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How to Start Selling Food from Home

Many people across the country are considering new ways to make money from home. Some are investigating how to start a small food business at home. It’s a fantastic way to turn your love of cooking into money to help cover extra expenses, replace lost income, and allow parents to be home with children while continuing to contribute to the family budget. Before you dive in too deep, though, it’s a good idea to learn the ins and outs of how to make money selling food from home without finding yourself on the wrong side of local laws and regulations.

Selling Food from Home in Texas

For instance, selling food from home in Texas is easier than in most U.S. states. Cottage food laws in the state allow people to sell food prepared in their residential homes without requiring inspections, licenses, etc. as long as sales do not surpass the $50,000 mark annually. You do need to obtain a food handler’s permit, though, which can be done at your local health department via the Internet or in person. That doesn’t mean there are no restrictions or rules to adhere to, it simply means that you don’t have to jump through as many hoops and licensing requirements as you will in other states.

Selling Food from Home in California

For those seeking to sell food from home, California has many more requirements than the state of Texas. For instance, selling food from home in Los Angeles requires either a Class A registration or a Class B permit for cottage food operators. Each one requires a fee that must be paid before the permit is issued. While those selling food from home in California in 2020 faced more stringent restrictions for what they were allowed to sell from home, some of the restrictions were reduced for those selling food from home in California in 2021, largely in part to the statewide orders for many people to stay at home and the need for those individuals to continue earning money.

Selling Food from Home in Illinois

Under current state law, selling food from home in Illinois is prohibited. Fortunately, a new bill has passed and will go into effect in 2022 allowing direct sales from home, at events, and even from roadside stands. However, there are restrictions and government oversights involved, including paid registration for the privilege of doing so. It is still progress, though, for people interested in pursuing cottage food careers.

Selling Food from Home in NYC

Selling food from home in NYC is more complex and simpler than many other states at the same time. For instance, there are more restrictions on the types of food that can be sold from home with fewer restrictions on the manner in which these food items are sold. For instance, you can sell your food from home or online as long as deliveries are in-state. You can also sell to local restaurants and retail establishments. At the same time, while you can make bread to sell, you cannot make bread that contains fruit. Sorry NYC, no banana nut bread for you.

How to Start an Online Food Business from Home

One good thing to arise from the pandemic and so many people across the country forced to find new ways to work and earn from home is the rise of cottage food law amendments that specifically allow selling homemade food online. In most states, this was restricted prior to the pandemic. Only a few forward-thinking states had sought to allow this convenience. Now, the idea is fairly widespread with more states onboard than ever for allowing people to engage in ecommerce with their cottage food businesses.

What do these rule changes mean?

They mean it is easier than ever to make a genuine attempt to profit from your online food business ideas. You’re no longer limited to only selling items that local people can pick up or that you can deliver from orders made in person or by phone. Now you have the option, in many states, to pick up orders from various places – even large orders if your state doesn’t have income limits for home-based food businesses.

Where can you sell homemade food online?

The possibilities are endless. Not only is it possible to sell through Facebook marketplaces, but you can create your own business website and then use social media, in all shapes and sizes, to promote your business, including the following.

Anywhere you see local restaurants promoting their goods is a potential market for you on the World Wide Web. Just remember, though, to always follow local and state laws to the letter when it comes to online sales, income limits, and advertising restrictions.

More than social media, though, there are actual platforms you may be able to utilize to help you sell your goods online. Some of the more popular options are listed below.

Once again, be mindful of local regulations and follow them to the letter, especially when it comes to shipping foods, required permits, inspections, etc. Finding yourself facing excessive penalties, fines, and fees is the opposite of monetizing your passion for cooking into a stream of income for you and your family.

Finally, remember to always treat your business like the business it is. If you treat it like a hobby, you might find yourself getting negative reviews and closer scrutiny from permitting agencies in your state. It’s not just about learning how to start an online food business from home but also about learning how to operate and manage your home business, which is the true pathway to success. That includes various other aspects of operating a home business, such as.

In other words, there is a lot that goes into making your business of selling homemade food online successful. Make sure you have every tool possible to help you succeed in your efforts.

Rules on Selling Food from Home

The thing to remember when it comes to selling food from home is that different states have different laws regulating whether or not you can sell food from home, what types of foods you can sell from home, how you can sell homemade food from home, and even how much money you can make from your “cottage food” endeavors. The better you understand local regulations, the better prepared you are when the time comes to begin your business in the cottage food industry.

Do You Need a Permit to Sell Food from Home in Texas?

Yes, and no. Texas does not require you to get a permit specifically to sell food from home, but you do need a food handler's permit to sell food at home in the state. So, no, there is no Texas Cottage Food Law Certificate, but you do need a food handler’s permit. You can obtain a Texas food permit application you’re your local health department.

Moreover, Texas cottage food law shipping only restricts shipments to in-state deliveries thanks to the update to Texas Cottage Food Law in 2020. Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Texas? No. However, there are restrictions regarding the type of food you can sell from home, where you can sell the food, and how much you can earn. Unfortunately, not all states are as enlightened.

What Permits Do I Need to Sell Food in California?

Do I need a license to sell food from my home? In California, you do. Most people will require a Class A Food Permit in California to sell food from home, at events, at farmer’s markets, bake sales, and similar events. The Class A Permit California food application is fairly straightforward and can be filled out online. There is a fee that must be paid before the cottage food permit for California is issued. When you apply for a permit, it’s important that you understand the rules on selling food from home in California and that you adhere to them. Otherwise, you could face stiff fines and penalties for failure to do so.

How to Sell Food from Home Legally

Regardless of where you wish to sell food from home, it’s important that you take the time to discover what it takes to sell food from home legally. This includes asking specific questions, including the following.

The better you understand the local rules and regulations about cottage food businesses and selling homemade foods from home, the faster you can turn your attention to more profitable pursuits like perfecting your recipes and streamlining the baking and making process for higher profits.

Here are the rules of the road for learning how to make money selling food from home so you don't find yourself breaking local laws 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.

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