Over the course of a couple of months, we selected and reviewed some of the most popular meal kit subscriptions that we could find.
Two of those services were Blue Apron and Sunbasket. Blue Apron is well-known and has been around for quite a while, but Sunbasket is relatively new.
We understand that choosing one of these services can prove difficult and confusing since you aren’t really sure what to expect.
This is why we’ve created a comprehensive guide to help you pick the right one for your family. Here’s our honest review of Blue Apron and Sunbasket.
We ultimately chose Blue Apron as our favorite because they’re the cheaper choice and their food was tastier than Sunbaskets.
- Blue Apron vs Sunbasket
- About Blue Apron
- Ease of Ordering: More Complex Than We’d Hoped
- Meal Options: Lacking Customization
- A couple of recipes we liked from both surprise kits and pre-planned kits were:
- Recipe Cards: Spot on
- Packaging: Excessive but Effective
- Recipe Difficulty: Easy to Follow & Simple
- Taste & Nutrition: Delicious but Not Nutritious
- Advantages: Cheap
- Disadvantages: Lacking Options
- It’s definitely not ideal for long-term ordering.
- About Sunbasket
- Ease of Ordering: Straightforward
- Meal Options: Decent Selection
- Recipe Cards: Sufficiently Detailed
- Packaging: Unimpressive
- Recipe Difficulty: Easy to Follow
- Taste & Nutrition: Nutritious but Flavorless
- Advantages: Healthy
- Disadvantages: Lacks Value and Flavor
- There’s certainly not a lot of added value with this meal kit subscription.
- Final Thoughts
Blue Apron vs Sunbasket
Since there are literally dozens of meal kit services on the market today, two of which are Blue Apron and Sunbasket, it can be hard to choose which one best suits your family.
You have to take into consideration what each service offers and how it can benefit your lifestyle. If you’re gluten-free, you should choose a subscription that offers a gluten-free meal plan.
With that being said, here’s everything you need to know about these two meal kit services.
|Service||Serving Sizes||Price||Meals per Week|
|Blue Apron||2, 4||Starts at $7.49||2-4|
|Sunbasket||2, 4||Starts at $9.99||2-5|
About Blue Apron
Blue Apron has been around since 2012. They are a meal subscription service that caters to those looking for more upscale-casual versions of various dishes.
We thought that it was fit for individuals who are just learning to cook as opposed to those who have already mastered some basic culinary skills.
It’s also ideal for taking a break from the frustration that comes from meal planning.
We thought that Blue Apron lacked some of the options that Sunbasket offered such as what can be avoided and special diets for those who are gluten-free or diabetic.
However, there are two-dozen meal kits that change each week. This is great for those who don’t want to eat the same thing every week.
Ease of Ordering: More Complex Than We’d Hoped
The signup process for Blue Apron is simple. All you have to do is set up what you want your weekly meal kit to consist of, serving sizes, and preferred proteins.
You can order between two and 4 servings per kit and two to four meals per week. You can change these options anytime you want to.
As with most other meal kit services, you can’t choose your meals until you’ve signed up for their subscription.
This is kind of frustrating because if they don’t have any meals you like, you’ve essentially signed up for a service that you won’t benefit from.
You can order up to six weeks in advance and can skip deliveries, add another box, change delivery days, and ship to an alternate address.
The only areas they don’t deliver to are Hawaii and Alaska.
Additionally, you can either choose your meals every week and all of your preferences or you can run it on autopilot and Blue Apron will choose everything for you based on your preferences.
The only thing we didn’t like was that only the meal kits are available through a subscription and we had to manually order the Butcher Bundles.
Meal Options: Lacking Customization
For Blue Apron, there are 14 meal choices each week for the two-serving kits. For the four-serving kits, there are half as many.
We found ourselves getting pretty busy one week and decided to put our account on autopilot and were presently surprised at how well they did when choosing our meals for us.
There is a great mix of styles, flavors, and ingredients.
We were pretty disappointed in the lack of customization that Blue Apron offers. There aren’t many kits that could be modified.
So we couldn’t really swap a simple protein or starch. There are even fewer modifications for the bundles and add-ons.
This is why we think that omnivores would like this kit more than vegetarians or keto-diet individuals.
A couple of recipes we liked from both surprise kits and pre-planned kits were:
1. Togarashi scallops
2. Jalapeno burgers with goat cheese
3. Calabrian shrimp
4. Veracruz-style shrimp
5. Cashew Korma-Braised chicken
Our favorite was the Togarashi scallops because the taste was wonderful and it was an easy dish to complete.
Recipe Cards: Spot on
The recipe cards that came with our kits were simple to follow, well-detailed, and concise.
If you have any issues with them, you can go onto their website or app and watch videos that show you certain techniques such as zesting citrus.
There’s also a cookbook on the app that’s organized by main ingredient, seasoning, or even style of cuisine.
When we compared these to the recipe cards that came with Sunbasket, they were less than adequate.
Packaging: Excessive but Effective
Blue Apron’s packaging is excessive, to say the least. The box is large and there’s a silver insulating bag on the inside.
At the bottom of the box are two large cold packs that are filled with a drainable gel that can also be used as nitrogen-based plant food. The gel is also safe to be tossed down the drain.
Most of the ingredients we received were placed in plastic bags, especially the veggies.
Proteins were packaged as they would be in a store, but some were packaged in another layer of thick plastic to avoid leakage.
The sauce components were also wrapped individually and labeled as “Knick Knacks”. Even though the outer bag was a tad excessive, it still kept everything well-protected.
Recipe Difficulty: Easy to Follow & Simple
Blue Apron offers a good balance between convenience and complexity. All of their recipes are generally easy to follow, even when they were more complex.
The togarashi scallops were perfectly cooked the first time even though scallops can be easily messed up.
The recipes required simple kitchen gadgets such as pots, pans, baking sheets, cutting boards, a chef’s knife, and aluminum foil.
You will also need to provide salt, pepper, and cooking oil. However, not a lot of skill is needed to complete the meal preparation.
We found that Blue Apron isn’t for experienced cooks if that’s what you’re looking for. You won’t learn much and the instructions are a little tedious.
Taste & Nutrition: Delicious but Not Nutritious
Blue Apron’s dishes are tasty and wholesome with a wonderful blend of veggies, carbs, and proteins.
There were even some whole grains in a few of the recipes. The calorie count of the meals was between 480 to 1100 calories per serving.
Unfortunately, only a small number of meals were labeled as “Vegetarian”, “WW Approved”, “Diabetic Friendly”, “Carb Conscious”, etc.
The meals we got weren’t the most nutritious, but they also weren’t excessively rich. It was a decent compromise between nourishment and hedonism.
If you’re health-conscious, this may not be the best meal kit service for you.
Starting at around $7 per serving, this is a cheap meal kit service compared to some of the others.
It’s well-suited for smaller families that are looking to take a break from meal planning. This service also ships to more areas across the United States than Sunbasket does.
Disadvantages: Lacking Options
This isn’t a good meal kit service for those who are looking to eat healthily.
There aren’t as many meal options for those who may be on a paleo or keto diet, gluten-free, or diabetic. We found that the ordering process was more tedious than we would prefer.
It’s definitely not ideal for long-term ordering.
Taste: Most of the meals have a great taste to them when compared to Sunbaskekt
Recipe Cards: Generally easy to follow, although some find them to be tedious
Complexity: The recipes are easy to follow
Price: Starting at around $7, this is one of the cheaper meal kits
Nutrition: The meals that come with the kits aren’t very nutritious
Serving Sizes: The servings are good for smaller families, but not recommended for large groups/families
Meal Options: There aren’t as many meal kit options as there with other services
Sunbasket is a relatively new company with meals that are healthier than your average meal delivery service.
They don’t use a lot of refined carbs, there’s a decent calorie count, and they offer a lot of organic veggies.
They offer a large selection of add-ons, complete single-serving dinners that are already prepared, and offer many dietary profiles.
In our experience with Sunbasket, we were pretty disappointed with the lack of flavor from a lot of their meals and they’re extremely pricey.
However, since they do offer so many different dietary profiles, it may be a service some individuals would benefit from.
Ease of Ordering: Straightforward
Ordering from Sunbasket is pretty straightforward.
The first question they ask you is whether you want their “Fresh & Ready” heat-and-serve meals or regular meal kits.
Next, you’ll be asked about your diet, preferences, how many people you’re feeding, and how many meals per week you would like.
You can choose between two and four people and two to five meals per week. This is just one day more than Blue Apron. You can change these settings at any time.
Once you’re signed up, you will get a box containing your preferences each week.
You can choose whether to have Sunbasket choose your meals for you or you can set your preferences each week. It’s much like Blue Apron’s autopilot feature. Additionally, Sunbasket delivers to fewer areas than Blue Apron.
They don’t deliver to Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, or North Dakota. Shipping is $9.99 per box and you don’t get free shipping unless you order $90 or more in products.
Meal Options: Decent Selection
As of March 2022, there are 17 meal kits and 26 Fresh & Ready choices available each week.
There are selections such as Black Angus rib-eye steak, Japanese curry udon, and Sichuan mapo tofu, and there are breakfast and lunch options as well. These are classified as add-ons.
You can choose your own meals or accept Sunbasket’s selections based on what you chose as your dietary preferences.
If you want to make your own selections, you have to do so on Wednesdays at noon PT.
Each box can hold up to eight items, but you can order as many boxes as you want, but you’re limited to eight orders of any one kit or Fresh & Ready meal.
All of their boxes are meant to serve two people, so if you want to feed four people, you have to order two kits.
All of their Fresh & Ready kits serve one person. We did find that the portions are generous and a two-serving kit is probably enough to feed two adults and a young child.
As opposed to Blue Apron, Sunbasket is more flexible when it comes to choosing proteins.
Some dishes allowed us to select from almost a dozen options such as fish, poultry, beef, lamb, and plant-based proteins such as tofu.
Some of our favorite meals were:
- Memphis BBQ cheeseburgers
- Black Angus steaks
- Coconut shrimp
- Salmon and farro bowls
It’s pretty unfortunate that even though these dishes sounded delicious, they were actually lacking flavor.
The farro bowl contained apricots that completely lacked flavor.
Additionally, the green goddess dressing was pale greenish-yellow as opposed to the vibrant green shown in Sunbasket’s photo.
Recipe Cards: Sufficiently Detailed
Each meal kit has a foldout recipe card with instructions, a photo of the meal finished, a list of ingredients, nutrition information, and even a tip and fun facts on some of them.
The instructions are easy to follow and color-coded. Prep steps are in purple, preparation is in red, and there are directions for the various protein selections that we made.
Overall, we found the recipes to be well-written, detailed, and easy to follow, more so than Blue Apron.
You can even turn to their app to see all of their recipes, the recipes for your orders, and any favorites that you may have saved.
There’s also a Tips and Techniques section. However, they aren’t linked directly to your order, so we needed to do a little digging.
The packaging in these meal kits wasn’t as excessive as Blue Aprons, but we thought that it could have been better.
Sunbasket determines what type of insulation the meal kits get depending on the local temperatures of where it’s being delivered.
This was kind of strange to us because generally, our spring temperatures are around 45 degrees, but it was almost 70 degrees the day our kit was delivered.
Our box contained the lesser of the two, which is paper insulation as opposed to the heavier shredded denim cotton in the plastic liner.
There were four ice packs in our box. These ice packs are essentially plastic liners filled with a blend of water and cotton fiber.
Inside the box are the proteins and meal bags. The proteins are sealed in plastic and one of ours had leaked.
Brown paper bags hold the remaining ingredients for the kits. They are in various forms of plastic such as small screw-top jars, clamshell containers, and LDPE bags.
Recipe Difficulty: Easy to Follow
What we liked about Sunbasket is that they label each one of their kits to indicate how much pre-preparation the ingredients need.
The speedy ingredients are labeled as ready in 20-minutes or less.
Pre-prepped meals indicate that you won’t have to chop or measure and the meal only requires three steps to prepare.
Even the standard kits with no labels are generally simple. The most we had to do was chop some veggies, cook a protein, and maybe prepare grains.
Some of the more complex recipes require up to an hour of work.
We found that the kits came together nicely and quicker than the estimated time.
None of our recipes had more than four or five major steps and only one recipe too longer than 30-minutes, which was the steak with Brussel sprouts.
All of the meals were prepared with just a pot, frying pan, and mixing bowl or two. We did have to use our own salt, pepper, oil, and sugar.
Taste & Nutrition: Nutritious but Flavorless
We won’t lie and say that their meals were delicious.
We found a lot of them to lack flavor. For a meal service that starts at $9.99, you would expect their dishes to explode with flavor. Unfortunately, they don’t, but it’s not for a lack of trying
Their meal kits are packed with high-quality ingredients such as lean proteins, organic veggies, and whole grains, and don’t contain a lot of calories.
The dishes range from 350 calories to 880 calories. The salmon and farro bowl had the most calories.
A lot of our meals fell into the gluten-free and carb-conscious categories. If you’re concerned with nutrition, this is the only area where Sunbasket excels compared to Blue Apron.
This meal kit is best for those looking to eat healthily and who may have certain dietary restrictions.
Additionally, if you’re just learning how to cook, their easy-to-follow recipe cards are wonderful.
Disadvantages: Lacks Value and Flavor
For the price, we don’t think this meal kit service is all that great. They’re more expensive than most others and their dishes lack the flavor that Blue Apron excels in.
There’s certainly not a lot of added value with this meal kit subscription.
There’s certainly not a lot of added value with this meal kit subscription.
Nutrition: Sunbasket certainly offers a lot of nutritious meals and options, more than Blue Apron does.
Meal Options: There are a lot more meal options and dietary categories than Blue Apron has.
Recipe Cards: Their recipe cards are easy to follow and even the most beginner cooks can interpret them.
It Lacks Flavor: We were extremely disappointed with the lack of flavor in a lot of their meals, especially for the price.
Value: There’s little value to be had with this service.
Packaging: The packaging really had us scratching our heads. It wasn’t ideal, but still did what it was supposed to do for the most part.
We really wanted to like Sunbasket because of their great choices of dietary needs and high-quality ingredients, but the price and lack of flavor steered us away.
We really liked Blue Apron a lot more even though they don’t have a lot of meal options for those with special dietary restrictions.
Overall, Blue Apron takes the cake because they’re cheaper and all of their meals are packed full of flavor. We highly suggest Blue Apron if you’re a family of four looking to take a break from meal preparation headaches.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nancy do it, no judgment here) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.