Open a food selling website in minutes

Try it for free

Cottage Food Permit California

If you live in California and want to prepare food at home to sell, there are a few things you should know. A home-based food business is legally known as a Cottage Food Operation (CFO). These days, most states have cottage food laws that allow you to prepare food at home to sell.

Laws vary from state to state, and you will also notice different rules from county to county. In California, you'll need a cottage food permit to run your business. So if you make custom cakes, you need a baking license for at home business.

What's more, a cottage food permit California requirement is one part of the process, depending on how you engage with customers. Whether at home, a food truck, or a full-service restaurant, there aren't any food operations that do not need permits in California

The Class A permit allows you to sell directly to customers at farmers' markets and festivals. This permit also applies if you plan to sell directly to customers from your home. 

On the other hand, you need a Class B permit for indirect sales, like selling packaged products in stores and restaurants. Additionally, Class B permits allow you to provide direct and indirect sales.

The California cottage food program governs laws for home-based food production. And, according to California cottage food law, all cottage food operations must meet the California Health and Safety Code requirements.

That means you can only sell food from the list of approved foods. You must complete a food processor training course to ensure sanitary operations. And, if you're selling prepackaged products, you'll need state and federal-compliant labels.

As long as you follow the rules, you can use your kitchen to prepare, package, and store cottage food products, ingredients, and equipment. Ultimately, you want to do your homework, get a business license, and apply for a cottage food license to comply with state laws.

How To Apply For Cottage Food License California

If you're wondering how to apply for a cottage food license in California, be prepared because it is a process. If you do it right, you can successfully make and sell your homemade food products. After all, you don't want to worry about whether or not your business is legal.

This list of frequently asked questions with links to resources will get you started.

Do I need a business license for a cottage food operation? 

Yes. It's also important to consider your business structure. You can be a sole proprietor or operate as an LLC. If you're a sole proprietor, you'll be liable if anyone gets sick from the food.  An LLC protects you from that personal liability because it separates you from your business.

You also need to know about a cottage food license California restriction when it comes to income. As of 2021, you can gross a maximum of $50,000 a year as a cottage food business. You must complete a food processor course within three months once you register your business and apply for a permit.

Is a cottage food license and a business license the same thing?

No. Filling out a cottage food license application is a separate step. You'll learn how to keep your products safe for your customers by going through the process and getting your cottage food permit.

Additionally, you can have one full-time employee. They will also need to get a food handler's permit. 

Does a catering license California permit fall under cottage food laws?

No, but you might need both. A catering license California permit covers other services, including serving alcoholic beverages. A caterer's permit requires an annual fee and also has additional authorizations.

And you'll need to update your certificate every three years.

How much does a cottage food license cost in California?

Cottage food license cost varies, depending on the permit. A Class A permit covers direct sales. It requires an application and self-certification checklist. The registration fee varies by county and ranges from $100–$150 annually.

The Class B permit covers both direct and indirect sales. The fee varies by county, costing between $150–$250 each year.

Where do I find a home bakery license California application?

You'll find a home bakery license California application at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Cottage Food Law California 2021

There hasn't been an amendment to California's cottage food law in eight years. But Cottage Food Law California 2021 could change all that. In February, the legislature introduced the assembly bill— AB-1144

If the bill passes, it will go into effect on January 1, 2022. The amendment allows CFOs to ship in-state. It also raises the sales limit from $50,000 for a Class A cottage food permit California to $75,000, and increases the Class B permit maximum to $150,000. 

Currently, selling food from home California 2021 permits limit sellers to an annual salary of $50,000. The new bill will allow for the 2022 increase, and there will also be increases in the following years to account for inflation.

The new bill hasn't changed anything regarding the food processor course California requirement. You can take the California department of public health food processor course from a state-accredited teaching center. And you can most likely take it online.

Each county has specific rules and guidelines. You can research your county's policies at their Department of Environmental Health online. Here are a few examples.

Cottage Food Permit Sacramento

Head over to the county website to determine if they have additional requirements and get a seller's permit Sacramento application. Sacramento makes it easy to follow the rules and links everything you need to start a cottage food business. The comprehensive site gives you links to get a Sacramento county food permit, class A and B permit applications, and much more.

In Sacramento (and elsewhere), there are zoning requirements for cottage food operations. As a CFO operator, the bottom line is that you're responsible for complying with all city business requirements. There might be city permits, licenses, or registrations you need to submit with your cottage food application.

Cottage Food License Riverside County

You'll find links to get your Riverside county food vendor permit, Riverside county food license, and Riverside county catering license from the county's Department of Environmental Health CFO web page.

Riverside county ordinance 949 is a county ordinance in Riverside that extends the list of foods CFOs can offer. The Microenterprise Home Kitchens Operations permit is more expensive than a Class A or Class B license. But it enables the CFO to run a small restaurant business from their home.

Cottage Food Permit San Joaquin County

You'll find a PDF online where you can fill out the Cottage Food permit San Joaquin County licensing. The PDF covers everything from the types of food you can prepare to Class A and Class B permits. This document also has links to the California Department of Public Health and includes a list of specific labeling requirements.

Considering that there's no comprehensive website for San Joaquin County, it's safe to assume you should follow state regulations for CFOs. But, it's better to contact the Environmental Health Department for San Joaquin County to get additional details.

Ventura County Cottage Food License

If you need a Ventura County cottage food license, you'll find a helpful webpage with links for everything you need to get started, including:

They also have a handy CFO flowchart to help you figure out which license you should choose.

Cottage Food License Placer County

The cottage food license Placer County webpage is more comprehensive, like Sacramento's CFO page. However, Placer County's cottage food information is located in the county's Health and Human Services division. If you live in another county and can't find CFO information on the Department of Environmental Health services page, try Health and Human Services.

The Placer County Health and Human Services division web page includes links to everything you need to know about inspections, food safety programs, catering, certified Farmer's Markets, food truck certification, and more.

California Homemade Food Act

Is it illegal to sell food from your home? The short answer is no unless you break the rules. It’s perfectly legal. However, there are stipulations and a California cottage food list detailing what is fine for selling food at home.

Governor Brown signed the California Homemade Food Act in 2012, and it went into effect on January 1, 2013. You might wonder what the California homemade food act has done for cottage food operators. First off, the cottage food act enables you to legally prepare food in your home to sell to the public. But there are rules regarding direct and indirect sales, among other things.

In 2021, legislators proposed amendment AB-1144, which would allow CFOs to ship instate. The amendment would go into effect in January 2022 and increase the current $50,000 maximum to $75,000 for Class A operators. Class B operators would see an increase to a maximum of $150,000 annually. 

You can be sure you’re acting within the cottage food law California food list specifications as long as you follow the procedure and get all the required licensing and permits. The requirements ensure that you know how to run a food business from your home safely.

Most states have cottage food laws that allow you to prepare food at home to sell, including California. Different cottage food permits and regulations.

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.

Join Castiron 100% risk-free

Explore our tools for free during a 14-day free trial. Start building your website, create your custom order forms, even start taking orders and payments... then decide if it’s for you.

Let's grow together.

Easy to start, created specifically for local, handmade food: Castiron’s website builder was created to help you grow. Create a website in minutes with our templates, sell where and how your customers want to buy, and look professional without being technical. Keep customers coming back with email marketing tools, customer records, and more.

The Best Fit for Your Food Business

Food entrepreneurs, this is your moment. Your community is more and more conscious about what they buy and where it is from. They want food made with love. With ingredients they can pronounce. And they want to support their community while doing it.

Castiron is the best fit for your food business because we're not a one-size-fits-all tool. Selling local food is different from pre-packaged warehouse products. Whether you sell cooking classes, need local pick up, utilize pre-sales to plan inventory, or need a fully custom order form — we got you.

Start 14-Day Free Castiron Trial
Build a Custom Website

No code required. Add pages, sell your products, build order forms, and show off your beautiful work. We'll handle the tech so you can focus on growing your food business.

Make Buying Painless

Never track down a payment or oversell products again. Real-time inventory tracking and secure payment processing make life easier for you and your customers, and our order form builder makes managing custom requests a breeze.

Promote Without the Effort

With our marketing tools, your email marketing can go on autopilot. We make it easy to promote your latest products, announce custom order availability, and stay connected with customers.

Graduation is fast-approaching, are you ready?