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Cottage Food Business

A cottage food business is a great way for new entrepreneurs and established home chefs to test out a new business idea. Rather than having to commit to a lengthy commercial kitchen lease and investing a large amount of money into licenses and training, cottage food laws can help you work out how you want your business to operate. You can nail down your branding, recipes, prices, delivery, and more before moving on to a larger, more permanent operation. In the rare event your business does not succeed, the small amount you invested is all that you will lose. 

If you are wondering what is considered cottage food, you are not alone. Cottage food meanings will vary from state to state. Generally speaking, it is food that is not hazardous to consume and does not require a specific storage temperature. These types of foods are least likely to carry food borne illnesses, which is important when a cottage food operation does not have to follow the same requirements as a commercial kitchen. Cakes, muffins, pickles, pies, trail mix, popcorn, and more are some of the most popular cottage food items. 

How to start a cottage food business is also dependent on your state and local jurisdiction. Some states simply need you to register an LLC and others need you to complete a permit, training, and a health inspection. It is not wise to search how to get around cottage food laws because the penalties are not worth the risk. You can face hefty fines for not following local laws, especially if someone falls ill after eating your food. 

Your cottage food business may be subject to how it advertises itself and how much it can generate in sales each year. Some states permit online sales while others do not. Additionally, your local jurisdiction can regulate whether or not your sales must be delivered in person or picked up from your home kitchen. Once you learn the legality of a cottage food business in your area, you can begin the process of opening your own food brand. 

Cottage Food Business Ideas

Several cottage food business ideas exist in the market. Before you become attached to specific cottage business ideas, however, you must consider what is allowed by your local jurisdiction. Your local jurisdiction can have stricter laws than the cottage food laws at the state level. In order to save yourself time (and heartache), make sure you acquire the list of cottage foods permitted in your area before you move forward with extensive planning. 

Some of the most popular cottage foods revolve around baking. This is because these items are some of the most accepted products across all of the states with cottage food laws. Some states will not permit custom orders (like wedding cakes or birthday cakes) because they will not follow exactly what you list when you apply for your cottage food permit. However, general cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and pies are typically all permitted. 

Aside from sweets, you can focus on savory baking as well. Focaccia bread art is incredibly popular because of how beautiful it looks when it is complete. This bread does take longer to create, so it often carries a higher price tag. Brioche bread, dinner rolls, croissants, and other baked dough items are also popular. 

Cottage Food License

You may be wondering, “Do I need a cottage food license?” or “Do you need a license to sell baked goods from home?” Both of these questions are dependent on where you live and will operate your home cottage food business from. Some states do not have a permit to sell food from home and others do. Generally, a quick phone call or a visit to your local health department will allow you to learn everything you need to know on how to get a permit to sell food from home. 

If your local jurisdiction requires you to apply for cottage food license, you can also ask your health department how to get a license to sell food. These applications are often available online, but some areas may require you to fill out a cottage food license application in person. Additionally, a cottage food license cost may apply. These fees can range from as low as nothing to as high as $500 per year. 

Your new cottage food business will require you to supply all cottage food law labels. Each state may vary slightly in the label requirements. You can expect to provide your name, permit number (if applicable), ingredients, and a sentence stating this product was made in a home kitchen. Most states require a specific statement, which can be found online or provided by your local health department. 

Cottage Food Law

When it comes to cottage food law, it is important to follow it correctly. Since cottage food laws by state vary significantly, it is important to learn everything about the states that you will be doing business. Over half of the states in the country allow online sales, but only some allow you to sell across state lines. If you can sell to another state, you must follow all of their cottage laws and federal laws as well. 


If you are selling food from home in Florida, you can only sell food on the cottage food list Florida. Anytime you are wondering what is considered cottage food in Florida, simply reference the list provided by the state. The Florida cottage food law 2021 is fairly simple. If you want to learn how to start a cottage food business in Florida, register your single member LLC and start selling the approved foods. There is no specific cottage food law Florida sales tax. There is also no cottage food license Florida, which eliminates the question, “How to get a cottage food permit in Florida.” For those who are wondering about Hillsborough County cottage food law specifics, they are the same as the state regulations. 


How to start a cottage food business in Maryland and how to start a home baking business in Maryland are some of the most popular search queries online. Currently, Maryland cottage food law 2021, no food permit Maryland is required. Additionally, any cottage food business Maryland is not required to have a health inspection under Maryland cottage business laws. The only food license Maryland cost a business may encounter is the Maryland food vendor license. This license may be required by farmers markets. 


For those wondering, “Do I need a license to sell food from my home in Washington state?” the answer is yes. Those who want to operate a cottage food business Washington state will follow the same Washington state commercial kitchen requirements. A multi-step process is required for all cottage food operators. Operators must apply for a cottage food license Washington state and a Washington state food processor license.

In order to be approved for a food business license Washington state, operators must pay a $240 application fee. They must also submit their complete recipes, labels, and marketing documents. Additionally, to receive a cottage food permit WA, a complete business plan must be provided. A home-based food business Washington state is only permitted to generate $25,000 in sales each year. The state is strict and will provide a large fine for selling food without a permit Washington state. 


To receive a cottage food permit California, all statewide regulations under the California Homemade Food Act must be met. In general, most cottage food operators will need to register for a class A or class B permit. In addition to these regulations, cottage food operators must register with their own jurisdictions. The San Bernardino County cottage food permit, cottage food permit San Joaquin County, and Alameda County cottage food permit are fe examples of how each county has their own regulations. Counties may add in or remove foods from the statewide approved cottage food list. They may also require their own types of fees, most of which are a few hundred dollars annually. 


For entrepreneurs who are ready to test out a new food business idea, they can successfully do so under the cottage food laws in their state. So long as the foods are non-perishable and do not require a specific storage temperature, they can typically be sold to the public. This allows entrepreneurs the ability to see if their new idea is viable and worth making a larger investment into a commercial kitchen and/or store front. 

Each state varies greatly when it comes to cottage food laws. Some states keep it simple and others require nearly every detail imaginable. Even if the state does not require your business plan, it will help you to succeed if you have your future milestones in place. Additionally, you should always maintain a detailed record for your inventory and finances. Should you ever have a complaint about your cottage foods, these records can help prove you are doing everything possible to keep your customers safe from any food related illnesses.

Additional Resources

App to Sell Homemade Food | Homemade Food Marketing Ideas | Selling Baked Goods Online | Food Ecommerce Sites | Selling Food on Facebook | Home Bakery Websites | Food Selling Websites | Cottage Food Business | How to Sell Food Online | How to Sell Food Online From Home | Can You Sell Food on Etsy? | Selling Food Online | Free App for Selling Home Cooked Food | Free Website Builder for Home Cooks | Food Ecommerce Website | Home Based Bakery Website | Website Builder to Sell Food | Best Website Builder for Bakery | Homemade Food Selling Website

Once you understand your cottage food laws, it's time to start your cottage food business. Here's how to get started.

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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