HelloFresh recipe box review
Thinking of signing up to leading recipe box subscription service HelloFresh? We put it to the test, covering the quality of the ingredients, recipes and delivery experience, as well as value for money.
HelloFresh recipe box in a nutshell
Pros: variations of cultural cuisines with exciting flavours, 'rapid recipes' that are speedy to make, requires few utensils and pans
Cons: plastic waste; difficult quantities when cooking for three people; prep time doesn't change depending on how many people it's for; wordy, long instructions; no handles on a heavy box when delivered
Overall rating: 3.7/5
Read about how to sign up to the HelloFresh recipe subscription box
What is HelloFresh?
HelloFresh began as a company that aimed to provide people with the chance to cook hassle-free at home using fresh ingredients. The mastermind behind the venture was chef Patrick Drake, formerly of the prestigious Fat Duck restaurant, who started writing recipes and sending them out from his house. The premise of the company may have stayed the same, but they now offer variations of the boxes to suit different needs, such as 'healthy', 'family' and 'rapid' options to truly cover all bases, with vegetarian options available too.
HelloFresh recipe choices
After specifying 'rapid recipes', I was disappointed to see that were only three quick recipes under 20 minutes available to order. Though there is limited choice overall, these dishes change weekly, so if you signed up for a HelloFresh subscription, there would be variation in the long run. There are special diet options available – you can choose a low-calorie meal plan – and I also had the option to state whether I had any dietary needs.
Is HelloFresh healthy?
With a variety of recipes encouraging fresh, home cooked meals, it's fair to call HelloFresh a healthy option. Most recipes appear to be a good balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fresh vegetables. If you're struggling to cook for yourself and instead relying on a lot of ready meals or highly processed foods throughout the week, these meals would definitely be a step in the right direction.
How many recipes do you get with HelloFresh?
In one delivery I received four dishes: za'atar chicken, gnocchi bolognese, pork & feta orzotto and beef & pork picadillo. The main issue was that on the meat recipe, the small print on the packaging said to use it within two days. I wanted to cook the beef picadillo on the third day, and was disappointed to realise that it had gone beyond its best-before date, so double-check these before planning your week.
What are your first impressions of the delivery?
First impressions of the box were promising. There were lots of fresh ingredients and all were clearly organised and labelled.
What do you get in a HelloFresh box?
In the box, you receive numbered recipe cards and corresponding bags of ingredients. You also receive a cardboard box that is well insulated with ingredients to store in the fridge. Ingredients were high quality, all in date and appeared to be extremely fresh.
Are refrigerated ingredients kept sufficiently chilled in the packaging?
My initial concern was that on a hot day, the food may have spoilt by the time I returned home; however, the chilled items were sufficiently packed with several ice packs and were well insulated. The box of chilled items contained the meat and dairy, which made it easy to put them all in the fridge at the same time, despite the bulkiness of the packaging. If you have a small fridge, it may be easier to decant the ingredients. On delivery, I noticed the recipe cards stated to refrigerate certain vegetables that weren't in the chilled package, so without reading the tiny bullet point, you would not necessarily know to go into the individual recipe bag and put particular ingredients in the fridge.
What are the delivery options?
I have a busy schedule, so I loved that I could select a specific day for the box to be delivered. You can't allocate a time, so because I was not in, the package was left on the doorstep.
How much packaging was there?
The packaging was a bit excessive overall – for example, the dried herbs had their own small plastic pots. On the other hand, the fresh vegetables were stored in brown paper bags with no or limited unnecessary plastic packaging, which is positive.
Does it offer good value for money?
Yes, considering you get all the ingredients and recipes delivered to your doorstep, without needing to already have any other ingredients. This makes the cost worthwhile in my opinion.
How easy are the recipes to make?
All dishes were easy to assemble and didn't require many pots or pans. The instructions were clear and precise, although they were sometimes a little wordy and included steps that weren't essential. However, these would be useful for a beginner cook.
Is there any food waste?
In the box I received, there was some leftover ingredients after cooking. For example, one recipe required using 1½ of two packets received, and didn't say what to do with the other half. Therefore, it's possible there could be some waste if you aren't sure how to use up the leftovers.
What are the finished recipes like?
It was a good range of both vegetarian and meat-based dishes, all tasted delicious, varied in cultural origins and were made with high-quality, fresh ingredients. The portions were substantial and didn’t leave you hungry. Aside from oil and the occasional garlic clove, nothing else was required from kitchen stores.
How many people does a HelloFresh box serve?
Annoyingly, despite ordering a box to serve three people, I had to check the quantity of each ingredient to see whether I was adding the correct amount. This is due to the way the portions are bagged up. For example, two people required one bag, three people required a bag and a half, and four people required two bags.
In my case, they sent two bags, so I had to double-check how much to use for three servings, despite it specifying on the HelloFresh website that they send the 'exact portions you need to cook the recipe, so there is zero waste'.
What utensils did you need to use to make the recipes?
All the standard utensils were used, and they didn't require anything out of the ordinary. I needed strainers, pans, whisks and wooden spoons.
Who would the product be most useful for?
It would be best for people who want to eat fresh food but don’t have the time to plan and find recipes or go food shopping to buy the individual ingredients. Due to the variation of different meals for specific people, such as families and those on the go, it's useful for a wide range of households.
What's your favourite thing about HelloFresh?
Overall, the best thing about HelloFresh is the ease of creating a recipe from scratch with all the items you need, plus the fact that they change repeatedly so you are eating seasonal ingredients.
What are the subscription terms?
HelloFresh is easy to cancel. You can do so online with no hassle – it also gives you the option to skip a week.
Ease of cooking 4/5
Quality of the finished recipes 4.5/5
Quality of ingredients 4/5
Value for money 4/5
Discover how to sign up to the HelloFresh recipe subscription box
This review was last updated in September 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.