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cottage food community


Illinois recently passed an amendment to their previous law, so they now essentially have two different laws in place. This page covers the older law (still in effect), which is for “cottage food operations”. The new law is for “home kitchen operations,” which you should use if you want to sell baked goods outside of farmers markets. Aside from being able to sell outside of farmers markets, the new law is more restrictive than this older one.

This law only lets you sell cottage foods at a farmers market, and you can sell up to $25,000 or products per year. The startup cost for your cottage food operation could be as low as $100, but it could be higher if your local health department has decided to charge fees for registration and an inspection. This law is also very specific about what types of food are allowed, but it includes the most common ones.

A new amendment (HB 2486) has been passed, which will go into effect on January 1st, 2016. This amendment will raise the sales limit to $36,000 per year and will let the health department add to the allowed food list. Cottage food operations will also be able to sell from farms and through CSAs for certain types of products.


At the point of sale, you must put up a prominent placard that says “This product was produced in a home kitchen not subject to public health inspection that may also process common food allergens.” (this is in addition to placing that statement on product labels)

Allowed Foods

The laws explicitly state which kinds of pies, jam, jelly, preserves, and fruit butters are allowed — please check the bill to see the full list.

Only "non-potentially hazardous" foods are allowed, but certain non-PHFs may not be allowed. Most foods that don't need to be refrigerated (foods without meat, cheese, etc.) are considered non-potentially hazardous. Learn more


Sales are limited to $25,000 per year

If the $25,000 per year limit is not enough, you can sell baked goods as a home kitchen operation and make an extra $1,000 per month.



You must register with the health department before selling cottage foods under this law, and usually there is no fee to do so. The department cannot charge more that $25 per year for registration.

Food Service Sanitation Management Certificate

You must take a class and receive a “Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification” from the health department, which takes about 8 hours to complete and costs at least $35.

By default, the only requirements for a cottage food operation are a no-fee registration and a certificate. However, an individual health department has the option to charge a fee (up to $25 per year) for registration and mandate a home inspection, which may also incur a fee.

If you are only making baked goods, you can bypass the above requirements by becoming a home kitchen operation.


Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"This product was produced in a home kitchen not subject to public health inspection that may also process common food allergens."

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, IL 73531

Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), butter (cream, salt), semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavors), brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract, alcohol, sugar), baking soda, salt (salt, calcium silicate)

Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy

Produced on 8/30/2015


In addition to (or instead of) your home kitchen, you can use another residential or commercial kitchen on your property.


Law Dates
January 2012
SB 0840
June 2014
HB 5354
June 2014
HB 5657
January 2016
HB 2486
This page was last updated on


Hi my son wants to sell cheesecakes and I was wondering would he be able to sell them under these particular regulations or if you can give me advice about what Avenue he would take to do so. This will be a home based business these would be mostly special orders packed and distributed immediately from a cooling station, also will he need some type of license for baking or cooking.

Hi. I’m looking into starting a business with cupcakes, cookies, and chocolates covered foods. Where would the chocolate covered food fall under?

A friend of mine purchased a truck. Which the turned into a food truck. But there is no cooking done on the truck. All food is prepared on the grill. Ribs, chicken, pulled pork, hot dogs etc. All the food is washed and prepared in the house. But not cooked until we get to the site. The only thing that is done on the truck is keeping the food warm and packaging. Winnebago Health Dept. will not allow it because there is no commercial kitcken. But went to another county in IL and no problem with them. But the location is an hour 1/2 hr there and back.

    Quite frankly, I’m shocked that an IL county’s health dept has no problem with meat being prepared and cooked in a home kitchen and then sold. It is their job to prevent that from happening.

I make dip mixes from commercial spices (McCormick, etc.). I blend and package in my home kitchen. Is this allowed? And, can they be sold at Craft/Vendor Fairs?

I’ve been loking over regulations, and requirements, but I still have a question whether if im trying to start a “meat sauce” a BBQ like sauce that would taste good “on all meats” ( not including seafood and seafood like dishes” would I still have to find a commercial kitchen or can I make the sauce in a home kitchen?


I am looking into a pasta sauce venture. It looks as if the cottage law does not apply to this. Do you know where I could find information about pasta sauces, most likely containing tomatoes?


Hi there. I have a friend who is looking to start a lollipop business. I am assuming that doesn’t fall under the category of baked candy. Is there any other way she can do this without a commercial kitchen. Thanks.

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