At-home Food Allergy Test kit components (including sample collection card and lancets)

How to test for food allergy: here's what you need to know

Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

Food allergies, such as a peanut allergy, should be taken very seriously. Allergic reactions to food can range from mild symptoms (like eye-watering and lip swelling) to a severe allergic reaction like anaphylaxis, and experts are still researching potential cures. [1]

If you suspect that you have a food allergy, testing is crucial to managing your diet and preventing reactions.

In this guide, we’ll explore how to test for a food allergy by breaking down what a food allergy test does, whether or not you might need one, the types of tests available, how to prepare for a test, and how to interpret the results of your test. We’ll also explore at-home food allergy testing, a tool that can help you prevent adverse reactions and manage your food allergies from the comfort of your home.

Do you need a food allergy test?

You should seek out food allergy testing if:

  • You suspect (or a medical provider confirms) that you’ve experienced an allergic reaction while eating or cooking
  • You have a family history of severe food allergies

Some food allergies produce mild reactions, which can be easily missed. Be mindful of the following common symptoms of an allergic reaction to food, and seek an allergy test if you experience them: [2]

  • Flushed skin
  • Hives or an itchy rash
  • Tingling in the mouth, face, or lips
  • Tongue, face, or lip swelling
  • Abdominal cramps or pain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Swelling of the throat or vocal cords
  • Breathing or speaking difficulties
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Anaphylaxis

Types of food allergy tests available

There are four allergy tests available: [3]

  1. Oral food challenge testing – In an oral food challenge test, you consume small quantities of suspected food allergens. At the same time, an allergist supervises your reactions (or lack thereof) to the food challenges.
  2. Elimination diet – If you only experience mild food allergy symptoms, you can determine which food allergen is causing an allergic reaction by eliminating suspected foods from your diet and slowly adding them back, monitoring your reactions carefully to uncover your allergy.
  3. Skin prick test – An allergist will place a small amount of suspected foods on your skin (skin testing is typically done on your back or your forearm), pricking the skin to more effectively expose your body to the specific food.
  4. Blood testing – During a blood test, you provide a blood sample to a lab, which will search for IgE antibodies—the most common antibody your body produces to fight an allergy-containing substance.

While oral challenge testing and skin patch testing should always be completed in a controlled environment while supervised by a healthcare provider, elimination dieting and blood testing can be done from home.

But, elimination dieting takes time—experts recommend dedicating at least four weeks for each food you eliminate. [4] With at-home blood testing, you can collect a finger-prick sample and send it back to a lab for results without having to visit a healthcare provider.

Preparing for a food allergy test

In preparation for a food allergy test, you should avoid all of the following for seven days before the test: [5]

  • Allergy medication and over-the-counter antihistamines (including nasal sprays)
  • Tricyclic antidepressant medication
  • Beta-blocker medications
  • Colognes, scented body lotions, or hair sprays

Interpreting the results of your food allergy test

While an in-office allergy test will be supervised by a healthcare provider who will interpret your results, you can also get help from medical experts if you opt for at-home allergy testing.

At Everlywell, all of our test results include an easy-to-understand guide to your specific reactions. You’ll receive personalized, detailed information about what your results mean for you.

Check for food allergies with at-home testing from Everlywell

The Everlywell at-home Food Allergy Test lets you check your body’s immunoglobulin E (IgE) reactivity to common food allergens. If your results indicate increased reactivity that may be associated with a food allergy, you will receive a call from a nurse to help with next steps.

How to test for peanut allergy at home: a quick guide

How to know if you have a food allergy

IgG vs. IgE antibodies: understanding the differences


  1. US Food and Drug Administration. Food Allergies. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  2. US Food and Drug Administration. Food Allergies: What You Need to Know. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  3. Medline Plus. Food Allergy Testing. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  4. University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. The Elimination Diet. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  5. University of Mississippi Medical Center. Preparation for Allergy Testing. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
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