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9 Foods You Can Bring Through Airport Security—And 4 You Can’t

People are traveling all over the country right now! Let's clear up the TSA rules for foods you can—and can't—bring through airport security.

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TSA lines at Denver International Airport, Colorado.Shutterstock / Arina P Habich

Ready for a getaway? Knowing what food staples and gifts you can bring through airport security will save you and your fellow travelers time at the TSA checkpoint. Most of these apply only when you’re traveling within the United States, so make sure to check with customs about declaring any foods you’re bringing back from another country.

Here are some no-brainer snacks to pack for the plane, too. Safe travels!

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Marble cakeTaste of Home

YES: Cake

Homemade cake from Grandma baked with love? Favorite cake from your childhood bakery? They’re set to jet! Cakes may require additional inspection from TSA agents, but as long as it’s not an ice cream cake or some type of Jell-O mold, you can bring a cake along to your final destination.

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Apple Cherry Cream Cheese PieTaste of Home

YES: Pies

Most baked goods, both homemade and store-bought, are safe to go on board with you. We don’t imagine that you’d bring a pie or cake just on a dish through the airport, but it’s worth mentioning that your baked goods should be secured in a box or container to keep them safe.

Travel around the country without ever leaving your kitchen with these iconic pies from every state.

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Different sorts of CheeseShutterstock / Silberkorn

NO: Creamy Cheeses Over 3.4 Ounces

You could technically bring a block of cheddar as big as you like, but anything on the creamier side like brie, blue and cream cheese, needs to be less than 3.4 ounces to be in your carry-on bag.

Here’s the cheese you should be bringing back from a trip to Wisconsin.

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various spices in wooden spoons on old white wooden tableMaraZe/Shutterstock

YES: Spices

Found something unique during your trip? Have a loose tea that your friend just NEEDS to try? Things like salt, loose and bagged tea and dry spices are all allowed on board. Just make sure they’re labeled and separate from your toiletries and other food to prevent confusion and spillage!

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Fresh pizza with tomatoes, cheese and mushrooms on wooden table closeupShutterstock / Africa Studio

YES: Pizza

Just can’t wait to eat—or trying to grab dinner while you run through the terminal? Surprisingly, pizza is good to fly, although we assume you’ll eat your slices before you get to the gate. It should be wrapped up or in a box to pass TSA inspection, rather than being on a paper plate or dish.

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Glass jars with different kinds of jam and berries on wooden table5 second Studio/Shutterstock

NO: Jam and Jelly Over 3.4 Ounces

Even if the container is sealed, if it’s over 3.4 ounces, it’s got to go in your checked bag. You wouldn’t want to chance having to leave one of your famous jams behind! To be on the safe side, pack it in your checked bag in a plastic bag to prevent any accidental breakage and spillage onto your clothes or other things.

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assortment of vegetable pureeShutterstock / margouillat photo

YES: Baby Food

Don’t worry about having a hungry toddler while you’re on the go. Baby food is acceptable to bring through security—even if the amount exceeds the usual 3-1-1 rule. Just a heads up, TSA agents might open any container that’s over 4 ounces.

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Fresh fruit salad in close-upShutterstock / Robyn Mackenzie

YES: Fresh Fruit

You definitely want to snack on fresh fruit on the plane, but the price of fruit at the airport is bananas! Bring your own apples and oranges through security instead. (Maybe not a whole melon, but most snack-size fruit and veggies are good to fly.)

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Various bottles of Scotch whisky on the shelfZRyzner/Shutterstock

NO: Alcoholic Beverages Over 140 Proof

Just about the only flat-out NO for food and drinks you can’t bring on a plane at all is alcohol over 140 proof. It won’t make it through security in your checked bag or your carry-on. Less potent mini-bottles under 3.4 ounces can be brought through security, anything larger should be checked.

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Tin cans for food on wooden backgroundFabrikaSimf/Shutterstock

MAYBE: Canned Foods

We suggest leaving any canned items at home or packing them in your checked bag, even if they fall under the 3.4 ounce rule. Just to be on the safe side! These cans may require additional screening and not be allowed through with you to your final destination.

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Pet eating foot. Dog and cat eats food from bowlShutterstock / Gladskikh Tatiana

YES: Pet Food

Furry friends traveling on board with you? Make sure you clear them with your airline first, and don’t forget to bring their food. If your pet food is dry or “moist” it can exceed the 3-1-1 rule and go in your carry on bag, but if you need to bring wet pet food, it has to follow the 3-1-1 rule when going in your carry on.

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Manual breast pump and mother feeding at backgroundPavel Ilyukhin/Shutterstock

YES: Breast Milk and Formula

If you’re a new mom, baby formula and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities, but may require additional inspection. If you have them in a bag or small cooler with ice packs, just make sure the ice packs are completely frozen when going through security.

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Club sandwich with chicken breast, bacon, tomato, cucumber and herbsShutterstock / Timolina

YES: Sandwiches

Feed the family while you wait with a homemade sandwich, because PB&Js are cleared for takeoff! We’ve heard about people bringing a whole casserole through to the gate, but a classic sandwich is probably the best option. Just make sure it’s wrapped in plastic or in a bag.

Head to the TSA’s website for a complete list of food items that you can and cannot bring on your upcoming trip.

Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.
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