The Transportation Security Administration, also known as the TSA, is responsible for making the rules about whether passengers can bring food onto an airplane. The general answer is yes, you can bring most food items onto an airplane. When you approach the TSA security checkpoint at the airport, the agents will put the food through the X-ray screener along with your other belongings. As long as you’re not hiding metal objects in the food, there is no reason why you would be denied entry for bringing food with you.
Foods like pies, cakes, sandwiches, meat, gum, crackers, vegetables, eggs, cheese, bread, and/or chips should be perfectly fine to bring on an airplane along with your carry-on baggage. As for drinks and liquids, they need to be in smaller bottles and containers that cannot hold over 3.4 ounces of liquid. Of course, there are some minor exceptions to the liquid rule if you’re trying to bring baby formula or breast milk on the plane. This exception only applies to travelers who are with children.
You need to be careful about liquid foods too. The liquid rule also applies to condiments like ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, maple syrup, cranberry sauce, jelly, and salsa. It even applies to creamy toppings that you can spread, such as peanut butter and cheese. If you want to bring an alcoholic beverage on an airplane, it must be under 70% alcohol and no more than 3.4 ounces. You must also carry it in a quart-sized bag.
The biggest difficulty you’ll have is trying to bring canned food through the TSA security checkpoint. The problem with canned food is the metal of the container. This immediately makes TSA agents nervous and suspicious. Anything canned makes them think of aerosols, liquids, and gels; three things that are highly regulated by them. Even though they’ll pass it through the X-ray scanner, the TSA agents may want to open the can to see if there’s truly food in it. In some cases, they may just deny you entry until you throw away the canned food.
The best advice is to bring Tupperware containers of prepared food with you on the plane. That is the safest way to go.