HelloFresh Thanksgiving Meal Delivery Kit

We Tried HelloFresh's Thanksgiving Meal Kit—Here's Our Honest Review

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It seems like the majority of time spent preparing for the holidays goes into planning the menu. As the host, you have a million questions going through your mind. Are we going to stick with the traditional fare or try something new? Did everyone like last year's dessert? Is *insert relative's name* vegetarian? You get it. Then, following the marathon of food decisions, comes one of the most hectic grocery shopping trips of the year. The good news: You can skip both the menu planning and the grocery shopping by ordering HelloFresh's Thanksgiving Box.

Even though we highly recommend HelloFresh's weekly meal delivery service, it's important to note that you don't have to be a HelloFresh subscriber to purchase the Thanksgiving meal kit. The boxes are available now through November 18, and you can choose delivery dates between November 16 and November 23. Keep in mind that the frozen turkey needs to thaw for four days before cooking. In 2020, the meal kits sold out, so make sure to preorder your Thanksgiving dinner today

There are two options for your holiday meal kit delivery: the Turkey + Sides Box for $170 plus $9 shipping and the Beef Tenderloin + Sides Box for $135 plus $9 shipping. The traditional turkey meal kit comes with a 14-pound turkey, delicata squash and shallots, ciabatta stuffing, mashed potatoes, apple ginger crisp, gravy, and cranberry sauce. It feeds eight to 10 people, which is about $17 per serving. The beef tenderloin dinner includes the same sides and dessert as the turkey box but has six 6-ounce beef tenderloin filets instead of a large bird. This meal kit features four to six servings that cost around $23 per person. If you want an appetizer, you can add cranberry brie crostini to either box for an additional $20. 

To buy: HelloFresh Thanksgiving Box, From $135; hellofresh.com

How We Tested the Service

We had two cooks, Ecommerce Editor Laura Miller and myself, and six additional taste testers, including Ecommerce Editor Anna Knief and Ecommerce Writer Carly Kulzer and each of our partners as leftovers-testers.  

We chose the Turkey + Sides Box for a couple of reasons: We wanted to try the more classic option and, of course, have leftovers. What we didn't take into consideration was the fact that neither of the chefs had ever cooked a whole turkey—hey, at least we got our first try out of the way before the real deal. The result? Slightly overcooked but still very tasty.  

It's no secret that Thanksgiving dinner takes a long time to prepare. While it did seem like a lot of chopping and slicing, we were able to cook and serve a whole turkey, three sides, gravy, and dessert in under five hours. After our first couple of bites, we collectively decided it was worth it. Success!

Our overall rating of HelloFresh's Thanksgiving Box: 8.9/10

Pros

  • Suitable for all cooking levels
  • Elevated traditional recipes
  • Good variety of flavor and texture
  • Extremely helpful recipe book with instructions and pictures
  • Plenty of food for eight to 10 guests
  • Plenty of leftovers for smaller groups
  • Add-on appetizer option

Cons

  • Requires at least two people and two ovens (if making all the dishes in one day)
  • You need to provide your own butter, sugar, salt, and pepper 
  • Some of the apples had bruises
  • Lemons were on the smaller side

Suggestions for HelloFresh: Provide two recipe booklets for two people to reference, specify which ingredients home cooks will need to use from their own pantry, and ship the apples in protective packaging so they are less likely to bruise. Note: Our dessert turned out delicious, regardless of the bruised apples. 

Suggestions for Shoppers: If you have one oven, make the cranberry sauce and apple ginger crisp, as well as prep the shallots, squash, and bread, one day in advance. Take the apple ginger crisp up a notch by topping it with vanilla ice cream

Hello Fresh Thanksgiving review
Credit: Courtesy of Bridget Degnan

Delivery and Packaging: Heavy but Well Insulated

The Thanksgiving dinner delivery arrived in two packages: One for the frozen turkey and the other for the produce and side ingredients. The boxes were slightly challenging to lift and bring inside, but the heaviness was due to essential insulation. The package with the 14-pound frozen turkey had two ice packs, and the produce box had four. Bottom line: The food is properly protected and insulated, but carrying it inside is a job for two.

Hello Fresh Thanksgiving review
Credit: Courtesy of Bridget Degnan

Cooking Process: Beginner-Friendly but Time-Consuming

We found HelloFresh's 5-hour game plan page in the cooking guide to be super helpful when deciding the order of preparation. We were lucky enough to have two ovens and two cooks to keep things running smoothly. So if you don't, we highly recommend making the apple crisp the day before to save counter and oven space. Every dish except for the apple crisp cooks at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 

We thawed the turkey for four days in the fridge and cooked it in the oven for 2 hours and 5 minutes. Since our bird was on the drier side, we suggest checking its temperature after 1 hour and 50 minutes to see if the breast area has reached the required 170 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The stuffing, potatoes, squash, and apple crisp all have ingredients that need to be chopped and sliced, which is why it's super helpful to have two sets of hands. With that said, make sure you have two sharp knives and two cutting boards for each chef. We followed the cooking time in the guide for each of these dishes but ended up leaving the squash in the oven for a few minutes longer to reach its desired color and texture. 

In about four hours, we had everything ready and on the table. We started around 9:45 a.m. and served the meal at 2:00 p.m. It was a little tricky to keep every dish hot from the time it was done to serving it on plates, so we recommend using lids to retain the heat during the transition from the kitchen to the table.

To buy: HelloFresh Thanksgiving Box, From $135; hellofresh.com

Hello Fresh Thanksgiving review
Credit: Courtesy of Bridget Degnan

Flavor and Quality: Savory and Sweet

Like us, you've probably had a Thanksgiving dinner similar to HelloFresh's spread. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing are classic holiday favorites. Although those three dishes were great, the roasted delicata squash and apple ginger crisp were unanimously the best parts of the meal. None of us had tried that type of squash, so we were pleasantly surprised by its sweet flavor. 

Roast turkey with garlic herb butter rub: If we would have taken it out of the oven after 1 hour and 50 minutes, it would've been cooked to perfection. With or without gravy, everyone said the turkey was tender and enjoyable. 

Mashed potatoes with garlic and sour cream: Creamy, garlicky, and buttery. Yum! We garnished with parsley for a holiday-worthy table presentation. 

Ciabatta stuffing with chicken sausage and cranberries: Not your average stuffing: This hearty version could be a meal of its own. Between the chicken sausage and tart dried cranberries, texture and flavor was on point. 

Roasted delicata squash and shallots with walnuts and parmesan cheese: The most underrated dish ended up being everyone's favorite. The squash was sweet and tender, the shallots were wonderfully caramelized, and the walnuts added the perfect crunch to every other bite. Note: The recipe called for three ounces of garlic herb butter. We unintentionally forgot to add the butter to the dish and ended up being grateful for our mistake because it was most likely better without it. 

Apple ginger crisp with cinnamon pecan crumble: At first, we were a little nervous about this dish because most of the apples had bruises. However, all our worries were gone after our first bite. It was everything you could want in a fall dessert. Tart, sweet, and rich. Not to mention, it makes your kitchen smell heavenly

Classic gravy with fresh herbs: Waiting for the gravy to thicken seemed like forever (15 minutes is a long time when you're hangry), but we were very pleased with the outcome. It was an ideal consistency and the right amount of salty and savory. 

Cranberry sauce with orange and cinnamon: None of us are big cranberry sauce fans, so we decided to leave out this dish.

Hello Fresh Thanksgiving review
Credit: Courtesy of Bridget Degnan

Taste Tester Reviews

"The spread looked picture perfect on the table, but I didn't know what to expect in terms of flavor. Overall, I was super satisfied," Degnan said. "The turkey and potatoes were tasty, but nothing special. To boost the turkey's flavor, I recommend adding more herbs and vegetables of your own. I absolutely loved the stuffing and roasted squash. The stuffing was packed with flavor thanks to the chicken sausage and herbs. The star of the show, the delicata squash, had a pleasant texture and sweetness to balance this savory meal. I will definitely be making that dish over and over again while squash is in season. My fiancé had a nice portion of the leftover stuffing and potatoes for dinner. He added some butter to the potatoes along with some salt and pepper and licked his plate clean. He said he could've had three more plates."  

"All of the dishes were flavorful and delicious, yet not too out of the box, which I appreciated," Miller said. "This is your traditional Thanksgiving meal like grandma used to make. It tasted homemade because it was! My favorite dishes were the ciabatta stuffing (this isn't your average boxed stuffing, folks) and the roasted delicata squash and shallots (sweet and savory—yum!)."

"The leftovers still had plenty of flavor without being too dry," Miller's husband said. "I have a physically demanding job, and my lunch kept me full and energized all afternoon. My coworkers were jealous when they saw what I was eating. 10/10 would eat this again."

"I thought everything in the kit was tasty. The squash was my favorite because I don't cook with gourds much, and it was nice to be surprised even in a meal full of traditional Thanksgiving fare," Knief said. "Each dish was good on its own, but I think anyone comfortable in the kitchen could jazz them up even more with their preferred seasonings. I also thought that the variety of food and portions were well thought out. I was satisfied, but I didn't feel overly full. Plus, I'm someone who always looks forward to a second Thanksgiving in the form of leftovers, so I intentionally passed on another helping."

"The apple crumble was fantastic. I'm still dreaming about it," Knief's husband who received leftovers said. "The squash was really good, and I thought the stuffing was mild but had a nice flavor. The potatoes could have used more seasoning, maybe some salt and pepper. Everything reheated well in the microwave except for the turkey and stuffing. Perhaps an air fryer or toaster oven would have retained the texture for those dishes better, but they still tasted good. Overall, I enjoyed having a good Thanksgiving meal in the middle of the workday."

"My husband and I have used HelloFresh in the past, but when I saw the large Thanksgiving spread it exceeded all expectations (the turkey was huge!)," Kulzer said. "I tried a little bit of everything, and although everything was good, the squash and apple crisp were my favorites by far. Both sides were sweet, seasoned to perfection, and reheated well. My husband really enjoyed the turkey legs and said they were juicy and full of flavor. The only thing we were indifferent about was the stuffing—it was good the first time around, but leftover it got dried out. I didn't have any leftover gravy, but if I did, I think adding some on top would have made it better."

Bottom Line

Is it worth it? Yes. The Thanksgiving meal kit is the perfect solution for those who don't want to dig up recipes and deal with crowded grocery stores. The price is reasonable, the recipes are easy to follow, and the dishes can easily be doctored up however you like. Whether you're hosting a "Friendsgiving" or family gathering, HelloFresh's Thanksgiving meal kit will help you create a crowd-pleasing feast.

To buy: HelloFresh Thanksgiving Box, From $135; hellofresh.com

Testing Methodology

Our overall ranking for HelloFresh's Thanksgiving turkey dinner was 8.9/10 after evaluating pricing, quality, variety, sustainability, and more.

Factors

What it means

Numerical ranking

Taste

Meal has a balanced and delicious flavor and consistency.

9

Ease of Preparation

The service provides easy-to-follow instructions for preparing and cooking the meal.

7

Quality of Ingredients

Ingredients are high quality and responsibly raised and sourced. They are in good shape when they arrive.

8 (apples had bruises)

Portion Size

Portion sizes are reasonable and filling.

10

Availability

The service is available to consumers in a variety of locations.

9 (not available in Alaska or Hawaii)

Price

The price is reasonable for the quality of food you receive.

10

Shipping

The order arrived on time. The packaging kept things fresh and in good condition. You're able to provide delivery instructions if needed.

8

Customer Service

How quickly customer service responds to queries, the level of detail they provide, and how helpful the team is overall.

9

Social Impact

Takes into consideration a company's social missions, charitable causes, and sustainability efforts. Products are sourced ethically. Packaging is recyclable or sustainable.

10