Have you ever thought about trying one of those meal delivery services you see on TV and all over the internet? Have you wondered: is Home Chef worth it? In May of 2016, we signed up for Home Chef and have never looked back. This is our honest (non-paid, non-sponsored) review.
Signing up for Home Chef via the links provided in this post will provide you with a $30 discount on your first order and us with a $30 credit for a future Home Chef order.
Home Chef is a meal delivery service that was founded in 2013. When you place your order, you pick out the meals that look appealing to you and your family. Then, on your scheduled delivery day, a box filled with the pre-portioned, fresh ingredients will arrive for you to cook up your choices!
Oh yes, that’s right. With Home Chef, you do the cooking.
…but that’s what makes Home Chef such a great choice for busy moms! Instead of having to labor over menu options for new and creative ideas for the dinner table, you can hop online and scroll through the online weekly menu. Pick out what you’re ordering and BAM – a few days later, everything you need is there in front of you.
This has saved me a ton of time when planning out our weekly menu, because I have several days of the week already scheduled on my menu board for Home Chef recipes.
AND! You’re not eating pre-made, frozen meals. The ingredients are fresh and recipe-ready. These are delicious options that you picked and that you get to create right in your very own kitchen.
First, you’ll head to the website to create an account. (Heads up: You always have the option to view the menu before creating an account – just click “our menu” at the top!)
Then, you get to peruse the choices for the upcoming week to decide which recipes your family would enjoy:
Our family typically orders 2 servings of 3 meals each week. That adds up to $59.70 with free shipping.
We’ve found that the kids aren’t too interested in the Home Chef meals (we’re still living in grilled cheese and PB&J land), but the 2 servings is more than enough to share small portions with them. Many of the Home Chef options we choose are flavorful, so the kids might take a taste or two, but they wouldn’t be up for a whole serving.
For us, the cost is worth every penny because it means we aren’t spending time searching for the perfect recipe or shopping for each ingredient. We also don’t have to buy full portions of things we will only use once. (I mean, when your recipe only calls for 2 tsp of tomato paste, you don’t need a whole can!)
It’s also cost-effective, as it keeps us from getting carry out more often. In our experience, the Home Chef meals are about half as expensive as eating out at a restaurant. We pay $20.00 per Home Chef meal (for 2 servings), but probably closer to $40.00+ when we go out to eat. Of course, we have some super cheap household staples, as well. Spaghetti or Burrito Bowl? Those are a lot closer to $5.00 (or less) a serving! So, for us, Home Chef kind of sits in the middle.
…and that’s exactly where we feel it should be. We find the quality of food provided by Home Chef is top notch. We look forward to the meals each week, because they are delicious. But, since I do have to physically prepare them, it makes sense that we wouldn’t pay as much as we would at a restaurant.
Home Chef recently released the ability to customize MANY of their meals each week. This is an option to switch out the meat source specific to each recipe. For example, the Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato and Asparagus Rigatoni can be customized by adding USDA Choice Sliced Flank Steak for $4.99 a serving; Shrimp for $3.99 a serving; or Diced Chicken Thighs for $1.99 a serving. Of course, you can always leave the recipe as is – but it’s great to be able to switch things around based on personal preference.
Each week, there is at least one oven-ready meal option that is perfect for a quick fix! These meals come with super simple directions and the pan is included. If you don’t have a lot of time for meal prep one day, but still want a home-cooked option, the oven-ready meal is a great way to go!
We have tried two of these oven-ready meals so far. One of them was so-so, but we super enjoyed the Jalapeno Popper Chicken Breast with Crispy Onion Potatoes.
The Home Chef Express choices are some of my favorite, because they can be made in 15 minutes or less – but they don’t compromise on quality! These are my go-to meals on karate nights, since I know we need something super satisfying without a lot of time. You’ll still use the stovetop and a cutting board, but your prep time will be seriously cut down.
Around holidays (or maybe when the Home Chef team is feeling happy), you’ll see some Premium Meals pop up as an option. These include “fancier” meats and will have an upcharge because of it. (One of the upcoming meals is a Bistro Filet & Truffle Frites, you see?) They can range in price, but the highest I’ve seen is $19.95 a serving. Since I’m still the one cooking the meal, this is too high for me to justify – so we haven’t tried a premium meal, but I’m sure they’re delish!
These quick-and-easy options are….quick and easy. (Ha.) No, really. There is minimal prep work (maybe cutting a veggie or microwaving some chicken) – and then you put it all together. There also are no sides involved and the meal is a bit less satisfying. The price is right at only $7.99 a serving, but we have been less than impressed. In a pinch, the 5 Minute Lunches would be alright if you worked at an office, but since my husband and I are both home full-time, we can always whip up something more appealing during that lunch rush.
If you’re heading out of town or just don’t love the upcoming menu, it’s super easy to skip a week of Home Chef. Just log-on to your account and find the calendar in the sidebar on your left. Click on the delivery date in green that you want to skip. The week’s menu will pop up. Scroll down to the bottom and click “Skip This Delivery” in red.
You must cancel a week by 12pm EST on the Friday BEFORE the following scheduled shipping day. Basically, be sure to cancel by Friday!
Just an FYI: Skipping several weeks in a row won’t cancel your account. Instead, click on “My Account” in the top right corner of the screen. Then, head to “Account Information” and “Delivery Details”. You’ll see in bold red the option to pause your account. Click that and away you go!
When I took on a new job a in 2017, I had to pause our Home Chef account because I had NO TIME for anything. It took me 2 seconds – and, fortunately, things calmed down and I was able to get started back up!
Should you ever have any trouble with your order or delivery, you can quickly get a resolution through the Home Chef team by emailing them at Support@HomeChef.com. We have had a couple of instances with icky produce or one unfortunate encounter with leaky shrimp, but they quickly made it right. I highly recommend communicating any troubles you may have with them directly and letting them help you!
Your food will arrive packaged in a recyclable cardboard box made with insulated liners and non-toxic gel ice packs. (It was super neat to learn that all of the packaging was made to be recycled! If you live near a facility that recycles plastic bags, you can even return the produce bags and ice packs when you are done with them. For more information, head here.)
On the very top of your box will be your recipe cards for the meals you chose. One side will have a beautiful picture showing you the finished product WITH some nutrition information. You will have access to calorie counts, carbohydrates, protein, and sodium. (It might not be the full panel, but it’s a great start for those of us keeping an eye on things.)
And the other side will have the detailed instructions.
If, for some reason, your recipe cards were ruined in transit, you can always grab your recipes online or via the Home Chef app.
Fun detail: Your first box just might include a special place to store these little recipe cards!
Then, each meal’s ingredients will be packaged in their own bag – with the meat separated and stored in a bag of its own. (Assume the meat bag is at the bottom of your cardboard box. Do not dispose of said cardboard box until you have found the bag of meat!)
Once you get into the swing of things, your Home Chef account has a lot of neat features. (And there’s even an app, if you prefer using your phone!)
You can go in and rate each meal you receive via “My Cookbook” – and this is also where you can look up your favorite past recipes! We love to find our 5-star favorites to see which would be worthwhile to make on our own at home.
Also, with time, you can earn FREE BOXES to send to family and friends, so they can try out Home Chef for themselves!
This week, one of the recipes we made was the Black and Blue Steakhouse Risotto. It was scheduled to take between 50 and 60 minutes, and that is exactly how long I spent in the kitchen. Most of the recipes seem to be around 25-35 minutes in length.
Here is our menu card.
The detailed instructions on the back.
And the ingredients in the bag.
The ingredients out of the bag.
During the initial prep stage at the cutting board.
And while cooking up the onion.
And, finally, mixing up the spinach into the polenta.
Lastly, the finished dish.
For our review, we decided to give this recipe 4 out of 5 stars. It was incredibly flavorful and delicious. In our perfect world, we would love some more mushroom in the recipe. But overall, it was a definite win.
In the end, we absolutely love Home Chef. It has been part of our weekly meal planning since May of 2016 – and we will continue to order through them for as long as they deliver the good stuff!
Is Home Chef worth it? For our family, absolutely!
If you want to give Home Chef a try, you can sign up with $30 off your first order! This link is my referral code and we will also earn a $30 credit back to our Home Chef account. My family thanks you in advance! 😉
Katie Johansen is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with her M.A.Ed in Children’s Literature. She spent 6 years as an elementary school teacher in South Florida before transitioning to stay-at-home #momlife. Now, it’s all things PB&J – with an extra large cup of coffee on the side.