priced and some of the dishes are very good.
I have now tried Home Chef at least three times, and I’ve enjoyed it while I’ve had it. However, the meals are pretty boring all in all. It’s best for easy-to-make meals at a reasonable price.
Home Chef offers quite a lot of flexibility with their plans. They have kits for 2, 4, 6 or 8 people and you can get from 2 to 6 meals a week. Most meals cost $10 per serving (or $20 per kit), with more premium offerings from $12-16 a serving (and occasionally more). In most cases you can substitute the protein in your kits for an additional cost – needless to say, the default proteins are usually the cheapest.
Meals costs around $10-$13 per person per meal (so 3 meal kits for 2 a week will cost you $60-78), with some more expensive premium offerings. Shipping is now free, but there is a minimum order of $49.95. Home Chef also offers entree salads for around $7, as well as extra proteins for a price.
Home Chef is now selling their kits at some Kroeger supermarkets.
Like other services, Home Chef provides incentives for signing up. Use this link to save $35 off your first box – if I’m subscribed when you order, I might get a credit towards an order. Note that there may be better offers out there.
Home Chef offers up to 15 meal kit choices weekly, including at least 3 vegetarian options. They don’t offer vegan options – unless the vegetarian kits just happen to be vegan. They don’t cater to any specific diet either.
The meals tend to be slightly upscale versions of basic modern American food. They include burgers, pastas, rice bowls, tostadas, flatbreads and baked chicken/salmon/pork chops with vegetable & starchy sides. Few of their recipes have exotic ingredients.
Home Chef is now offering the ability of slightly customizing some recipes by substituting the protein with another choice (for example, getting ground pork instead of beef strips or ground turkey, or getting a smaller amount of antibiotic-free chicken instead of regular chicken). This should give some flexibility to people who simply don’t like some proteins. Note that protein change often incurs an additional charge.
Premium meals, which might include steak, shrimp or other more expensive ingredients, are offered at a higher price.
In addition to traditional meal kits, which include raw ingredients that you cook and combine – Home Chef is now offering kits that include a mixture of raw and prepared ingredients and are easy to put together, many of these are just items you put into an included baking tray and then put in the oven.
The quality of the ingredients I got was pretty good, but Home Chef does not specialize in sending organic ingredients.
While I enjoyed the meals I got from Home Chef, it’s not my choice for a long term service because the choices just don’t seem very exciting to me. Plus as most of their meals don’t usually require exotic ingredients, I can make them at home using my ingredients for less.
The Shipping & Delivery
Home Chef scheduled meals to be delivered at my house on Tuesdays. They can arrive between 8 AM and 9 PM, so you are better off not planning to cook them that night. Personally, I prefer kits that arrive on Monday to give me more flexibility as when I cook them during the week – I don’t like to get to the weekend and feel rushed to cook a meal kit before it goes bad.
The PackagingHome Chef sends its kits in a standard cardboard box. They have two varieties of liner, one made from PET foam that apparently can be put in the recyclables bin, and the other made of recycled cotton which has to be thrown in the garbage. The ice packs are made from water and salt, and you can throw them in the garbage or open them, put them in some container to evaporate, and then throw the waste in the garbage.
Most of the ingredients for the meals come in zippered plastic bags (though beware that the zippers break easily). The meats, however, are between freezer packs. This is a handy way of keeping all ingredients together – though it does mean either refrigerating them all, or taking the ones that don’t need refrigerator out of the bags.
The oven trays Home Chef uses are recyclable
With your first order, Home Chef sends you a folder and recipe cards come pre-perforated so that you can keep them in it.
These are some of the Home Chef meals I made:
|Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Bolognese with Parmesan
Put ingredients in tray and bake.
|BBQ Cheddar Meatballs with Bacon Potatoes
Make meatballs, put in tray with potatoes & bake
|Chicken Thigh Shawarma Wild Rice Bowl with Tzatziki Sauce
Assembly in tray and bake
|Creamy Truffle Steak Penne with Cheese and Garlic Croutons
Cook beef and heat cooked penne
|Texas-Style Steak on Toast with smashed red potatoes and red onion gravy
A very good meal.
|Parisian Bistro Bone-In Chicken with dauphinoise potatoes and Vichy carrots
Really, really delicious. I’ll make it again.
|Jerk Steak Tacos with caramelized pineapple slaw
I wasn’t fond of the jerk sauce, but liked the slaw.
I also made one meal using my own ingredients:
This was more like baked chicken with mashed potatoes, mushrooms and wine sauce, but tasty enough
All in all, I’ve been with the service. Cancelling was very easy and quick, it’s done online. Home Chef preserves your account, so that it’s easy to resubscribe again. Home Chef’s offers some incentives to resubscribe. Twice they e-mailed me giving me a $10 credit – which they seem to be adding to the $10 credit I already had (which has not gone away!). More recently, they offered me the same deal they are offering new subscribers: $20 off per week for four weeks. Alas, when I looked at their menu I didn’t find much that excited me, so I decided to re-subscribe to HelloFresh and alternating it with Blue Apron for a month or so. I will make more Home Chef recipes to get a better feel for the service, however.