Do You Need A License For A Home-Based Cooking Class Business?

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Cooking Class License

A Cooking Class Business can be as small or as large as you want. Licensing requirements will change based on the size and location of your classes.

Over the last 15 years of being self-employed in food-related businesses, my wife and I have offered cooking classes in a number of settings. We find those classes both fun and profitable.

I learned a lot in those years about how to offer those classes legally with the correct permits and licenses.

Do you need a license to start a Cooking Class Business at home?

In most locations, you will need a general business license to start a Cooking Class Business and you might need additional food-related permits based on your location. To know for sure if you need additional permits you’ll need to contact the correct local officials. There are ways to design a Cooking Class Business that will avoid most licensing requirements.

Now let’s dig into the details of what licenses and permits you might need and how to find out for sure in your location.

Find Out If You Need A General Business License In Your Location

In our small city, there is no requirement for a General Business License to run a Cooking Class Business, but just down the road in our neighboring larger city, every business has to have such a license.

To find out what the deal is in your area you’ll start with Google.

Just search “CITY, STATE Business License Application” and replace CITY & STATE with the name of your own town and state. Once your search results come up, look for a site near the top that is a local government office. You’re looking for a .GOV website.

It should be pretty quick to find out if you need that general business license.

To be safe, go ahead and check for county licensing requirements too. Just replace the CITY, STATE with COUNTY, STATE.

Once you know about a general business license, we can start thinking about other potential licenses required.

But first, let’s talk about how you might be able to design your new Cooking Class Business to avoid a lot of these license requirements.

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Designing Your Cooking Class Business For Fewer Licenses Required

It is very likely that you won’t need any kind of food-related license if you provide the service of Cooking Classes in your client’s homes. Basically, you’ll be a Personal Chef who is also teaching a cooking class while helping your clients prepare a meal.

Don’t dismiss this idea too quickly, because it has the potential to be a lucrative way to offer Cooking Classes with very little overhead.

Imagine offering cooking classes as part of a dinner party, birthday party, or just a girls-night-out. Good wine and good food while the host’s guests learn a new cooking skill.

You might also be able to offer cooking classes in existing licensed commercial kitchens. Most churches have commercial kitchens available for rent, as do some community centers and private clubs.

Finally, you could look into offering the cooking classes in your own home, though you’ll need to check with your local officials to see if this is allowed.

Your first call to find out should be to your county health department. They’ll help you find out which department regulates such things in your community.

Just Google “COUNTY, STATE Health Department” but replace COUNTY and STATE with your location.


You are less likely to need a license to open a Cooking Class Business if you keep it as a service and offer that service either in your client’s homes or in a rented commercial kitchen.

Before you start a Cooking Class Business, you should verify what licenses you need in your location.



With over 15 years of experience starting, running, and growing home-based food businesses, Stacey is the #1 home-based food business coach in America. Stacey is the author of the Advantage Meals: By The Numbers Book.

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