Can I Bring Thanksgiving Leftovers on the Plane?

Just in case you’re wondering if you can lug home your favorite Thanksgiving foods.


Got extra Thanksgiving leftovers that you want to take with you on your flight home? Fine, but make sure you know the rules, or you run the risk of having to watch your favorite holiday foods get thrown out by a TSA officer.

Solid Foods

Fortunately, most solid foods are allowed on the plane with you, whether a beloved baked pie or literally just a bunch of extra dinner rolls. Solid food (TLDR, not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked bags, but they still have to be x-rayed, and TSA officers have the final say on whether you can take them on your flight.

Cooked meat and seafood is allowed in your carry-on, so you could, if you really wanted to, travel with a whole roasted turkey — as long as it fits in the overhead bin.


Passengers must follow the 3-1-1 rule if they’re going to be bringing liquids in their carry-on. That means the liquids have to each be 3.4 oz or less per container and fit in a single 1-quart zip plastic. So unless you’re satisfied with only bringing a travel-size shampoo bottle’s worth of gravy home to jazz up your leftovers, you’ll probably want to put that in a checked bag.

Boozy beverages can also fly with you in your checked luggage. However, they have to contain less than 70% alcohol, so leave the Moonshine behind.

What Constitutes as a Liquid?

Liquids are anything that can flow freely and has the consistency of water or oil. Gels are slightly thicker — so any jams, spreads, or honey have to adhere to the 3-1-1 rule.

Frozen foods are allowed in carry-on and checked bags, but if you are also carrying ice packs to keep them frozen, they must be completely solid when going through security. Ice packs or gel packs that are partially melted won’t make it past the scanners.

Canned foods may require additional screening in your carry-on, so if you absolutely have to bring a can of cream of mushroom soup onto the flight for your famous green bean casserole, make sure it’s in a checked bag.

Happy feasting!

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