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How to Sell Food Online

Whether you have thought long and hard about starting a home-based food business or recently received numerous praises after fine tuning your skills during the COVID-19 quarantine, learning how to sell food from home is crucial. If you don’t learn how to sell food online legally, you can face fines from your local jurisdictions. Fortunately, selling homemade food online is not impossible. However, each state and even local jurisdiction can regulate the types of food products to sell online. 

Selling homemade food online will require a handful of tools. Several apps are available to help make the process simpler. These apps allow you to monitor your inventory, schedule operating hours, and take payments from your customers. 

If you want to avoid apps, you can still engage in selling food from home by setting up your own website. You will need to verify your state and/or local jurisdiction permit payments made on your personal website before you get started. If you are permitted to move forward, you will need to learn how to integrate a payment processor onto your website. You will also require an inventory tracker, finance manager, and order request system. This ensures you do not oversell certain dishes when you only have a limited amount of ingredients in your fridge. 

We know you have several questions about how to make money selling food from home. The remaining sections will help point you in the right direction. Once you have the basics under your belt, it is in your best interest to speak with your local health department. They will have the most up-to-date regulations and requirements for your specific area. 

Can You Sell Homemade Food Online?

When it comes to the legality of selling food from home, every state, county, and even local jurisdiction can set its own rules. In many states, a permit to sell food from home is required. Oftentimes, most starts will only provide cottage food permits. Currently, 49 of the 50 states in the country have a cottage food law in place. Several health departments will answer “yes” when you ask, “Do I need a license to sell food from my home?” 

With cottage food laws, however, not all states require a permit. For example, a Florida resident who is researching “how to get license to sell food” on Google will quickly find that no license is required in the state. In states where licenses are required, you can easily search “how to get a permit to sell food from home” and find all of the applications and/or fees on the state’s department of agriculture website. 

Each state also has its own regulations regarding online sales. If you are wondering can you sell homemade food online, it will depend entirely on your home state’s laws and the laws of the states you are interested in selling to. Currently, only 32 states allow online sales. Additionally, many of these states only allow sales within state borders. 

If you are trying to learn how to get a permit to sell food on the street, this may not be the right post for you. Most local jurisdictions do not even provide these permits unless there is a larger event occurring (like a farmers market, festival, etc.). You will need to speak with your local chamber of commerce to learn if this type of permit exists in your area and who you should speak with in order to obtain it.  

Food Ideas to Sell Online

When it comes to food ideas to sell online, you have several options available. Easy food to sell to make money can be as simple as trail mix or as complicated as focaccia bread art. Whatever you select for food ideas to sell from home, consider pairing them with other activities that can generate passive income. Blogging and growing a following on social media can help generate more information for your online food business. 

If you are just getting started, food business ideas with small capital are perfect for you. Homemade food products to sell in this category mostly include baked goods. This is because you likely already have the basic tools in your kitchen to get started (like pans, spatulas, mixers, etc.) Cupcakes, cakes, pies, and muffins are all incredibly popular with a large percentage of the population. They can easily be adapted to meet the unique audience in your area (including gluten-free, sugar-free, savory vs sweet, and more). 

It’s important to remember that the best food products to sell online are the ones that will actually sell in your targeted area. Even if you have the best recipe in the world, if you don’t have an audience that can help make one of your online food business ideas profitable you will not succeed. Make sure the homemade food to sell is delicious, unique, and something your target audience will want to buy regularly. 

Food Selling Websites

If you’re wondering, “Where can I sell my food products online?” you have come to the right place. One of the simplest solutions is to join Castiron. Our software is designed to help you create a powerful website that helps your business grow and scale over time. It’s a free option that allows you to get started on the right foot. You can also join an entire community of entrepreneurs just like yourself to generate new ideas, test recipes, and create connections. 

Some food ecommerce companies that are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs sell their products include Bluecart and Yummit. Compared to Castiron, they do provide similar services. You can grow your business from a single platform. Pricing between the two platforms vary. What these platforms lack is the extensive cottage food community that is growing everyday on Castiron. 

There are other food selling websites on the market that are worth mentioning. You can create your own website by using sites like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Square. Each of these drag and drop builders help you create a website that looks nice and allows your customers to place orders. You will be responsible for all of the monthly/annual fees and web maintenance. 

How to Sell Food From Home Legally

Before you start dusting off your family recipes and ironing your aprons for branding photos, it’s important how to sell food from home legally. If you aren’t following all of your local jurisdiction’s and state’s requirements, you could face hefty fines. Normally, there is no jail time involved for operating an illegal food business from home. However, fines can easily range from $100 to over $1,000 per violation. If someone falls ill, you could face even greater penalties. 

There is no permit to sell food from home Florida. In the state of Florida, sole proprietors do need to register as a single member LLC for tax purposes. Cottage food producers cannot generate more than $50,000 in gross sales during a single calendar year. The net income from these sales will be taxed as earned income. Any goods that are not considered perishable and do not need to maintain a specific temperature can typically be sold under the Florida cottage food laws. 

Those in the Lone Star State have similar regulations compared to Florida. No permit to sell food from home Texas is required. Cottage food producers simply need to complete their required food handler’s license to get started. Like Florida, the state of Texas does not permit more than $50,000 in gross sales in a calendar year. 

A permit to sell food from home in Massachusetts is required. The Residential Kitchen Permit allows residents of the state to prepare cottage foods in their home kitchen. Sales must be made directly to the consumer. However, these sales can be completed online beforehand. The food must be delivered directly to the consumer. The state does permit cottage food producers the ability to sell their goods in other states, so long as all federal laws and other state regulations are followed. 

For those located in Canada, it’s important to note each state has its own regulations. For the most part, however, they are similar to one another. For example, those who are selling food from home in Ontario must obtain a permit from their local government office. The permit will allow them to sell their low risk food items at events like farmers markets. Annual food handling training is also required. 


As you can see, learning how to sell food online is an incredibly important step in starting your entrepreneurial journey. Wherever you are currently based will determine how, when, and where you can sell your prepared foods. Some areas require in-depth training and health inspections while others simply need to know you are in operation by the time you file taxes. If you think your family will ever move, you also need to consider if your new state has similar laws to the ones you are used to operating under. Speak with your local health department to learn everything you need to know to get started on this exciting chapter of your life!

Additional Resources

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Cottage food laws allow many home-based food entrepreneurs to sell the food they make at home! Here is how to best sell your homemade foods online.

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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