12 Essential Tips that Make Traveling with Food So Much Easier
Keep your potluck dishes safe and sound with these genius tips for traveling with food.
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You’ve cooked your heart out and made something amazing for the potluck—but here comes the tricky part that no one ever talks about: how to get the food (safely!) there. We’ve compiled some of our time-tested tips for traveling with food. They’re perfect to use after making any of our top-rated potluck recipes.
Secure Your Slow Cooker
Nervous to place that steamy slow-cooker chili in the passenger seat? We were, too, until we found this genius trick to keeping the lid on tight: Grab a small bungee cord, hook each end onto the slow cooker’s side handles and then wrap it around (or thread it through) the lid’s top handle. Give it a wiggle to be sure it is good to go. Grab yourself a bungee cord to keep handy in the kitchen.
Line the Trunk
Collect your yoga mats or extra drawer liners before you place any dishes in your car. Line a trunk, or back seat, with these no-slip materials to keep food from slipping and sliding when you hit the interstate. You can trust your most elaborate layer cakes on this simple setup—but we get if you want to stick them on a friend’s lap in the front seat.
Build a Double-Decker Carrier
Bringing multiple goodies to the party? Go you! Here’s a great way to transport them all at once. Grab your cooling rack and a storage bin that’s slightly larger in size. Place one of your dishes on the bottom of the bin, set the cooling rack on top, then set another dish on top. Now you can make a double batch of one of our favorite 13×9 dessert recipes.
Make a To-Go Salad Kit
Here’s how to make a quick, travel-friendly salad, hassle-free: Prep all of your ingredients separately in reusable containers (we love these silicone storage bags from Stashable) and place them in a large serving bowl along with a bag of greens, a bottle of dressing and your serving tools. When you’ve reached your destination, simply toss everything together and serve.
Keep Cookies in Place
Cookies (like these quick, chewy maple cookies) are notorious for sliding off plates. Luckily, there’s a simple fix. Line the plate with a pretty kitchen towel or napkin and place your baked goods on top. Cover with plastic wrap, and your cookies won’t budge!
Prevent Cakes from Sliding
Before assembling the cake, place a dab of frosting in the middle of the cake plate—as well as on the cake board, if you are using one. The frosting acts as a glue to prevent the cake from slipping as you decorate, as well as staying put in the car. Psst! Here’s how to frost a cake the easy and elegant way.
Utilize Your Baking Sheets
Disposable foil pans are super useful, but they are prone to caving in under heavy bakes. (Case in point: This hefty lasagna recipe.) Instead of risking it, slide a baking sheet underneath for extra support.
Insulate with Yesterday’s Headlines
News flash: Newspaper makes a great insulator. Next time you need to keep something cold, line a cooler with your weekly paper and tuck it around and over your dish. This tip works great for cool, crisp dishes like this colorful spiral pasta salad.
Give tubs, like ones for sour cream, butter, yogurt or salad mix, an extra life! Rinse out used plastic containers and keep them on hand for future side dish duty. Up next: These 15-minute sides will save your sanity.
Bring Tools On the Go
Worried about transporting your niece’s birthday cake in the backseat? We’ve all been there. Make it a little easier on yourself by throwing your cake decorating tools in an emergency cake tool kit. Fix up smudges or add the final details once you arrive.
Transport Homemade Sauces and Soups Safely
No more sloshing soups and sauces. Pour homemade liquids in a soup canister, mason jar or in a large water bottle and place in your cupholder for the ride over. If your canister is too large for your cupholder, invest in a cupholder expander.