These Are the Thanksgiving Foods You Can Bring Through TSA According to Travel Experts

You'll need to be mindful of TSA rules when traveling with leftovers.

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

With Thanksgiving just weeks away, you've probably got visions of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and pie dancing in your head. Don't even get us started on that Turkey Day-leftover-sandwich the next day. If you're flying to be with family or friends this year, which millions of people are expected to be doing, you'll need to be mindful of TSA rules when traveling with leftovers. Some foods are okay to toss in your carry-on luggage, but others will have to be checked.

Thankfully the travel experts at Next Vacay have put together a list of Thanksgiving foods that can and can't pass through TSA checkpoints. As a general rule, TSA checkpoints will allow travelers to bring most solids through security. Liquids, however, are limited to no more than 3.4-ounces.

"Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of year for airlines, with many people rushing in and out [of] airports across the country. As domestic travel was limited last year because of the pandemic, many Americans want to celebrate this holiday season with their loved ones," Naveen Dittakavi, Next Vacay's founder and CEO, said in a statement. "We know that going through the TSA can be the longest part of our journey. It's important to remember what is allowed through the checkpoint. To save time ahead of your flight we recommend reading thoroughly the TSA's guidelines of what you can bring so you can prevent throwing away your family's secret recipe pumpkin pie in the trash."

According to Next Vacay, most food can be carried through a TSA checkpoint. These items are safe to bring in your carry-on to eat mid-flight or when you get where you're going:

  • baked goods
  • meats
  • stuffing
  • casseroles
  • mac & cheese
  • fresh vegetables
  • fresh fruit
  • candy
  • spices

These Thanksgiving table staples, however, will have to be put in a checked bag:

  • cranberry sauce
  • gravy
  • alcohol
  • canned fruit or vegetables
  • preserves, jams, and jellies
  • maple syrup

Sharp objects also won't clear security, so if you're thinking about traveling with a turkey carving knife or any other sharp tools of the trade, think again. This Thanksgiving is expected to be busy in terms of travel. Don't hold up lines at security because you tried to sneak through some of your grandma's famous gravy or something. Instead, get your fill at the table or make room in your checked luggage.

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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.