Woman writes in a notebook while looking at her laptop. She is in a kitchen surrounded by home-baked goods.
Home-based bakeries can be fun and financially rewarding business pathways, with the right idea, execution, customer base as well as licenses and permits. — Getty Images/Orbon Alija

From homemade cookies and bread to DIY pizza dough, home baking as a hobby exploded in popularity during the pandemic. Baking fervor drove large spikes in category sales, with 84% of the U.S. population reporting to have whipped up batches of comfort confections at home, largely as a fun and comforting form of self-care. Some even turned their newfound pastime into profit.

Home-based bakeries can be fun and successful ventures, providing a feel-good, flexible and financially rewarding business ownership pathway that many entrepreneurs crave. With endless flavors and unlimited ingredient variations, recipes and themes, the options are limited only by one’s creativity. To get you started, here are 10 fresh-baked business concepts. As you consider the possibilities, keep in mind that this cottage industry comes with many licensing and permitting regulations, which vary by state.

Allergy-friendly baked goods

Dessert options can be very limited for the 32 million people in the U.S. living with food allergies. Many store-bought baked items are made with ingredients that are among the eight major allergens or are made through processes or in facilities that put items at risk of cross-contamination. Individuals with specific allergies, like allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, may not easily find tasty and beautiful sweets that they can eat. Addressing this need can welcome a new segment to your customer community.

It’s essential that an allergen-free bakery business maintains an environment that is truly free of allergens as advertised — including ingredients supplied by other vendors as well as cleaning products.

Baking classes for kids

Parents are always looking for kids activities that educate, entertain and nurture creativity. Baking does all three, and creating a business around teaching children how to bake can be fulfilling and fun for a teacher-baker-entrepreneur. You can create a program around a theme or dessert category, then gather young master chefs around a well-equipped kitchen table or island. Take them through a recipe with easy-to-follow steps that builds important concepts like reading (reading recipes), math (measuring ingredients) and science (mixing and baking ingredients).

Bring your special brand of baking to local camps, community centers and libraries. You can promote your classes by posting on relevant local social media groups and advertising on local parent-centered websites.

Cookie delivery

There are few sweets as universally loved as fresh-from-the-oven cookies. On average, 20% of Americans report eating more than three cookies a day, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for cookies rose 25%. A Bake Magazine survey found that cookies are the top item produced by 89% of bakeries. If you crave a life of catering to the cookie-obsessed, setting up a home cookie delivery service could be your calling.

You can keep the menu limited to a signature cookie or two, or create a collection of rotating flavors. Determine your delivery radius so local customers can order cookies online or through an app, whether they order for themselves or send them to friends, family, neighbors, or teachers. Consider your packaging, then build buzz by delivering free samples to local influencers and those with a large or loyal social media following. You can also rent space at community events, festivals, fairs and markets to sell your products.

Dessert charcuterie boards

Charcuterie has become an art form. It has moved beyond meats and cheeses and into the dessert domain. Artfully arranged and colorful confections have taken over social media with themes spanning every holiday and occasion. To start, you need wooden boards — lots of them — in various sizes and shapes. You will also need a variety of statement sweets, like cookies, dessert bars, meringues, pound cakes, petit donuts and mini cupcakes. Use your imagination to lay them out in fun and interesting groupings. Then, add accents of fruit and candy.

Social media is the perfect place to promote your mouth-watering and artful charcuterie presentations. Create accounts on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, and post your creations regularly. Make sure to bring your boards as gifts to parties and events, and watch the buzz and demand build organically.

Once you're consistently posting content on your baking blog, you can integrate contextually relevant affiliate links to help drive income. As you build a consistent audience of fans and followers, you can consider options to generate revenue with Google AdSense, banner ads and content sponsorships.

Baking blog

For the baker who loves to write or the writer who loves to bake, blogging can afford you the best of both worlds. Your blog can generate revenue by providing baking-obsessed readers with regularly posted content of delicious creations. Start with a unique, signature recipe, and build your brand and voice as an expert with captivating content and drool-worthy images. Your content should make baking exciting, easy-to-follow and fun. Build your brand, connect with your audience and maximize engagement with behind-the-scenes images, dynamic content and fun captions on Instagram.

Once you're consistently posting content on your baking blog, you can integrate contextually relevant affiliate links to help drive income. As you build a consistent audience of fans and followers, you can consider options to generate revenue with Google AdSense, banner ads and content sponsorships.

YouTube baking channel

If you are comfortable in front of the camera and can attract and guide viewers through a recipe in an engaging way, there are huge audiences looking for online food gurus to help them elevate their cooking and baking skills. Having your own YouTube channel can be a fun way to bring your brand to the masses and make money doing it. You’ll need much more than killer recipes though. It’s all about detailed planning, creating the right environment and using your gift of gab to connect with hungry audiences in a way that will keep them coming back. YouTube’s Creator Academy is a great place to learn the basics and build your brand.

Once you’ve used a variety of best practices, like SEO, to create your channel and establish an engaged viewership, you can think about monetizing your videos with sponsorships and product placements.

Dessert catering

Dessert spreads are often the most anticipated part of any party, and the best desserts are both artfully designed and delicious. If you're a decorator-dessertist, you can bake your way to a business by delivering on-trend and coveted confections and creating attention-grabbing buffet tablescapes for parties, events and special occasions.

Create a menu of desserts and packages, get baking, then stage themed tables to photograph and begin building a captivating website and social media presence. Reach out to party planners, country clubs, catering spaces and other event venues to generate awareness and excitement about your services. You can also use the opportunity to build relationships for future referrals.

Baked party favors

Celebrations, big and small, often end on a sweet note, and many hosts want to wow their guests and make a lasting impression on them. Edible party favors have become a must-have for many occasions, from bridal showers and weddings to birthday parties and bar mitzvahs, and even corporate events.

Custom themes and unique personalizations are great ways to set yourself apart from the competition in this fast-growing segment of food catering. Think cute and clever: mini churros, macaroons, small wedding cake replicas, or cake pops. Then, source the perfect statement packaging that is complete with your branding, website and social handles, and you can use them to promote your business.

Mobile bakery

A bakery on wheels is a great way to deliver irresistible, straight-from-the-oven sweets to customers in high-traffic places, like professional complexes, college campuses, or shopping destinations. It’s also a unique catering option for party hosts who want to punctuate their event with something novel and memorable.

While bringing baked goods to the masses can equate to a higher volume of sales, mobile bakeries are among the more costly home baking startups. You will need to invest in and outfit a truck, trailer or cart to reflect your brand. You’ll also need equipment to bake and display your desserts. And, don’t forget the required licenses and permits. Fortunately, several financing options exist to help get you up and running.

Cookbook author

If you have a recipe box filled with desserts that command rave reviews, why not share them with cookbook enthusiasts who eat up the baking category at bookstores? In fact, baking cookbook sales have increased by 42% from 2020 to 2021. The best way to get started is to identify a concept based on your skills and passion that reflects what’s trending in the market. You may want to focus on a specific category of dessert, holiday or food sensitivity, or even appeal to your intended audience on a social-emotional level. Develop a collection of recipes to include and organize them in a way that tells a story and takes readers on a journey. Test and perfect your recipes, not only for their quality, but also for the ease of following them.

Photographs or illustrations are a key part of cookbook sales, so it is essential to learn how to take great food shots, or hire someone who specializes in food styling and photography. Finally, to get your book into circulation, you’ll need to craft a proposal to use when pitching your book to publishers. Or, you can also explore the world of self-publishing.

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