I think I can help!
I LOVE TO COOK! Ever since I discovered Pinterest about 4 years ago I have become really passionate about finding new recipes and cooking dishes I had never tried before. I also feel very strongly about raising my daughter to be an open-minded eater and be willing to try (and hopefully love!) flavors from around the world. After pinning thousands of recipes (and actually making hundreds!) I was burnt out on spending tons of money on unique spices and ingredients when I only would use them for 1 recipe. So that is when Blue Apron came into my life and I fell in love!
Then a few months ago there were a couple weeks when I wasn’t crazy about the weekly menus on Blue Apron so I decided to try Plated. Since then I have been switching between the two depending on whose menu I like better that particular week.
Here is the breakdown:
Blue Apron’s box comes full of beautiful ingredients, all fresh and seasonal. It’s a little like Christmas as you start taking everything out of the box! Everything is in individual packages and are labeled. They are not divided up by recipe, so if you are like me, you look at the recipes and start organizing the ingredients so everything is grouped together and then load up your fridge. My favorite part is that you really feel like you have your life together when your fridge is stocked with fresh produce so bonus points for that haha!
Blue Apron meals aren’t super difficult to make, but some of them do have some pretty heavy prep. It is definitely for people who enjoy cooking. I tend to be a little messy when I cook so there have been some nights where I have 3 dirty pans, a dirty cutting board and multiple dirty utensils which can be a little much after a long day at work. But the beautiful result at the end makes up for it! One main differentiator in my opinion is that Blue Apron really seems to focus on making a gorgeous plate and provides plating tips.
I have made hundreds of Blue Apron recipes at this point (check out my Instagram page for pictures of some of my favorites!) and I would say 95% of them get two thumbs up. They do a great job of giving the home chef unique recipes, with ingredients and flavors you may not normally try out.
Blue Apron is less expensive than Plated. For 3 meals for 2 people it is $59.95 ($9.95 per serving), this includes shipping. The serving sizes are great, and all meals seem to be between 500-700 calories.
To me the biggest downside to Blue Apron is that you can’t really choose your menu each week. You do make you selections of what you eat (beef, pork, chicken, vegetarian etc…) so your menu is customized based on those preferences, however if you want to switch out 1 meal they don’t give you a lot of options.
One new choice they do have is WINE! You can add a monthly wine subscription that will pair with your Blue Apron meals for $65.99. I haven’t tried this service because it is a mix of red and white and I only like red, plus they are “specially sized bottles for 2”- and personally I have never had issues finishing a normal sized bottle “for 1” lol.
Overall, I love the uniqueness of the recipes and the usage of ingredients I wouldn’t typically buy or even find at a typical grocery store. Also you really do feel like a chef with the beautiful plating and planning that goes into creating these meals. For $9.95 a serving I think it is a great value, way less expensive than going out to eat and also much healthier.
The Plated box is a little different, it still comes in one large box, but Plated has already divided up everything for you and bundles everything for the individual recipes. It definitely makes for a quicker unpacking process, but it also takes a bit of the fun out of it.
Overall I would say that the Plated meals are easier to make than Blue Apron’s. They seem to be designed to be made in one pot or pan for the most part. Most Plated meals take around 30 minutes, Blue Apron is closer to 45 minutes in my estimation.
As a trade off for taking less time and effort I have also noticed that the Plated plates do not come out nearly as pretty. The food tastes good, it just isn’t as aesthetically pleasing and for an Instagram obsessed person like myself, that matters:)
Plated is more expensive, 3 meals for 2 people is $72.00 ($12 per serving), this includes shipping. Still cheaper than eating out, but I haven’t noticed Plated’s ingredients being of a higher quality than Blue Apron’s so I am not sure why the cost is so much higher.
They also have plus up options, which of course cost more money but for example for $8 you can add one dessert to your weekly order.
So which one should you pick? For me, I am sticking with Blue Apron 80% of the time because of their pricing, the overall quality of the food, and because their dishes are more Instagram worthy. However, when Blue Apron has combinations I am not as crazy about I will happily use Plated. In fact this week I forgot to skip one of them and received both haha- lots of cooking in this house!
My daughter, who is 11, loves these meals as much as I do. Using these services has absolutely broadened her palette. I was already exposing her to different foods in restaurants, but I love that I now do this at home.
I really do believe these services are the way to go if you love to cook and love trying new dishes. Also I feel very strongly about cooking with all fresh and seasonal ingredients for my daughter, so this is the perfect solution for me.
Both Blue Apron and Plated offer free week trials frequently via their existing customers. I am constantly given free week trials to share with friends so if any of you would like to try either Blue Apron or Plated please leave your email in the comments and I would be happy to send you one!
Which subscription meal plans have you tried? Would love to hear your feedback!