Legally Selling Homemade Food: A Guide to Selling Locally Made Delicacies in the USA

For many food enthusiasts, the idea of turning their culinary passion into a profitable business is a dream come true. However, selling homemade food isn’t as simple as just cooking and selling. There are legalities and regulations to consider, especially in the USA. This guide will help you understand the legal aspects of selling homemade food and how to navigate them.

Understanding Cottage Food Laws

In the USA, the sale of homemade food is governed by what’s known as “Cottage Food Laws”. These laws vary from state to state, but they generally allow individuals to sell certain types of homemade food products, such as baked goods, jams, and jellies, without needing to rent or own a commercial kitchen.

What Foods Can Be Sold Under Cottage Food Laws?

Typically, only “non-potentially hazardous” foods are allowed to be sold under Cottage Food Laws. These are foods that do not require refrigeration and are less likely to cause foodborne illnesses. Examples include bread, cookies, fruit pies, jams, jellies, and certain candies. However, the specific list of allowed foods varies by state, so it’s important to check your state’s specific laws.

Permits and Inspections

Even though you’re operating from home, you may still need to obtain certain permits and undergo inspections. Some states require a business license, a food handler’s permit, or even a home kitchen inspection. Again, the requirements vary by state, so it’s crucial to do your research.

Labeling and Advertising

Most states require that homemade food products be properly labeled with information such as the name of the product, the name and address of the producer, and a disclaimer stating that the product is homemade and not subject to state inspection. Some states also have specific rules about where and how you can advertise your products.

Limitations on Sales

Many states place limitations on the amount of homemade food you can sell in a year. These limits can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Some states also restrict where you can sell your products, allowing sales only at farmers’ markets or other specific venues.


Selling homemade food can be a great way to turn your culinary skills into a profitable business. However, it’s important to understand and comply with your state’s Cottage Food Laws to ensure that your business is legal. By doing your research and following the rules, you can start your own successful homemade food business.