Can You Bring Food on an Airplane?

Food is allowed in your carry-on bags for you to take on the airplane. It is best to separate food items such as powders and other food materials so TSA can see them clearly at the X-ray inspection.

While you can bring most types of food on an airplane, there are regulations to a few of them. For example, you can’t get on the plane with ice cream that’s over 3.4oz/100 ml. Some other foods have no particular quantity restrictions, but they are allowed on the plane following special instructions.

Foods like frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and canned foods have to follow special instructions before being allowed on the plane.

Planning ahead and getting prepared for what to expect at the airport checkpoint will ease your flight experience.

They’re often cases of flight passages being asked to drop food that wasn’t allowed or brought in the prohibited quantity.

It’s best to be certain whether or not the food you want to bring on the plane is allowed. You’ll also want to know the maximum size allowed. Here is a glance at Food You Can Bring on an Airplane:

Type of FoodCarry-on BagsChecked BagsTSA
Alcoholic BeveragesYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Alcoholic Beverages Over 140 Proof  NoNoSource
Baby FoodYesYesSource
Baby FormulaYes (Special Instructions)YesSource
Bottled WaterYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
BreadYesYesSource
Breast MilkYes (Special Instructions)YesSource
CandyYesYesSource
Canned FoodsYes (Special Instructions)YesSource
CerealYesYesSource
Cheese (Creamy)Yes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Cheese (Solid)YesYesSource
Chocolate (liquid)Yes (Less than 3.40z/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Chocolate (Solid)YesYesSource
Coffee (Beans or Ground)YesYesSource
Coffee (Liquid)Yes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Coffee Thermos (empty)YesYesSource
Cooked Meat, Seafood, VegetableYesYesSource
CookiesYesYesSource
CrackersYesYesSource
Creamy Dips and SpreadsYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Dried FruitsYesYesSource
Fresh EggsYesYesSource
Fresh Fruits and VegetablesYes (Special Instructions)YesSource
Fresh Meat and SeafoodYes (Special Instructions)YesSource
Frozen FoodYes (Special Instructions)YesSource
Gel Ice PacksYes (Special Instructions)YesSource
GravyYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
GumYesYesSource
HoneyYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
HummusYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Ice CreamYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Jam and JellyYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Juice for BabiesYes (Special Instructions) Source
JuicesYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Live LobsterCheck with AirlineYesSource
Maple SyrupYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
NutsYesYesSource
Oils and VinegarYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Peanut ButterYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Pet Food (Solid)YesYesSource
Pet Food (Wet)Yes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Pies and CakesYesYesSource
PizzaYesYesSource
Protein or Energy PowdersYesYesSource
Salad DressingYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Salsa and SaucesYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
SaltYesYesSource
SandwichesYesYesSource
Snack BarYesYesSource
SnacksYesYesSource
SodaYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Solid FoodsYesYesSource
SoupYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource
Spices (Dry)YesYesSource
TeaYesYesSource
Water for BabiesYes (Special Instructions)YesSource
YogurtYes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesSource

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages are allowed but with some rules.

Alcoholic beverages with over 24% but not over 70% alcohol concentration are limited in checked baggage to 1.3 gallons (5 liters) per flight passenger.  

It must also be in sealed retail packaging. However, alcoholic beverages with 24% alcohol or lower are not restricted for checked baggage.

But if you want to carry a mini bottle of alcohol in your carry-on bag, it has to fit into a 1 quart-sized bag.

Baby Food

You can bring baby food in your carry-on or checked luggage. TSA allows baby food such as jarred or canned baby food. Baby formula and breast milk are also accepted and there is no 3 oz liquid rule restriction on baby food. You need to disclose officers at the time of screening and present it separately from your travel gear.

Candy

You can bring solid foods like candy in either your checked baggage or carry-on bags. The candy has to be well organized in your bag to allow the X-ray machine to scan successfully.

As far as the candy is in solid form, there are no disclosed limitations on the size you can bring on the plane as your carry-on.

Canned Foods

Canned food is allowed on the plane as carry-on but under special instructions. They require additional screening because of how they appear on the X-ray machine.

They subject to the 3-1-1 rules of liquids, aerosols, and gels. Due to the extra screening canned foods are subjected to, they are often advised to be packed in checked bags.

Cheese

TSA doesn’t allow creamy cheese over 3.4 ounces (100 ml) on the plane. You can have as much cheese as you want in your checked bags.

Also, you can bring any amount of cheese you want on the plane if the cheese is solid

Chocolate

As with cheese, for you to bring liquid chocolate on the plane, it must not be over 3.4 ounces. You can, however, bring as much liquid chocolate as you want in your checked bags.

If the chocolate is solid, you’re allowed to bring any quantity you need both in carry-on and checked bags.

Coffee

Liquid coffee is allowed on the plane as carry-on, except it must be less than 3.4 ounces/ 100 ml.

Coffee thermos is also allowed with no limitations as both carry-on and checked bags.

Coffee (Beans or Ground) is allowed on the plane as carry-on with no limitation as both carry-on and checked bags.

Cooked Meat, Seafood and Vegetable (No Liquid)

You’re allowed to transport cooked meat, seafood, and vegetable on the plane as a carry-on. The only rule is that it must not be in liquid form.

Also, you’ll have to check with your airline whether it can fit underneath the plane’s seat or in the overhead bin.

Cookies

You can come on the plane with cookies, but it is subjected to additional screening.

Items like cookies are screened separately from other items in your carry-on bag because it often doesn’t display well in the X-ray machine.

However, having it in your checked bags eliminates the need for extra checks—the same thing for foods like crackers.

Creamy Dips and Spreads

Creamy dips and spreads must not be over 3.4 ounces to be allowed on the plane as a carry-on.

They are also scanned separately from other items in your carry-on bag. But they might not be screened differently if your bag isn’t clustered with objects.

Dried Fruits

As long as your carry-on bag is not clustered, your dried fruits will pass through the airport security check without additional screening.

You can bring dried fruits on the plane either in your checked bags or as a carry-on item with no limitations.

You can also bring fresh eggs on the plane as carry-on with no limitations.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Passengers flying from Puerto Rico, Hawaii, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland cannot bring most fresh vegetables and fruits on the plane.

That is due to the risk of spreading plant pests.

Other passengers are allowed to bring fresh fruits and vegetables on the plane.

Fresh Meat and Seafood

Seafood, meat, and other solid food items are allowed as carry-on and checked baggage.

However, if the meat and seafood are packed with ice packs, the ice packs have to be completely frozen.

If the ice packs are a little bit watery, they won’t be allowed on the plane. The limit for ice packs is 5 pounds of dry ice. This applies to all frozen foods.

Gel Ice Packs

As long as a frozen item is completely frozen at the checkpoint, it will be allowed through.

If your gel ice pack is slushy, partially melted away, or has any liquid at its bottom, it is subjected to the 3-1-1 liquids requirements.

However, medically essential gel ice packs in reasonable quantities are permitted irrespective of their state (slushy or melted).

Gravy

TSA permits gravy on the plane as carry-on, but it is also subjected to the 3-1-1 liquid rule. So, if it’s over 3.4 ounces/100 ml, it won’t be allowed.

But the restrictions are removed if you have them in checked bags.

Gum

Gum is another food that is allowed on the plane, either as carry-on or checked baggage.

There are no restrictions whatsoever, including the 3-1-1 rule. As long as it’s not clustered with several items in your bag, it’ll be screened as a whole with the entire carry-on bag.

Honey

Honey is in the creamy category, and according to TSA, creamy and liquid are treated as one at the checkpoints.

So, passengers are not allowed to bring honey over 3.4 ounces on the plane as a carry-on. But any quantity can be brought on the plane as checked baggage.

Hummus

Hummus must not be over 3.4 ounces/100 ml to be allowed on the plane as a carry-on.

They are also scanned separately from other items in your carry-on bag. But they might not be screened differently if your bag isn’t clustered with objects.

You can also bring Ice Cream on the plane as carry-on under the 3-1-1 rule.

Jam and Jelly

You can bring jam and jelly on the plane as carry-on but under liquid regulations. It also must not be over 3.4 ounces/100 ml.

However, they are allowed in higher quantities in the checked baggage. Also, even after meeting the required quantity, you should ensure that it is well packed for easy scanning.  

Juices

Juices for babies are allowed without the 3-1-1 rule, but on special instructions – they are allowed in reasonable quantities in carry-ons. They are also scanned separately.

However, other juices and maple syrup must be less than 3.4 ounces/100 ml to be allowed on the plane.

Live Lobster

You can bring a live lobster on the plane. Pack them in a clear container for a TSA agent to inspect them at the time of screening TSA also recommends you to check with your airlines on live lobsters because every airline may have a different policy on bringing a live lobster on the airplane.

Nuts

Nuts are in the solid food types category, so they are allowed on the plane either as carry-on or checked baggage, with no limitations.

However, ensure it is properly packed for easy scanning, or it will have to be scanned separately.

Oils and Vinegar

It’s either you pack your oils and vinegar in your checked baggage, or you come with nothing more than 3.4 ounces/100 ml to be allowed as carry-on.

Also, if they are not well packed, they’ll have to be scanned and inspected separately.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is creamy, so it is subject to the 3-1-1 limitations. It must not be over 3.4 ounces to be allowed on the plane.

It also has to be properly packed and not clustered with other items in the bag for successful scanning. It can, however, be scanned separately.

Pet Food

Solid pet food is allowed on the plane either as carry-on or checked baggage with no restrictions.

It only has to be well packed for the X-ray machine to scan it as a whole with the entire bag.

But wet pet food is subject to the 3-1-1 rule and must not be over 3.4 ounces to be allowed.

Pies and Cakes

Pies, cakes, and pizza are solid and are therefore allowed on the aircraft as carry-on and checked baggage.

But you’ll want to be careful not to allow the cake to melt, or it will be considered as a liquid.

Nevertheless, since they cannot be packed with other items, they are scanned separately.

Snacks

Snacks, sandwiches, snack bars are allowed on the plane as carry-on or checked baggage with no restrictions.

They are solid foods and so are of not many concerns to TSA. As long as the feet in your carry-on bag, you can have them with you on the plane.

Soda

Soda is liquid, so it must not be over 3.4 ounces/100 ml to be allowed on the plane as a carry-on. Even after meeting the required quantity, you should ensure to pack it properly in your bag.

If you have any material or item in your bag that could prevent the X-ray machine from during its job properly, you’ll have to remove it and repack it at the checkpoint.

What kind of snacks can you take on a plane?

You can bring breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack food. It also includes fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices. If you are traveling to the continental US, you can bring sliced bananas and whole bananas through airport security. The Transportation Security Adminstration allows both items to be processed through the airport.

Can I bring chips in my carry-on?

You can bring potato chips and other vegetables through airport security. Solid food items can be transported in either carry-on or checked baggage. However, items such as powders, syrups, and food items are permitted to be separated from carry-on bags.

Can I bring gummy bears on a plane?

The Transportation Security Administration allows candy to be brought through security in carry-on luggage. However, you should bring only solid candy such as candy bars and gumballs. You can check your food items before you board a plane by putting them in a spill-proof container.

Can you take pizza on a plane?

The Transportation Security Administration allows passengers to bring pizza in their carry-on bags. There is no limit as to how many pizza you can bring into the airport.

Can you carry open food through TSA?

Solid food items, such as protein bars and fruit, can be transported in either a carry-on or checked bag. Although peanut butter is considered a safe food item, it’s not allowed to be carried in a liquid form.