You are traveling by air to visit a relative or friend, perhaps for Thanksgiving, and they absolutely love a particular home-baked cake, pie or cookie that is your particular specialty. So you want to bake one and take it with you for them as a gift – but can you take it with you?
You can take any solid baked goods with you through airport security and on a plane in your carry on, such as cakes, pies, pastries, cookies and other baked goods. These can also be placed in your checked bags along with anything that is not solid, such as homemade maple syrup.
As well as pies and cakes the TSA regularly see almost entire Thanksgiving meals being taken through the security checkpoints, including cooked turkeys! If in doubt about where a particular item you have baked should go then put them in checked bags.
Can you take baked goods through airport security
The TSA website states the following:
Pies and Cakes
Carry on Bags: Yes
Checked Bags: Yes
TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. Travelers are encouraged to organize their carry-on bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.
Be aware that the baked items may need to be inspected by the security checkpoint agent so although you should wrap them well to prevent damage, do not make it too difficult to unwrap if they do want to check it.
If it looks very appetizing they may say they need to test taste it! (joke)
The TSA offers an excellent service on Twitter where you can ask a specific question about whether you can take something through the security checkpoint (including a photo if necessary) and they will respond quickly.
These are some examples of baked goods replies:
The TSA website also has a good article on Which Thanksgiving foods should go in carry-on or checked bags,
Can you take baked goods in your carry on?
You can take any amount of cakes, pies, cookies, pastries etc in your carry on bag (within the allowable size limits), either to eat on the flight or to give to someone at your destination. You can also buy baked goods in stores after the security checkpoint to consume on the plane too.
Although your carry on bag remains in your control (unlike your checked bags) you should still make sure that they are packed sufficiently well to prevent them from being damaged during your journey.
Can you take baked goods in your checked bags?
You can take as many baked goods as you wish in your checked baggage. Since these bags often get very shaken up as they pass through the baggage handling systems at the start and end of the journey make sure you pack them securely and in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Taking baked goods overseas
If you are traveling from the US to an overseas destination you can take baked goods on board with you to eat during the flight but, depending on the country you are flying to, you may not be able to take them through customs at the other end.
You should check with the relevant authority in the country you are traveling to for confirmation. As an example this is what you can bring into Australia – What you can bring into Australia.
Even if they are allowed, you will normally still need to declare them on the customs declaration form you will be given to complete. Failure to do so could result in them being confiscated and you receiving a fine.
If you are bringing baked goods back into the US then you will need to declare them at customs, but will normally be allowed to bring them in.
How to pack baked goods for travel
Ideally the baked goods should be kept in a rigid tin or plastic container (such as Tupperware) with a tight-fitting lid. If the cake or whatever can move within the container then it would be a good idea to pack around with something such as crumpled paper to stop it from moving around. This is particularly true if the baked good will be in traveling in checked bags.