Create a Home Based Business with Your Baked Goods

Looking for at-home business ideas? Try a home-based business using your kitchen and creating ‘farm fresh to you’ products.

| September/October 2015

Calling all jammers, bakers and canners. You could be part of a growing movement of people starting small food businesses in their homes. No capital needed, just good recipes, enthusiasm and commitment, plus enough know-how to turn ingredients into sought-after treats for your local community. Everything you require is probably already in your home kitchen – and you can start tomorrow.

Thanks to new laws on the books in 42 states, specific food businesses can now be launched from home kitchens. These state laws, often referred to as “cottage food laws,” allow you to sell certain food products to your neighbors and in your community. By certain foods, the laws mean various “non-hazardous” food items, often defined as those that are high-acid, like pickles and preserves, or low-moisture, like breads or cookies.

“After the Great Recession started in 2007, states started implementing cottage food laws to help boost their local economies,” says David Crabill, founder of, an online community where people can ask and answer questions, connect with each other, and add their cottage food operation to the directory. “Today, almost every state has some way to allow home cooks to start a food business with relative ease.”

What’s for sale?

States now make it possible for anyone to earn some income, follow a culinary passion or dream, and have some fun at the same time. From pies to pickles, wedding cakes to granola, preserves to decorated cookies, fledgling food entrepreneurs no longer need to sink thousands of dollars into a commercial kitchen or fork over $50 an hour to rent a licensed facility to turn Aunt Emma’s biscotti recipe into a money-making dream business. We now have the freedom to earn.

Cottage food laws vary a lot by state, so follow the one for your state. That said, there are four key questions answered in your state’s cottage food law:

What products can you sell?

Your state’s legislation will specifically outline the “non-hazardous” food items you can produce under cottage food law, generally grouped as high-acid canned food products (preserves, pickles and salsas) or low-moisture baked goods that don’t require refrigeration. Sometimes the legislation will itemize what you can or can’t sell, but they may also include candy or dry mixes. Focus on what you can legally make, and don’t waste time, energy and money spinning your wheels on what you can’t. Of course, you can always dedicate the time and energy needed to potentially change your state’s law to better meet your aspirations; many laws came about because of such active citizenship.

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