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Arizona Cottage Food Law

The history of the cottage food industry in Arizona is relatively recent. The first laws appeared in 2011 and were updated to include more foods in 2018. Arizona has one of the most inclusive cottage food laws in the industry and is the only state to specifically protect disabled people who want to start or work in the cottage food industry.

Keep reading to learn more about income limitations, if any, and tax and licensing considerations. The Arizona state cottage food industry website is a great resource for more granular questions.

Arizona cottage law

In 2011, Arizona passed the first cottage food laws (A.R.S. 36-136 (H)(4)(g) and A.R.S. 36-136 (H)(13). This also allows the sale of non-hazardous confectionery and baked products prepared in private homes. In 2018, more foods were added to the law. The rules governing cottage food sales in Arizona are laid out in Arizona Administrative Code R-9-8-118.

Keep reading to learn more about the rules about selling food from home in Arizona.

Arizona food handlers card

There is no cottage food license in Arizona. However, you have to learn the rules for handling food safely. Per ARS 36-136 (H)(4)(g), Regardless of the county, you live in, you'll need proof that you took and passed the food handler training course. After receiving the Arizona food handlers card, you have to keep your certification active.

Steps to learning Arizona food safety laws:

  1. Complete the food handlers safety course, which you can take online in Spanish or English. It takes just an hour to finish the course.
  2. Take an online food handlers test and pass with a 70%. You can retake the test multiple times until you pass.
  3. Finally, print or download your food handlers safety card.

Some counties require a county food handler card too.

How do I start a small business?

Do I need a cottage food license? You do not need a cottage food license in Arizona. However, you do have to register your business.

Next, complete your food handler training course as described above. It's also a good idea to contact the appropriate people in your municipality, as follows:

  1. Assessor’s Office (ask about business-property taxes)
  2. Planning & Zoning Office (find out about zoning laws affecting home-based businesses)
  3. City Clerk (local license requirements)

It’s also a good idea to ensure that your home insurance will cover any liability related to a home-based business.

Do I have to pay taxes?

Any business in Arizona is subject to potential taxes based on the business structure and location. If you're selling food intended for home consumption, your product is exempt from state taxes but may be subject to local retail taxes. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for federal tax questions related to a home business. The Arizona Department of Revenue can answer questions about sales tax, called transaction privilege tax in Arizona.

How do I start a small business?

For those who want to know how to start a catering business from home, selling homemade food in Arizona is relatively simple when compared to the laws of other states. For example, you can quickly learn the rules for how to start a catering business from home in Arizona. You just need to know the list of approved foods, listed in another section.

It's also important to know the laws applicable in your area. For instance, you don't want to pay hefty fines for Arizona health code violations. The Arizona cottage food program carefully lays out all the rules and has answers to questions like requirements for a home bakery license in Arizona (outlined under the rules for getting an Arizona food handlers card).

What happens if I don’t follow the rules?

It's important to follow the rules to avoid fines and potential litigation from state and local authorities as well as your customers. Making approved foods in your home for commercial sale is relatively simple in Arizona. You can grow your business without worrying about hefty fees and drawn-out inspections. However, when you do break the rules, you typically lose the privilege to continue your business. As an illegal food business, your home bakery or catering service would be subject to fines and other penalties.

For those who want to know how to start a catering business from home in Arizona, it starts with getting a permit for selling food from home. The cottage food industry is a great opportunity for those who know how to cook but need to learn how to start a catering business from home with no money. The relaxed rules in Arizona are designed to make it easier for home businesses to thrive. Some states have more restrictive laws, making it more difficult for you to learn how to start a small cooking business from home.

Maricopa County cottage food laws

Maricopa County has its own laws for starting and catering businesses from home. You have to make sure that you live in an area zoned for commercial use for one thing. The county has a comprehensive environmental health code requiring a permit to operate a catering business. Maricopa has a comprehensive environmental health code that requires all catering companies to have a permit to operate. Additionally, all catering businesses including those that are home-based have to pass an inspection. It's important to know the laws that govern your county or municipality, which might be more restrictive than the Arizona State food cottage program requirements. Maricopa County, for example, officials inspect the menu and food handling area. Therefore, home-based businesses must know and follow food handling regulations for commercial food businesses.

Commercial kitchen requirements Arizona

You can find the program guidelines for baked and confectionery goods on Arizona's website for cottage foods, under the Approved Foods page.

Keep reading for some basic guidelines to get started with food production from your home-based kitchen.

Before Preparing Food, ensure that:
  1. All people handling food must have proper Food Handler Training.
  2. Ensure that any food preparation services are smooth and free of pits, cracks, and chips that can make cleaning difficult.
  3. Store garbage in easy-to-clean containers that deter both rodents and insects. It's important that your garbage containers do not absorb or leak liquid.
  4. All sinks used for washing dishes, hands, and utensils should have both hot and cold running water available.

Can I sell food from home in Arizona? Yes, in fact, Arizona food laws for the cottage food industry are designed to make the cost of entry and operation feasible. Although there is no state-level licensing, it's important for you to check out your county or local regulations regarding home-based food industries.

For example, some counties may have a cottage food license cost that you should figure into your business plan. You can start with your local health department to find out if you need a cottage certificate in your area. Check at both the county and local municipality levels.

Arizona cottage food registration

Maricopa county cottage food laws are a great example of how different county versus state laws governing the cottage food industry in Arizona can be. Maricopa has much stricter guidelines than the state laws specify.

It’s critical to understand all the facets of Arizona cottage food law requirements. Although Arizona cottage food laws are open an inclusive at the state level, you need to understand any local and county laws that can affect your business. On the upside, there is no revenue limit for home-based bakeries and catering businesses in Arizona.

What Is Cottage Food in Arizona

It’s important that you know the types of food that you are allowed to sell in Arizona. Instead of skirting around the law, working within it is your best recipe for success when it comes to your home-based bakery or food business.

See the state page for prohibited food items.

What is cottage food you can make and sell from home? (Not a comprehensive list)

Cottage Food Laws by State

If you find the laws governing cottage food sales in Arizona restrictive or plan to move to another state, it's important to understand the laws there.

The cottage food license in Oregon only requires handlers training but no license. The state also does not include an inspection.

Just as in Maricopa County, counties in California have their own cottage food licensing laws. This includes the cottage food license required in San Bernardino County. San Bernardino requires people preparing food in a home kitchen to receive a food handlers certificate. They have 90 days to complete this requirement.

The cottage food license in Washington state and cottage food license in Illinois differ dramatically from the laws in Arizona. Similarly, the cottage food license MN requires registration for businesses that do over $5,000 in business per year.

Cottage food law in Nevada is less restrictive than cottage food law in California. However, individual counties in both states may have unique local laws that businesses have to follow whether they are home-based or commercially based.

In California, Assembly Bill (AB) 1616 was passed with the signature of Governor Brown in 2012. The law includes preparation, packaging, and labeling requirements for food prepared in a home kitchen.

The cottage food law in Utah requires recipe approval, a registration fee, and an application process. If you're interested in beginning a business space from home in New Mexico, you'll need to understand the cottage food law in New Mexico.

Learn how to legally start a home-based food business in Arizona, where you can sell your homemade food in Arizona, and how to build an online store for your food business.

Heather Brookshire

The Cake Whisperer


My business would not be the same without my Castiron website! It is an easy setup with lots of customization and tons of support! I am so glad I set up my shop last year before the holidays — it really helped increase my sales!

Amanda McMonigle

The Whimsical Cookie


Castiron provides me a professional site to my customers increasing my credibility and value while giving me the tools to effectively market and manage my business in an easy, user-friendly manner.

Kim Sims

Wesley's Treats Hallie's Sweets


Castiron has made my cottage bakery shine, and my business easy to manage. As a platform they care about my business as much as I do.

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Mill City Cooking Company


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Oso Good Clean Eats


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Kultured Kombucha


I realized that the barrier of having to DM or text me to order was holding a lot of potential customers back.

Now that I have a professional website and a simple ecommerce checkout, I'm seeing a huge increase in new customers and they appreciate how easy Castiron makes ordering.

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