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Can You Sell Food from Home?

Before even entertaining the thought of selling food from home, you must consider the legalities of the endeavor. “Can I sell food from home?” isn’t always a simple question to answer. Each state has its own laws to determine whether you’re allowed to sell home-based food items. The determination of whether you’re permitted to sell homemade food falls under what’s known as cottage food laws. Before launch, you should learn how to get a permit to sell from home to legally distribute homemade foods.

Although there are some food operations that do not need permits, most states require some sort of regulations regarding food sales. For starters, cottage food refers to homemade items being sold directly from the cook. Traditionally, the individual prepares the cottage food in an unlicensed and non-commercial kitchen. You can’t label any homemade food item as “cottage food.” The food must meet certain pre-requisites to fall under cottage food laws. For example, according to the Florida’s Division of Food Safety, cottage food must not be time or temperature controlled for safety reasons. In essence, no type of harmful toxins or pathogens can form in the food if exposed to extreme heat or cold. Foods that can’t be served raw also fall into this category. Uncooked meats, cut fruits, and cut vegetables usually can’t be labeled cottage foods. Examples of items traditionally regulated under cottage food laws include:

How to Sell Food from Home Legally

Many of the top names in the food industry got their start making delicious dishes out of their homes. According to Investopedia, Debbie Fields, Martha Stewart, and Paul Newman all launched their businesses from home kitchens. Starting out small in a home kitchen allows the cook to test out products before investing a significant amount of money in a larger operation.

Keep in mind that a permit to sell from home may not be required by your state, but local governments may request one. Head to any municipal office to ask do you need a license to sell baked goods and other cottage food items. At a minimum, you may need to apply for a food handlers permit. To get a food handlers permit, you will need to take a brief course that covers food safety. The course will also discuss food labeling rules. For instance, many states require all homemade food items be labeled as such. Sellers must provide the labels to inform consumers that the products have not been inspected. To legally sell food made in a home kitchen, you must also review where you can market the items. Legally, you may not be permitted to stock retail locations with homemade wares. Instead, you can sell the food directly to the consumer or through farmers' markets.

To learn how to make money selling food from home, conduct market research while evaluating the legalities of the enterprise. Estimate any costs associated with running your home-based business. At launch, you’ll need to pay upfront fees like the total cottage food license cost. Without a valid permit, you may receive a fine for selling food from home. Fines can undermine your profits and put your new business in jeopardy. Instead of trying to operate without the proper permits, get a license to sell food from home before opening.

Cottage Food Law

Any cottage food laws are always state-specific. In most cases, a state’s Division of Food Safety or Department of Agriculture makes a determination over what’s acceptable for retail sale. To protect consumers, government bodies will restrict what’s allowed to forgo food inspections. Keep in mind that cottage food laws are subject to change at any time. The following are among the most popular states with cottage food laws:

Cottage food Georgia laws:

Can you sell food from home in Georgia? Yes, and all cottage food sales are managed by Georgia’s Department of Agriculture. The law permits the sale of items such as breads, pastries, popcorn, nuts, trail mixes, cakes, popcorn, and cotton candy. A Georgia cottage food license isn’t required, but sellers must limit the locations of their retail sales. Under the regulations, the products may not be distributed or sold wholesale. Sellers can’t cross state lines either under the current mandates. Online orders are allowed, but can only take place within state lines. Sellers in Georgia can also advertise through non-profit events.

Under Georgia state law, all cottage food sellers must complete a training course provided by the American National Standards Institute. The accredited course will cover the basics of handling food safely.

Texas cottage food law:

Selling food from home in Texas involves the distribution of products that don’t require time or temperature control. One question often asked by residents is, “Do you need a license to sell baked goods from home in Texas?” The answer is no, since baked goods will fall under what’s considered cottage food by the state. Additional cottage foods permitted in Texas are candy, popcorn, dry cereals, nuts, unroasted nut butters, pickled fruits and vegetables, canned vegetables, mustard, and roasted coffee.

Another query often asked is “What permits do I need to sell food in Texas?” As long as you’re only selling cottage food items, you’re exempt from permit and inspection requirements, according to the Texas Health and Human Services. Although a permit isn’t required by the agency, the government will keep a record of any complaints against a cottage food provider.

Additional regulations involve how the food is sold. In Texas, cooks aren’t allowed to sell items from their home kitchens online or by mail order. Wholesale distribution is also prohibited.

Cottage food laws in Wisconsin:

Can you sell food from home in Wisconsin? Yes, however, the state of Wisconsin allows the sale of a limited number of products. Wisconsin permits homemade pickled fruits and vegetables, applesauce, salsas, baked goods, jams and jellies, and sauerkraut under their cottage food regulations. Currently, any other items require you to fill out a Wisconsin food license application. No items that require refrigeration can be sold in Wisconsin home kitchens.

Cottage food regulations in Florida:

Food operations that do not need permits Florida based, include anyone who sells items that don’t become a health hazard due to temperature changes. Cottage food sellers in Florida have the option to advertise through websites, mail order, and directly to consumers.

What is cottage food in Florida? Cottage food in Florida will include nuts, jams and jellies, popcorn and popcorn balls, trail mix, cereals, baked desserts, and breads. Items must be properly labeled and certain foods can’t be distributed wholesale.

Laws for cottage food in California:

Do you need a license to sell baked goods from home in California? A home based food business California area requires a permit before any sales can be made. California maintains an active list of permitted food items and asks home kitchens to confirm that they are in compliance with state rules. Foods allowed include baked goods, nuts, candy, coffee, jellies, protein powder mixes, vinegars, and mustards. Any type of perishable food product like meats, eggs, custards, cooked vegetables, and raw fruits aren’t permitted under cottage food regulations.

When filing the application, you will have the option to apply for a Class A or Class B permit. With the Class A permit California food application, direct sales are only allowed. Class B permits cover both direct and indirect cottage food sales.

Selling baked goods in Pennsylvania:

Do you need a license to sell baked goods from home in PA? Pennsylvania does require an application and review before permitting home kitchen items to be sold. Interested parties must fill out an application to operate as Limited Food Establishments. Once approved, sellers can prepare foods in residential kitchens as long as items require no time or temperature control. The state requires a fee for the license and will need to inspect a home kitchen before allowing any cottage food preparation. Before the inspection, a plan will be sent to the applicant on how to confirm the home kitchen meets regulations.

License to sell food from home in Illinois:

Home kitchen license Illinois regulations include the ability to prepare and sell certain food items at farmers’ markets. Permitted items include fruit jellies and preserves, fruit butters, baked desserts, breads, dried herbs, teas, and coffees. All items must be labeled properly before sale at any farmers’ markets.

With a license to sell food from home in Illinois, more edible products are permitted. Also, the license will allow for the sale of goods outside of farmers’ markets. Currently, no online or mail order sales are mandated in the state. Before selling any food, a food sanitation certificate must be obtained.

Selling food from home NYC:

Do you need a license to sell baked goods from home in NY? No, in most cases, you may be exempt from licensing requirements if you sell a baked good. Additional items such as jellies and snack mixes are included under the law. To sell these items, apply for a Home Processor Exemption. If approved, you will be allowed to market homemade food at farmers’ markets, craft fairs, online, and direct sales. Products must be packaged ahead of time at home and properly labeled before sale. Both wholesale and retail sales are permitted under the law.

Each state has its own laws to determine whether you’re allowed to sell — and what you can sell — as a home-based 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.

Katie Maschoff

Mill City Cooking Company


Before Castiron, I was taking orders really manually, through emails or texts or Facebook. Now I can send customers straight to my website, and I don’t have to worry about missing any details.

Daniella Smith

Oso Good Clean Eats


I couldn't run my business without the Castiron platform. It made it so easy to get my shop up and running — it truly removed a massive barrier to me getting started!

Ali Serpe

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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