If you’re getting on an airplane to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family or friends, and you’re in charge of bringing some favorite dishes, it’s probably a good idea to know which foods are allowed through a TSA checkpoint and those that are not allowed.

Most foods can be carried through a TSA checkpoint, but some items will be need to transported in checked luggage.

Think of it like this: If it’s a solid item, it can go through a checkpoint. However, if you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it, or pour it and it’s larger than 3.4 ounces, then it needs to go in a checked bag.

Items allowed in carry-on bags (Photo Credit: TSA)
Items allowed in carry-on bags (Photo Credit: TSA)

Thanksgiving foods that can be carried through a TSA checkpoint include:

Baked goods: Homemade or store-bought pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, and other sweets.

Meat: Turkey, chicken, ham, steak; frozen, cooked, or uncooked.

Stuffing: Cooked or uncooked in a box or a bag

Casseroles: Traditional green beans and onion straws, or something more exotic

Mac n’ Cheese: Cooked in a pan or traveling with the ingredients to cook at your holiday destination.

Fresh vegetables: Potatoes, yams, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beets, radishes, carrots, squash, and greens

Fresh Fruit: Apples, pears, pineapple, lemons, limes, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, and kiwi.

Candy and spices

Items that must be packed in checked bags (Photo Credit: TSA)
Items that must be packed in checked bags (Photo Credit: TSA)

Thanksgiving foods that should be carefully packed in checked luggage include:

Cranberry sauce: Homemade or canned are spreadable, so check them.

Gravy: Homemade or in a jar/can

Beverages: Wine, champagne, and sparkling apple cider

Canned fruit or vegetables: (they have liquid in the can so check them).

Spreadables: Preserves, jams, jellies, and maple syrup.

Keep in mind that food items often need additional security screening so it is best to place those items in an easily accessible location of the carry-on when packing them, and then remove those items from the bag and place them in a bin for screening.

If you’re not sure if a food item should be packed in a carry-on or a checked bag, take a look at the TSA homepage, which has a helpful “What can I bring?” section.

Happy and safe travels!

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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