Kitchen & Cooking

Picky eaters rejoice—Home Chef's new feature is a game-changer

"Customize It" allows you to swap proteins in your meal kit.

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For busy couples and families looking to get a homemade dinner on the table every night, meal kit delivery services can be a gift from above. They help you spend less time grocery shopping and meal prepping and more time actually enjoying your night with the people you love—that is, if you don’t have a picky eater in the group. While most of our favorite meal kit services offer a variety of dinner options every week, no service has ever really tailored to those who want the freedom to customize individual meals to their liking.

Enter Home Chef. Already our top-performing meal kit delivery service after 3 months of comprehensive testing, the brand recently introduced the “Customize It” option, which allows subscribers to swap proteins for over half the dinners offered each week.

How does the ‘Customize It’ option work?

Home Chef Customize Steak
Credit: Home Chef

Home Chef has integrated the “Customize It” option directly into their existing online menu. Meals that are able to be customized are marked clearly with an orange logo, and when you click the “Customize It” dropdown menu below the meal, it reveals the different options available for that meal.

Some meals allow for swapping an entirely new protein in for another for free, while others allow for upgrades to more premium cuts of meat for an additional price. It doesn’t appear to allow for swapping a non-meat protein like tofu into a meal that isn’t already vegetarian. While we’re not huge fans of the added fees that deviate from Home Chef’s standard $9.95 per serving price, these new prices are clearly presented and completely optional—nothing sneaky about it.

Home Chef Customize Lettuce Wrap
Credit: Home Chef

Kids don’t like pork? Swap in boneless chicken thigh instead for this week’s Korean Noodle Bowl. Mom wants antibiotic-free chicken breast? Upgrade to the premium cut for $1.99 per serving. These options give couples and families a lot more flexibility in how they eat, without deviating from the organized menu and clear recipes we’ve come to expect from Home Chef.

Other new features from Home Chef

In addition to the “Customize It” option, Home Chef has unveiled two new features to its offerings: a line of oven-ready meals, and a brand new Fresh and Easy plan. We haven’t tested either feature yet, but will update this article once we do.

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Oven-ready meals are exactly what they sound like: Dishes that require no additional cooking outside of the oven. They are easy to cook and come with an oven pan, meaning you don’t need to dirty up any pots and pans. A new oven-ready meal has been added to each weekly menu on Home Chef, but for now, the options are still pretty limited—as the line continues to expand, Home Chef users will have more oven-ready options to choose from.

Additionally, Home Chef has also launched a new brand called Fresh and Easy, which comes with an assortment of oven-ready, grill-ready, and dinner salad meals. Each selection is easy to prep and cook, and—be still my heart—there is limited clean-up. The downside with this new service is that it’s an entirely new product. Current Home Chef customers would need to sign up for the new plan to access these meals.

Why we love Home Chef

Home Chef Customize Kitchen
Credit: Home Chef

Unlike a lot of products we test at Reviewed, a meal kit delivery service isn’t something you buy once and use for years to come—it’s a subscription that gets factored into your monthly budget, asks you to make choices each week, and changes how you cook, eat, and spend time with your friends and family. As a result, choosing which service is right for you is a major decision—and a personal one.

Making that choice isn’t easy, though, as you have to weigh cost, meal options, ease of use and more, so testing each service could take months and absorb hundreds of dollars. Thankfully, I did it for you. After trying 11 different services over 3 months, Home Chef came out on top as our clear winner.

After trying 11 different services over 3 months, Home Chef came out on top as our clear winner.

Like its name suggests, Home Chef provides customers with the tools necessary to become true masters of their kitchen. From their fresh, high-quality ingredients to well-written recipes that break down intimidating cooking methods into digestible steps, almost everything about this service made me feel like I was preparing restaurant-worthy (or at least guest-worthy) meals without running around like a maniac.

Home Chef was already accommodating of many diets, including vegetarians and vegans, and provided over 16 meal options per week—but the new “Customize It” feature allows for a level of flexibility we haven’t seen with other meal kits before. For busy people who want delicious weeknight meals, it doesn't get much better.

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