If you think that the price of airport food has gotten beyond ridiculous, you aren’t alone.

And considering that these days you can usually forget about being served a meal on most flights, you might be wondering if you will be able to bring food to the airport and then through TSA.

Generally, you won’t have any problems bringing food through TSA, though there are several exceptions that you should know about.

Opened Food

If you can’t wait to open your favorite snack or have some leftovers that you want to bring, you’ll be pleased to know that you bring opened food through TSA.

Sealed Food

Considering there is no problem bringing open food through TSA, there certainly isn’t any problem bringing unopened, sealed food through TSA.

Fast Food

Fast food may not be the healthiest option, but it sure is the most convenient and arguably tasty.

Thankfully, the TSA will allow you to bring fast food through security.

Related: What Foods (and Drinks) to Avoid Before Flying

Baby Food

A lot of baby food is liquid, pureed and creamy, which the TSA usually have limits on.

However, baby food is the exception, as it is considered an essential, just as long as you bring baby food in “reasonable quantities.”

Frozen Food

You can bring frozen food through TSA, but if you are planning on keeping the food frozen through the use of ice or ice packs in a cooler or other container, the ice or ice packs must be completely frozen as you go through airport security.

Food You Can’t Take Through TSA

The most important thing to know about bringing food through TSA is that if it is liquid or spreadable like creams and dips, you are limited to the container being no larger than 3.4oz/100ml.

So, you can bring items like peanut butter, jelly, dips, cream cheese, and even canned foods through TSA, but their containers must be no larger than 3.4oz/100ml otherwise they will be confiscated by a TSA agent.

Make sure that the following popular foods are in containers that are no larger than 3.4oz/100ml if you don’t want to run into any issues with the TSA.

  • Peanut Butter
  • Guacamole
  • Canned food
  • Honey
  • Syrup
  • Butter
  • Cream Cheese
  • Jam, jelly and preserves
  • Condiments
  • Dressings

No Limits for How Much Food You Can Bring

There are no limitations for how much food you can bring through TSA, just as long as the food fits within your carry on and personal item allowance, and the 3-1-1 Rule is followed.

Bringing Food Through International Airport Security

You will have no problem bringing through international airport security, but again the 3-1-1 Rule applies.

So, any food that is in non-solid form, should be in containers no larger than 3.4oz/100ml.

Can the TSA See Food in Your Bag?

When you go through airport security, your bag’s contents will undergo x-ray screening, which includes any food you are traveling with.

Can You Eat Your Own Food on a Plane?

You can bring your own food and consume it on the plane, which is just as well considering that you will unlikely be served a meal on shorter flights, and buying food on a plane can be expensive.

Can You Pack Food in Your Checked Bag?

You can pack food in your checked bag with no quantity or size restrictions.

As the 3-1-1 Rule does not apply to your checked bags, you can pack peanut butter, canned food, jelly etc. with no restrictions.

You Can Bring an Empty Water Bottle Through TSA

You can bring a water bottle through TSA, though the bottle must be empty due to the 3-1-1 Rule.

Thankfully, once you have gone through airport security, there will be water refill stations where you can fill up your bottle for free.

As Well as Alcohol

The only alcohol that you can bring through TSA are mini alcohol bottles that are no larger than 3.4oz/100ml due to the 3-1-1 Rule.

If packed in your checked bag:

  • If the alcohol is less than 24% ABV or 48 proof, there is no limit. This covers most beers and wine.
  • If the alcohol is more than 24% but not more than 70% ABV (48 – 140 proof), you are limited to 5 liters (1.3 gallons)
  • If the alcohol is over 70% ABV or over 140 proof, it isn’t allowed in either your carry on or checked bags

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).