Side hustles can be amazing. They offer a good way to increase your income, without all the constraints that come with finding a second job or part-time work. But, it’s important to find the right side hustle. You want a side hustle that pays well and suits your needs.
Today we’re focusing on food-related side hustles. One of these could be an ideal choice for anyone who loves food or cooking.
The most obvious approach is making food to sell, like homemade jam or even jerky. Don’t worry if this style sounds like too much work – we’re considering a variety of other food-related options in this list. Some of them are more directly linked to food than others and they’re all interesting approaches to consider.
If you aren't into making and selling food, or even really be involved with the “food” process at all, you can always turn to food delivery gigs which are increasingly popular with the Covid-19 pandemic going around. The great thing about capitalism is that as some industries tank, others burgeon, and now is a great opportunity to make money delivery food to people who are self-quarantined.
Food Related Side Hustles By Category
Food Side Hustles That Involve Cooking
1. Cooking From Home
There are a few different sites that literally allow you to earn money by cooking at home. The first is Eat Feastly, which provides Experts with the chance to showcase their expertise and share menus.
Events hosted through Eat Feastly tend to be pricy, but the quality of the food matches the level of service. Eat Feastly also allows Experts to develop articles for the site and promote their experiences that way. The biggest challenge is that Eat Feastly focuses on chefs, so it may not be suitable for everyone.
A more down-to-earth alternative is Eatwith. Like Feastly, Eatwith focuses on the idea of preparing food. Eatwith now operates in more than 130 countries, providing plenty of unusual experiences for visitors.
To earn, you would join Eatwith as a Host. Hosts can provide meals, cooking classes or food tours. You can decide what you’re going to offer, along with the price that you want to charge.
Listing an experience through Eatwith is free, so there’s little risk in the process. If you get payments and your experience goes ahead, then Eatwith charges a 20% commission.
The final option is Meal Sharing, which offers a variety of different types of dining. There are other sites out there too, but these three should give you a taste of the idea.
You could also run with the idea on your own. This might involve advertising locally. While it might take time to get started, with the right marketing, you could make a splash.
To make this work as a side hustle, you would need to plan carefully. You would need to price tickets so that you turn a profit, even after you pay for the ingredients and any other costs.
2. Making And Selling Food
Making food at home and then selling it is an obvious angle for food lovers. This is also a field that you can get very creative in. Think about things that might be in demand locally, like sugar free cookies, homemade fudge or gluten-free bread.
The sky’s the limit in terms of what you can make. You might even create multiple types of food and sell them locally at market stalls.
However, there are some considerations.
The first is that you need to turn a profit. This means pricing your food well. Make sure you consider the cost of your ingredients and what happens if you don’t sell all items in a batch.
You’ll need to find somewhere to sell the food too. Local markets are a common choice, especially if you’re offering products that others aren’t. You may be able to turn online too. For example, some Etsy sellers do offer homemade products, like chocolates.
It’s also important to look at the legal requirements for your location. There are often laws surrounding homemade food. You may need to have a specific type of kitchen or follow exact processes to keep your food safe.
These requirements may even make some food side hustles impractical, so you’ll need to do your research before getting started.
3. Being A Caterer
Catering is another interesting way to make money, especially if you’re good in the kitchen.
Now, being a fully fledged caterer that provides food for large events won’t be the right angle for everyone. While this can be a profitable approach, profit margins are often slim and the role can be highly stressful.
People tend to hire catering for pretty important events too, so potential customers often wouldn’t be willing to hire an unknown company, simply to save themselves a little money.
Thankfully, there are other approaches. One is to focus on more casual occasions. You might also emphasize a specific type of food. What about providing ethnic food that could be enjoyed by large groups at picnics or school events?
Finger food is another fun option, especially if you’re targeting events for kids or families.
4. Food Truck Or Food Stall
Having a food stall or a food truck is perfect for aspiring chefs, as the commitment is much less than opening a restaurant. You could easily make money by setting up at local fairs and events.
Summer is a great time to make money in this way. There are plenty of events to go around, especially when the weather is good.
This is a side hustle that you’ll need to research. You’ll want to know the competition in your area, as well as the types of events that you could offer your food at.
Figuring out an interesting angle would be important too. You’ll often be competing against other stalls or food trucks. You don’t need to be better than them all, but you won’t do well if you’re just offering a lower quality version of what some other companies are selling.
5. Be A Personal Chef
Personal chefs aren’t just for the rich and famous, and the gig economy is reaching new audiences in every aspect of the food service industry. There are plenty of other situations where people need someone to cook for them, especially if they are unable to cook themselves.
As such, many customers won’t be looking for a highly qualified chef. They simply need someone who can provide tasty and healthy food at home.
The site Chefs for Seniors has tapped into this market, offering families a great alternative to having pre-cooked meals delivered. Chefs for this particular service do the shopping, cook meals for an entire week and do all of the clean up.
This doesn’t mean that they’re in the home every night. They may just do one or two cooking sessions instead and rely on meal prep approaches. Chefs cook in the home of the client, as this provides a personal touch and social connection.
There aren’t many companies offering this type of service, which makes powerful as a side hustle. Targeting seniors is an interesting area too, as adult children are often worried about making sure that their parents eat well.
6. Create A YouTube Cooking Channel
YouTube has become popular as a way to earn. And, why not? If you love to be in front of a camera, turning your passion into income just makes sense.
The main way to earn is through YouTube Partner Program. You need to have a decent number of subscribers to be eligible for this program. Even once you are part of it, your income can vary dramatically.
Still, cooking is a popular topic and there is plenty of potential out there. You could create a channel that is purely based on teaching people how to cook, including basic techniques and more complex ones.
Alternatively, you could focus on recipes instead. Interesting and tasty meals are a must, but you don’t need to be inventing entirely new dishes every time.
While YouTube has its advantages, I would never recommend it as your only source of income. Relying on a single income stream is always limited and YouTube has its own complexities.
Many successful YouTubers use other techniques as well, including their own website. Doing so works especially well for cooking. A website gives you the chance to produce different content, including recipes that people can print. The combination of a cooking site and a YouTube channel seems to work especially well.
7. Hold Classes
Cooking classes offer a fun way to share your knowledge with people. Holding classes is an especially good choice for extroverts, as you need to maintain the attention of your students.
Classes work well for income, as you’re able to collect a fee from every participant. This allows you to keep the cost per person low, while still earning a decent amount.
Precisely what you teach is up to you. The most obvious angle is to teach people the basics of cooking, but this isn’t all that you can do.
What about meal prep? A few classes on meal prep could be fantastic for busy people who want to make cooking easier.
Another option would be focusing on a specific audience, like seniors or people with diabetes. Such classes could teach people how to make food that matches their nutritional needs and still tastes good.
You could do this in a one-on-one environment too, where you are working with a single person – providing teaching and feedback. Having just one student means fewer people to earn from, but you can charge more for this type of service than for a class.
Cooking isn’t the only angle to consider either. You could have other types of food-related classes, such as a class that teaches people the basics of nutrition or perhaps one on weight loss.
8. Create Food Courses
Holding classes in person isn’t the only way to teach people about food. Creating an online course can be an equally interesting approach. We’ve already talked about having a YouTube cooking channel, but creating a course is a little bit different.
For one thing, cooking channels tend to focus on individual recipes and perhaps some cooking techniques from time-to-time. A course has a greater focus on teaching skills and information. Sometimes you might be creating a series of courses, while other times you might be just making a video or two.
Skillshare is one site that works in this field. Their Lifestyle category contains a variety of classes, including some that relate to food. I saw a course on meal prep basics, which had more than 2,000 students, along with one on yeast dough, with more than 2,800 students.
These courses show that you don’t just need to focus on cooking. You might teach people about a particular healthy eating approach instead. You could even talk about a healthy lifestyle in general, with food being just one topic.
9. Make Your Own Cookbook
If you’re creative in the kitchen, how about making a cookbook? While there are tons of cookbooks out there, demand remains strong, especially if you have an interesting angle to talk about.
A cookbook could be a powerful way to make money in the long-term, especially if you could get consistent sales. Just be aware that the initial workload is significant – and success isn’t guaranteed.
You would need to take high-quality photos for your book, while making sure all of the recipes are accurate and as good as they can be. Marketing yourself is important too. A website is an invaluable tool for doing so.
For that matter, many people start out with their own food blog and only create a cookbook once they have an audience. This way they have people to promote their product to, which creates a better chance of success.
Food And Animal Side Hustles
10. Raising Chicken For Eggs
This side hustle that combines animals and food. The idea of raising chickens for eggs doesn’t require much explaining, but there are some important areas to consider.
For one thing, you need to be sure that you can raise chickens in your local area. If you’re in the country, perfect. If you’re in town, you’ll need to check your local regulations. These can vary dramatically.
You’ll also need to carefully plan and research. After all, it costs to buy chickens, to feed them and to keep them healthy. To turn a profit, you’ll need to be getting enough eggs regularly and selling them at the right price.
You generally get somewhere from $2.50 to $5.00 for a dozen farm fresh eggs, depending on where you live. This can create a fairly slim profit margin, as chicken feed can be expensive. Still, the potential for income is there, especially if you can scale up your operation.
11. Keeping Bees
If you love natural food, particularly honey, then beekeeping could be a very interesting way to make money. You’re not limited to just earning from honey either. Beeswax, propolis and bee pollen are also marketable products.
The main limitation is that beekeeping isn’t something to take on lightly. Even just setting up a hive or two can be expensive and very involved. You’ll probably need expert guidance to get started.
You’re also not going to make much honey in the first year – perhaps only 20 to 30 pounds. First-time beekeepers can still earn a decent amount, especially if they vary the products that they offer (such as selling different bottle sizes and offering cut-comb honey).
More than anything, beekeeping is a long-term side hustle. It is best suited for people who are passionate about the field. You need to be willing to be patient and work on your business over time.
It’s best to consider homesteading as a lifestyle, rather than a side hustle. You wouldn’t normally start homesteading as a way to make money. But, if you’re already interested in the idea, then making money at the same time may be a logical approach.
Homesteading offers no shortage of food-based ways to make money. In fact, raising chickens and keeping bees are both a natural fit for homesteading. There are other animal-related approaches too, like selling milk or raising animals for meat.
You also have the chance to grow and sell your own fruit and vegetables, along with any products that you make from them.
Demand for fresh and healthy food continues to grow, which can make homesteading a lucrative lifestyle. Even so, you’ll still need to plan and think about which income approaches are going to be the best for you. And remember – these are just side hustles we're listing. You don't have to go full on Bear Grillis to make some money in the sharing economy.
Side Hustles Without Cooking
13. Deliver Food
Food delivery services fall into two general categories. The first is where you are delivering cooked food from restaurants to customers. These are typically restaurants that don’t offer delivery services themselves.
The other style is where you’re delivering items from grocery stores and similar locations. This approach tends to be more involved, as you often need to select the products from the store as well.
Both styles give you the chance to earn from food, without having to cook anything. Of course, you’re not doing much with the food, so this mightn’t be the best choice for you.
This is also a field that you could branch out into on your own. While food delivery services are popular, there are many areas that they don’t serve.
If you were going to try this angle on your own, grocery delivery would probably be more powerful. Delivering groceries lets you avoid the complexity of dealing with fast food and restaurant takeaways. Plus, everyone needs groceries.
You could focus on promoting to a specific audience, such as seniors who have limited mobility or busy mothers who do not have much time. Local marketing would work well for this type of service,
14. Sell Food-Related Items
While making food and selling it might sound ideal for many people, the legal complexities could make the whole process far too frustrating. Besides, food tends to have a limited shelf life. This can be a serious problem if you’re not sure about the number of sales that you’ll get.
Food-related items are a good alternative. You’re still able to focus on food, without needing to deal with many (or any) food safety laws.
There are countless product types to consider too. For example, if you have a background in woodworking, you could consider items like chopping boards, rolling pins or spatulas. These are all popular items. You could even customize them to create something truly unique.
You’re not limited to products for cooking either. What about food art? I’ve seen some Etsy sellers make food jewelry too and items like chocolate-scented soap.
15. Designing Restaurant Menus
Designing menus for restaurants is a fun side hustle if you love food, but you don’t want to try and earn money by making it. The idea here focuses on the design component – making menus look good visually and ensuring that they read well.
Large restaurants have their menus down pat, of course, and aren’t likely to need your help. But, there are many small restaurants that don’t know what they’re doing with menus.
Sometimes the menu has poor-quality black and white pictures. Other times it is out of date, has incorrectly spelled words or even makes no sense.
A small business isn’t going to have the money to hire a professional design company to develop a new menu for them, but many could afford your services, especially if you show them what you can do. After all, a poor menu could easily lead to fewer sales for the restaurant,
16. Food Photography
Here’s another design-focused food idea – food photography. While just about everyone has a camera phone in their pocket these days, there’s still plenty of demand for high-quality food photography.
There is certainly an art to the process, including the type of camera that you use, the lighting, the environment and the composition. This means that not everyone will be able to do it.
You could market food photography as a service locally or online. For example, small businesses might not have the skills to photograph their food well themselves (I’ve certainly seen many where this is the case).
You could even build a website to showcase your photography work and convince businesses why they need better food images.
17. Writing About Food
Being a food writer is a powerful side hustle, as you can put your own spin on the idea. For example, you might choose to just write about food, or you might do your own cooking and post recipes.
Many people take this approach through a food blog. There are countless examples of blogs in this field, with more popping up regularly. Yet, there is still money to be made, as no two food blogs are exactly alike.
Having a site of your own gives you an audience that you can take advantage of. Some writers use affiliate marketing to promote products and services. Others rely on display ads instead or perhaps a combination of both. It’s even possible to develop your own products over time – like a recipe book.
While building your own site is a powerful technique, it isn’t the only way to earn from food writing. Many sites allow you to submit food articles and may even pay you for them. We’ve covered a variety of these in our post about getting paid to write about food.
You can also keep an eye out for local magazines and newspapers. Even if they’re not advertising for writers, some may be open to the idea if you pitch it to them.
18. Network Marketing
Some network marketing companies can seem like a good choice for foodies too. Pampered Chef did the rounds for some time, which focused on products for the kitchen, along with spices and the like.
While network marketing companies can be a source of income, they’re often not as good as they sound. Making consistent sales tends to be difficult. You’ll often find that current customers get sick of the idea after a while, forcing you to keep expanding your reach over time.
It’s also important to pay close attention to the requirements. Some companies have minimum monthly sales targets, which can be difficult to meet.
It’s also critical to make sure that you don’t end up spending more money than you make. This is very relevant for food-based companies, as some expect you to prepare meals or provide samples as part of the party process.
I’m not a fan of network marketing at the best of times and the style really doesn’t combine well with food. Customers tend to be more interested in fresh food, which you can’t really promote through network marketing.
19. Enter Recipe Contests
Recipe contests are hit and miss, as there is every chance that you won’t win. Still, winning a recipe contest will provide you with some money. You might get some exposure for your recipes too.
Taste of Home has recipe contests that you can enter. They also offer the chance to submit recipes based on topics. There aren’t many details about what you can earn, but the site is a good place to start.