Can You Bring Scalloped Potatoes On a Plane?

February 26, 2018

Have you ever wondered what the protocol is for bringing food on a plane? I definitely have. And so, it seems, has Chrissy Teigen, who over the weekend tweeted at American Airlines asking if she would be able to bring a casserole dish of scalloped potatoes on an upcoming flight. The meal, she claimed, was her “emotional support dish” and would replace the traditional suitcase or backpack as her single carry-on.

Because Twitter never fails to disappoint, American Airlines actually chimed in. They deferred Teigen to TSA’s official Twitter account.

From there, the plot thickened: The TSA joined in and delivered some welcome news.

According to the TSA’s website, it seems Teigen’s casserole does indeed comply with regulations. They have extensive instructions as to what is and isn’t allowed on a plane, and while there’s no specific designation regarding scalloped potatoes, the policy does allow for passengers to bring solid foods (however nebulous that category may be) as carry-ons.

Shop the Story

With permission secured, Teigen got to cooking. As always, she kept the masses on Twitter nicely looped in:

And finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for. Teigen, savvy as she is with social media, even let her followers keep up with a video of the casserole making its way through security. Bound in a plastic container, her emotional support dish slid along the conveyor belt and into a metal detector. Would it make it???

Her scalloped potatoes are apparently TSA-grade because next came a picture—Teigen and her potatoes ready to fly. Feeling inspired? I am. And I’m craving some gooey, cheesy potatoes. Here are some recipes inspired by Teigen’s trusty travel companion.

What’s your emotional support dish? Let us know what you’d take on a flight with you in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Brittany
  • Elle Maschmedt
    Elle Maschmedt
  • Marsha Mc
    Marsha Mc
  • HalfPint
  • BerryBaby
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Brittany February 27, 2018
I travelled today on two international American Airlines flights with 3 cobs of corn, left over pasta and a big ice pack.
Claudia C. February 27, 2018
All solid (so no issue) except eventually the ice pack (which started as a solid).
Elle M. February 27, 2018
As the designated cake maker in my group of friends I've taken decorated cakes (21st, engagement, wedding cakes) and gingerbread houses as my carry on before...
Marsha M. February 26, 2018
I tend to pack (non-stinky) cheese, crackers or baguette, fruit, celery, and a little bit of very dark chocolate on flights where I think I'll need a bite and no meal is served.
Claudia C. February 26, 2018
All perfectly acceptable bc none are liquids.
HalfPint February 26, 2018
I've carried a cheesecake onboard an airplane (went to Vegas for a girls weekend) without any problems, so I would think scalloped potatoes should be no problem either. In fact, I got a lot of questions from Security about where I bought the cheesecake because the box was so pretty.

My emotional support food are Red Vines.
Claudia C. February 26, 2018
Cheesecake is not, when fully cooked, a liquid.
HalfPint February 27, 2018
Rules on food are a bit arbitrary. You can't bring a wedge of runny cheese onboard a plane, but put it into a sandwich and it becomes ok. Ditto for peanut butter.

It's not just liquids that aren't allowed. The restriction includes 'gels', which are semi-liquid in nature. Runny cheeses and peanut seem to fall under the gel category. But while you cannot bring a jar of peanut butter onto a plane, you can bring the PBJ sandwich. The cheesecake would also fall under the gel category. Thankfully, TSA decided to let me have my cake ;). So I totally get why Chrissy Teigen went the extra length to make sure that her scalloped potatoes weren't confiscated and thrown out. Them potatoes could technically be a gel too.
BerryBaby February 26, 2018
I’ve made both Scalloped and Au gratin potatoes for many years. Scalloped potatoes are a white cream sauce and butter. Au gratin potatoes are made with cheese.
Both are delicious but definitely different.
Claudia C. February 26, 2018
Sorry for the 'misspeak' but since scalloped potatoes are made with white cream sauce, a liquid, one would think it would not be allowed by the TSA.
Claudia C. February 26, 2018
wait...I did type scalloped potatoes....hmmm. Either way...scalloped potatoes have a liquid in it.
Cary February 27, 2018
If your scalloped potatoes are liquid, you're doing it wrong.
Claudia C. February 27, 2018
except Cary, if the dish is out of a fridge long enough, that cream is separating and is certainly a liquid.
Claudia C. February 26, 2018
also, since it is a liquid, why would the tsa allow this? such questions to ponder.....
Claudia C. February 26, 2018
doesn't scalloped potatoes require refrigeration?
Alexis A. February 27, 2018
not if you eat them fast enough...
bbcall February 27, 2018
My hummus and speculoos spread (like peanut butter but much better) where both confiscated. I think TSA agents were hungry.