Skip to main content

Be a cottage foods seller.

Is your home-based business meeting Illinois' Cottage Food Law guidelines?

Whether for a hobby or as a career, selling food grown or made in your home carries endless possibilities for enjoyment and profit. It also carries substantial responsibilities for the safety of the public who purchases and consumes your food products. Major changes took effect January 1, 2022 in the Cottage Food Operation Law's Home-to-Market Act. Illinois Extension is your guide to operating within the new regulations. Outshine the rest and grow your home-based business.

Start Your Own Cottage Food Business

woman holding loaf of freshly baked bread in red and white towel

Food Operators Checklist

Starting a business is hard enough. Find a quick overview of what you need to know and do to move forward or keep current as a cottage food operator.

Learn More

rows of homemade jam on shelves at a local outdoor market

Where to Sell

Illinois law allows cottage food operators to sell in more locations than just Illinois farmer's markets. Find out what options are available to you to grow your business.

Learn More

woman taking online course at home

Training and Courses

Get a head start on understanding laws, certifications, and processes required to safely and legally run a cottage food operation in Illinois.

Lean More

We've come a long way together.

Before the Cottage Food law, Illinois farmers and food entrepreneurs had to prepare their product in a licensed commercial kitchen, an expensive cost that made it difficult to start or grow a small business. To help food entrepreneurs and to support the sales of local foods, the Illinois Cottage Food Operation Law was enacted on January 1, 2012 and was limited to only selling non-potentially hazardous baked goods, jams, jellies and preserves, and dried herbs. These specific food products were for direct sale to the public at Illinois farmers markets.

In 2018, the Cottage Food Operation Law greatly expanded the type of foods allowed for sale by Illinois vendors to include chilled foods, canned tomato products, pickles, and much more. The Illinois Stewardship Alliance, in what they dubbed the “Illinois Food Freedom Act," championed the 2018 amendment. The 2021 changes opens the door to more expansion for home-based businesses like yours.

University of Illinois Extension provides this educational website, which offers detailed information about the newly amended Illinois Cottage Food Operation Law. This website is for cottage food vendors and prospective vendors. It includes cottage food operator requirements, conditions, and safe food handling practices to ensure the public's safety.

Additional Resources

Find additional support for following local and state guidelines.