Overall Score: Excellent

The mostly healthy recipe offerings at HelloFresh and their consistently “very good,” taste scores made it the top-scoring meal delivery service in our tests.

In our review of a month's worth of recipes from HelloFresh we found that it offered more dishes that could be considered traditional fare than other services we tested. Our tasters felt some of HelloFresh’s recipes would appeal to less adventurous cooks who prefer more basic recipes (they thought the Blackened Tilapia with Crispy Potatoes and Blistered Veggies had “fresh individual components but lacks originality”). Taste trumped simplicity though, with our testers rating each of the six recipes “very good,” and noting “well blended flavors” in a few of the meals, such as the Pork Teriyaki with Basmati Rice and Asparagus and the Mediterranean Butter Bean Salad with Feta and Black Olive-Sherry Vinaigrette.

HelloFresh’s dishes got high marks from our dietitians, too. On average, the recipes were the lowest in fat content (tie with Green Chef), calories, and sodium among the five meal delivery services in our tests. There were some exceptions, though. For example, the French Onion Soup Burger with Bechamel, Caramelized Onions, and Kale Chips weighed in with 43 grams of fat and 18 grams of saturated fat. Unfortunately, whole grains were absent in the entire week’s worth of meals we tried. (Rice and potatoes, including one dish with sweet potatoes, were common sides.) And a few were shy on the veggies. For example, the Pork Teriyaki with Basmati Rice and Asparagus had 9 asparagus spears for two people.

HelloFresh edged out the other services by a hair in our ease of preparation evaluation. The company claims you can cook "delicious dinners in 30 minutes or less." However, three of the six meals in our tests required more than the estimated cooking times and two of them—both celebrity chef recipes—took 45 to 50 minutes, about 15 minutes longer than the estimated cooking time on the recipe card. The offenders: the French Onion Soup Burger from Paul Denamiel (owner of Le Rivage in New York City), which was more complicated than most of the other recipes, and Jamie Oliver’s South Asian Chicken Curry with Fluffy Rice.

We liked the fact that you could see estimated cooking times and difficulty levels for the recipes online before ordering (as well as potential allergens), but it would have been nice to have a photograph of every step in the recipe as some of the other services do. If you click on the recipe you can also see the nutrient profile and any extra ingredients you should have on hand, so HelloFresh makes it easy to plan your meal around time and dietary concerns. 

How We Tested

Consumer Reports evaluated five meal kit services that deliver nationally: Blue Apron, Green Chef, HelloFresh, Plated, and Purple Carrot. Using our secret shoppers, we ordered every meal (except for one from Green Chef) available in each service’s two-person plan during a week in May, for a total of 27 meals. The weeks were chosen randomly and the type and quality of offerings were assumed to be reflective the service overall. Ingredients were examined upon arrival and weighed to compare what was received with the ingredient amounts listed in the recipe.  

Our food-testing team then prepared the recipes in our test kitchen without using any special equipment. A panel of professional tasters sampled every dish. Our dietitians scrutinized the nutritional content for the dishes and reviewed the available nutritional information for a month’s worth of each service’s meal options. Meals that were at or below 670 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 770 mg of sodium were considered to be healthier based on one-third of a day’s nutrition for a 2,000-calorie diet. To further assess the healthfulness of the meals, we considered portion size, whether they contained healthful ingredients such as legumes and whole grains, and roughly estimated the amount of vegetables per serving to assess the healthfulness of the meal. Overall scores are based on nutrition, taste, ease of preparation, time it takes to get the meal on the table, price, variety, and ingredient freshness.

Nutrition information is from HelloFresh and is based on one portion of a recipe.