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How to Sell Home Cooked Food

If you’re wondering how to sell home cooked food, you’re in luck because many states are relaxing rules on selling food from home. Today, cottage food laws allow selling home cooked food to the public. These laws provide clearly defined conditions on how to sell homemade food.  

Cottage food laws also regulate how much money you can make as a home-based food business. Find out how to sell homemade food with this short guide to cottage food laws. 

Standard Rules on Selling Food From Home 

Keep in mind that legally selling food you make at home can vary from state to state. However, requirements for home-based food businesses share a few things in common, such as the types of foods you can sell and where you can sell them. 

For example, typical places for selling home cooked food to the public include: 

Most cottage food laws restrict selling homemade food through retail establishments like restaurants and grocery stores. In 2021, some states proposed food freedom acts which further extend where home-based food businesses can sell. But most cottage food laws still restrict sales to nonhazardous foods or foods that are at low risk for foodborne illness.  

Some acceptable foods include: 

Additionally, regulations typically prohibit selling meat and poultry products. Remember that if the food needs refrigeration or is temperature-controlled for safety, it’s probably not allowed according to cottage food law. Food labeling that includes a disclaimer stating the product is homemade and not inspected is also required in most states.  

Another thing to know ahead of time is how much your state allows home based food businesses to make annually. These limits can vary tremendously, from $5,000 per product to $250,000 annual earnings. Additionally, home-based food businesses likely need food permits, a business license, and often must pass periodic kitchen inspections. 

How to Get a Permit to Sell Food From Home 

Maybe you want to sell food to raise money for your church or another non-profit, and you’re wondering if there’s a fine for selling food from home. It’s important to know the regulations in your state because laws on selling homemade food can include fines for producers who aren’t following the rules. Also, remember that these laws are there to keep consumers safe, so you probably want to follow them anyway. 

Do you need a permit to sell food from home? Let’s take a look at the similarity and differences in state laws.  

Similarity and Differences in State Cottage Food Laws 

Selling food from home NYC requires a permit and registration with the Department of Agriculture and Markets. That’s not unusual. Increasingly, more states, including cottage food operators in NYC can have a website, advertise, and sell products online. The catch is that producers can’t sell outside of the state, even online. 

Likewise, Texas cottage food law allows for online sales, but only within the state. A permit to sell food from home Texas requires a food handler’s safety course. You can’t sell homemade food products in retail stores, restaurants, or indirectly. However, you can have a table or booth inside a retail store to sell directly to customers. 

Selling food from home Washington state food law mandates home-based food producers have a cottage food permit. Other requirements include proof of food worker cards, business license information, and proper labeling. There’s a fine of up to $1000 per day per offense for selling food without a permit in Washington. 

Permits, Licenses, and Health Inspections 

Rules can be strict, such as cottage food law in Massachusetts. For example, residential kitchens must pass a strict state board of health inspection. Once your kitchen passes inspection, you can apply for a state license and permit to sell food from home in Massachusetts.  

Not only do you need to follow state cottage food rules and regulations, cities often have guidelines to follow as well. When you begin selling food from home Chicago you need to comply with Illinois and Chicago cottage food law.  

First, you must obtain a Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) food service sanitation certificate. Then, you’ll need to register with the CDHP using the certification number you receive. 

How to Get License to Sell Food  

Selling food from home Illinois might be more challenging in some municipalities than others where regulations aren’t as strict. Like Chicago, cottage food law Illinois in almost all jurisdictions requires a home kitchen license. And, similar to other states, each county and city can add regulations to adapt Illinois cottage food law. 

Home kitchen operation law Illinois requires an application, which might mean a fee depending on where you operate. Or, like the Cook County cottage food application, it could be free. Additionally, you may need a small business license to sell food from home in Illinois, depending on where you live in the state. 

Cottage Food Law Florida 

What is cottage food in Florida? Do you need a license to sell baked goods from home in Florida? Maybe you’re wondering how to get license to sell food in Florida.  

Well, here’s some good news, Cottage food laws Florida 2021 outline specifications for unlicensed home kitchens. In other words, there are food operations that do not need permits Florida. These home based food businesses produce items at low risk of foodborne illness.  

There are labeling requirements, and the state offers a Florida cottage food label template to follow. Additionally, Cottage food law Florida allows home-based food producers to sell up to $250,000 of nonperishable products per year. But they must sell directly to the end customer, not as wholesale through grocery stores or other retail outlets. 

There is something else to remember. While you don’t need a permit to sell food from home Florida, under Cottage Food Law, some farmers’ markets or other venues may require you to have a food permit or business license. 

Cottage Food Law California 

Maybe you’re asking yourself, do I need a license to sell homemade food in California? Or, how do you apply for cottage food license California? Are there food operations that do not need permits in California? And, what is a class A food permit California? 

First off, Cottage food law California 2021 continued the law effective on January 1, 2013. All the information you need to determine if you need a home bakery license California or any other permit to sell food from home California is on the California Department of Public Health’s Cottage Food Operations page. You’ll want to learn about the class A cottage food permit California for the most part. 

A Class A food permit allows cottage food operators (CFO) to sell directly to the consumer. CFOs selling food from home Los Angeles must also register with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and submit a "self-certification compliance checklist" before making direct sales using a class A cottage food permit California. 

App for Selling Home Cooked Food 

Homemade food apps offer various options from easy to book home chefs to platforms that are like Uber for home cooked food. First, make sure that you get any necessary permits and find out if you need a license to sell food online in your state. The truth is that selling homemade food online has never been easier.

Selling food from home is not only possible but finding the best app to sell food for your business can streamline the process. You have plenty of choices for using an app for selling home cooked food. To that end, there are apps to help your customers place an order, such as: 

A homemade app works so well because while you can sell homemade food products online, you typically need to deliver the product directly to your customers. That means you can offer a homemade food service such as a home chef. Or deliver specialty food products right to your customers' door.

You can also use a home food delivery app with your website to make your products super accessible to your customers. One alternative is to build a Shopify homemade food website. Or choose a platform such as Castiron that offers a free forever website explicitly catered to home-based food producers.

Castiron provides everything home based food producers need to market their products, track inventory, and more. So, if you're wondering how to sell homemade snacks online, you can get started with a free website. 

How to Make Money Selling Food From Home 

You already know that you need to understand cottage food laws in your state, county, and city. You’ll likely need a state business license and your operation may require a kitchen inspection. Also, when you’re considering how to make money selling food from home, you should choose your niche.

It's good to know which easy food to sell to make money. Maybe your specialty is food made for dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or vegan products. Gourmet, small-batch, and artisanal foods are all excellent sellers.

Under most cottage food laws, you can make items including: 

Homemade food leaves lots of room to experiment with products that fall under guidelines and are highly marketable. It also makes sense to find a reliable supplier with specific credentials such as sustainably sourced ingredients. And, managing inventory is essential to keep products fresh and safe for consumption.  

You also want to create a brand image and ensure your ingredient list and labeling meet cottage food guidelines. Castiron provides an array of allergy and dietary tools to track food safety, flexible fulfillment options, invoicing, and integration that will help you stay on track. 

Get started today

Time to turn your passion for cooking, baking, or decorating into a delicious and successful business! Many states permit the sale of home cooked food.

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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