How to make money cooking (10 fun ideas)

Love preparing food? Check out these cooking jobs you can do.

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There’s nothing quite like having a good meal, and most people would pay good money for a delicious plate of food. If you’re a whiz in the kitchen, you should be excited to know that there are plenty of ways to make money with food!

From selling yummy treats to teaching people how to make delectable dishes, there are many cooking side hustles you can pick up. Whether you’re a talented home cook or a trained professional chef, use your talent and skills to earn extra cash. Read on and find out how to make money cooking.

Cooking jobs for anyone who loves to cook

You don’t have to be a professional chef to make money with food. Cooking gigs can be a fantastic source of income for a home cook. If you’re wondering how to make money cooking from home, here are a few ideas for cooking businesses you should be interested in.

1. Sell your favorite dishes to friends, family, and colleagues

If you want to know how to make money selling food from home in the most obvious way, it’s by directly selling your cooking to the people closest to you. If you’re thinking, “What kind of food can I sell to make money?” you can cook up your signature dish and sell it for lunch at work or dinner to your friends to jumpstart your cooking business.

Many people are looking for good home cooking, and once your dishes are popular with people you know, you’ll be ready to sell them to strangers. Once you make that step, look into opening a home restaurant and putting your food for sale via online delivery services.

2. Sell premade food and home products

Premade food like jams, baked goods, and cured meats are always a good way to use your culinary skills to make money cooking for others. You can also sell home products like flavored salts and spice mixes. Research any gaps in the market so you know what food to sell to make money in your area.

3. Create a social dining experience

friends having drinks out

An innovative way to make extra money by cooking from home is by creating a social dining experience. By advertising yourself on social media or social dining platforms, you can invite strangers to dining experiences you curate yourself. Whether you set up an intimate dinner party with a few people or create a pop-up restaurant in your home, social dining lets you test your cooking skills in a pseudo-restaurant setting. 

4. Start a food blog or vlog

If you can make creative recipes or have a unique cuisine that no one is writing about yet, you can look into starting a food blog. It’s also a great starting point if you want to know how to make money with cooking videos. A cooking blog accompanied by a YouTube channel showing your readers how to make your recipes would mean two different income streams from the same content bucket.

5. Start a meal prep service

cook preparing a meal prep plan

Another service you can provide is meal prep. Clients hire cooks to prepare meals for them for several days that get delivered to their doorsteps. They can reheat or microwave the food during their meal times, so they’re provided with a quick and satisfying meal without doing any of the cooking.

Meal prep services also cater to specific diets, such as keto and vegan diets. With the meal prep side hustle, you get the creativity of preparing meal plans for different people that also help them meet their dietary needs in a delicious way.

Cooking jobs for experienced chefs

For trained chefs, there are plenty of freelance cooking jobs and other income streams to make extra cash besides working on the line. Read the list below to learn how to make extra money as a chef.

6. Work as a private chef

private chef preparing a meal

If working in a restaurant isn’t your cup of tea, but you still want to cook for a living, it might be time to look for private chef gigs. While personal chefs used to only be in demand for the rich and famous, it’s becoming more affordable than you think.

Private chefs now work with all sorts of clients, cooking all kinds of food — from fancy sit-down dinners to easy-to-eat lunchboxes. If you’re looking for a private chef job, communicate with your clients openly and extensively to satisfy their dietary needs.

7. Write a cookbook

Publishing a cookbook might feel like something only a celebrity chef can do, but it’s a viable income stream for any chef these days. There are plenty of tools that can be used to self-publish your own cookbook. Once people show interest in your recipes, it might be time to look into publishing a book filled with them.

8. Teach cooking classes

chef teaching culinary class

If you’re a certified chef, you’re also qualified to teach others to make delicious food. Plenty of amateur cooks are looking to level up their culinary skills and are willing to pay a reasonable fee for classes from a good chef.

Holding face-to-face classes can be a more intimate experience for your students, but it’s also possible to teach cooking lessons online over Zoom or Skype. It would also be helpful to find a niche cuisine or cooking style to teach your students to differentiate your course from all the other cooking classes.

9. Open your own restaurant (or open a new branch for an existing restaurant)

restaurant staff opening up shop

Most chefs dream of opening their own restaurant, and it’s a valid revenue stream if you want to make more money while cooking. Becoming the chef and the owner of a restaurant gives you complete control of the operation, letting you sell the food you want to make. Make sure you research, develop a unique concept and work relentlessly to know the ins and outs of opening a restaurant. With proper planning, you can establish a profitable and sustainable restaurant.

10. Become a caterer

Cooking for a crowd requires a different skill from a traditional restaurant job, but if you can adapt your culinary skills, you can be a successful caterer. You can create a menu with your clients or create a menu of dishes you know you can successfully execute. Catering is a common side hustle for chefs because many events require big volumes of food.

Find cooking jobs on Airtasker

Whether or not you have restaurant experience, you can find food-related side hustles. These options are good opportunities if you’re not looking for side work in a restaurant, and these jobs can be found on Airtasker! Just set up a Tasker account, and the platform handles payment and insurance for you so you can make money quickly and easily.

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Frequently asked questions

Cooking is generally a very stable and in-demand career because everyone needs food to live. Its stability depends on how consistent and flexible your business or service is, so make sure you adapt to the times as food trends come and go.

It all starts with culinary skill. While going to cooking school is optional, having a good grasp of different cooking techniques and flavors is required to make delicious food that you can sell at a reasonable price.

The food industry is big with a lot of competition, so creating a food business these days requires a unique concept paired with a good quality product. Start looking for a gap in your area’s market, then match it up with your skill set to find a great product you can sell.

There are various ways to make money from cooking, so this can vary. On Airtasker, it’s possible to earn up to $779 on average for 1-2 cooking-related tasks in the platform. If you want something more consistent, consider a stable job like being a private chef. This will be a little more dependable than a business that requires you to sell food.

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