February 9, 2018

Home Chef Review: Is It Worth It?

Read more about Home Chef
This article contains references to products from our partners. We may receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

Home Chef delivers fresh ingredients and recipes to your door. But it could get pricey. Is it worth it for your family? Read on.

Almost half of Americans claim to hate to cook. For many, it's due to a lack of time to put together a half decent meal. Perhaps because of this phenomenon, meal delivery services have taken over the radar.

One name you probably hear quite often is Home Chef. Founded in 2013, Home Chef delivers more than 1.5 million meals to doorsteps each month. The perfectly portioned ingredients and colorful recipe cards have wanna-be chefs trying new things.

Is it the right service for you?

What Is Home Chef?

Busy families often resort to frozen food or takeout. While it's convenient, it could be unhealthy and costly. Enter Home Chef, the answer to the desire for a home cooked meal in under 30 minutes. This home meal delivery service promises fresh ingredients delivered to your doorstep with delicious recipes even the novice can prepare.

Home Chef delivers all of the ingredients necessary to create your chosen meals. However, they don't provide common staples, such as cooking oil, salt, and pepper. You can skip meal planning, grocery shopping, and recipe hunting. Home Chef works with high-quality food suppliers and professional chefs to deliver the best ingredients and tastiest recipes.

    Home Chef

    $30 Off Your First Home

    New customers only. Limit 1 per household. Free delivery with orders of $45 or more.

How Home Chef Works

You can sign up for Home Chef in a few simple steps. You'll provide your email address, food preferences, shipping, and payment information. Based on your preferences, Home Chef then suggests meals for you. But you can choose from the more than 11 options each week based on your family's desires. This offers a great opportunity to try something new. Many families try meals they would otherwise never eat.

You can choose your menu on a weekly basis as long as it's by the deadline. But Home Chef also sets their menus 5 weeks in advance. If you like to plan, you can know what you'll be eating for the next month or so. Their site has a countdown to let you know how many days are left to order from a specific week's menu. Once the deadline hits, the menu is no longer available. However, you can still access their recipes for a few months.

You can also choose to add on smoothie ingredients and/or fresh fruit baskets. You choose the number of servings and the items are added to your order.

Once you choose your meals, Home Chef ships the fresh ingredients and recipe cards right to your doorstep. You get to choose the delivery date so you know when it will arrive.

Once you receive your order, you simply unbox the desired meal and follow the recipe steps. Take note: you'll find a list of "extra" items you need, such as olive oil, salt, and pepper, at the top of the card. You'll also see any special notes titled "Before You Cook." This alerts you of any steps you must take before you start cooking.

Each step in the cooking process is broken down into simple instructions and includes pictures. They even offer a "proper plating" picture so you can replicate the look of the meal as you would see it in a restaurant.

Who Benefits the Most from Home Chef?

Home Chef isn't for everyone, but many people do benefit. If you are too busy to cook anything but frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets or you are sick of takeout, it could be worth a try.

However, if you are the type who follows a strict budget or uses coupons religiously, you might find the price a little much to handle. Home Chef charges customers by the number of servings ordered. However, the smallest quantity you can order is 2 servings. Because they charge per serving, you don't get a price break with the more people you feed.

If you were to shop for the ingredients yourself, the price per serving may decrease with the more mouths you feed. You can either buy in bulk or purchase items on sale. At Home Chef, it could cost as much as $60 for one meal to feed a family of six.

But, for some, the price is worth it. Even though you might spend as much as you would on takeout, you get much higher quality food and the satisfaction of preparing it yourself.

If you have a little time to spend in the kitchen, but less time to meal plan and grocery shop, this service may work well. Keep in mind that while you receive fresh produce and meat, you still have to do a little preparing. Many recipes require you to slice vegetables, chop nuts, and season the meat. Typically, it's nothing too time consuming, but something you should keep in mind.

    Home Chef

    $30 Off Your First Home

    New customers only. Limit 1 per household. Free delivery with orders of $45 or more.

What Are Your Choices?

Home Chef offers a large variety of options even for those on a strict diet. When you sign up, you can specify any allergies or preferences you have.

After entering your email address, Home Chef asks you a variety of questions:

  • How many meals would you like sent to you each week? (Choose 2-6)
  • How many people will you cook for? (2, 4, or 6)
  • Do you prefer meat, seafood, vegetables? You can choose one, two, or all three options.
  • Do you need a low-calorie or low-carb meal plan?

You can then choose to omit any of the following:

  • Pork
  • Soy
  • Red meat
  • Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Shellfish

Based on your preferences, Home Chef offers a variety of menu options. A few examples of past meals offered include:

  • BBQ-Rubbed Chicken and Cheddar Mac
  • Greek Panko-Crusted Cod with vegetables
  • Sirloin Steak with Balsamic Sauce and Potatoes
  • Spaghetti and Ricotta Meatballs

The Pros and Cons of Home Chef

Having fresh ingredients delivered to your doorstep with step-by-step instructions may seem like a dream come true and for some, it is. However, you should know the cons before deciding too.

Pros

  • The recipes are very easy to follow, even if you are not a self-proclaimed chef.
  • You can personalize the options to meet your dietary needs.
  • You can pick and choose the number of meals each week or even skip several weeks at a time.
  • Possibly waste less food, as only the necessary amount of fresh ingredients come in the box.
  • Recipes are categorized by difficulty.

Cons

  • You should be home when the food is delivered, as it's chilled only with standard ice packs.
  • The dietary restriction options don't include vegan or heart-healthy diet options.
  • Single-member households must pay for 2 servings of any meals they order.

How It Compares

Home meal delivery services are quickly on the rise. While Home Chef has been around for almost 5 years, others are popping up all over the internet. They all offer the same idea - fresh ingredients to make restaurant-quality meals in your own kitchen. A few of the options outside of Home Chef include:

Blue Apron
Blue Apron offers a subscription service. You get a box each week unless you cancel your subscription. You choose from the "2-Person Plan" or the "Family" plan. The 2-Person Plan allows you to choose 2 or 3 recipes per week. The Family Plan allows you to choose 2, 3, or 4 recipes per week. They do offer vegetarian plans, but only for the 2-Person Plan. They specialize in unique recipes with new cooking techniques to keep even the most experienced cook learning new things. However, Blue Apron meals tend to take longer to prepare - some even take up to 90 minutes.

Plated
Plated works much the same as Home Chef. You choose your meals from week to week. You can skip weeks, stop delivery altogether, or order as often as you want. They have more than 20 recipes to choose from at a time. They also offer dessert recipe options. You receive most of the necessary ingredients outside of the standard staples you probably have at home. Plated allows you to mix and match the number of servings you get for each meal. This allows some flexibility for entertaining or nights when not everyone will be home for dinner. The food from Plated is often very unique or gourmet, and the recipes can be complicated or time consuming.

Hello Fresh
Hello Fresh provides farm-fresh foods with the option to choose a meat/seafood or vegetarian plan. They also provide a weekly subscription, but you must choose between a plan for 2 or 4 people and 3 or 4 recipes per week. Based on your preferences, Hello Fresh provides you with 15 new recipes to choose from each week. By default, they choose your meals for you, but you have the flexibility to change them if desired. Hello Fresh is a good choice for those who prefer "standard" recipes rather than the more "gourmet" options from other subscription services.

Bottom Line

Home Chef is among the many meal delivery service companies vying for your grocery dollar. They are among the easier meals to prepare, yet they don't lack in sophistication. They are among the services that offer the most options for those on a restricted diet. If you're looking for an alternative to convenience food, this is a great option. You'll create a warm, home-cooked meal for your family with fresh ingredients that will not go to waste.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

More from CreditDonkey:


How to Save Money

Infographics: Grocery Shopping Plan

How to Save Money on Groceries


Average Cost of Food Per Month

More Articles in Reviews


August
14
2018

HSBC Online Savings

Are you tired of abysmal interest rates on your savings accounts? Maybe you've even abandoned the thought of a savings account because it just doesn't seem worth it anymore.
More Articles in Reviews




About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.