Last Updated on March 18, 2021
So you want to fly with some cheese? You’re not the only one.
Let’s take a look about the rules about bringing cheese on an airplane.
TSA Cheese Rules & Regulations
The Transportation Security Administration run airport security and TSA officers police what can and can’t be brought on to airplanes.
Here’s what they have to say about bringing solid cheese on a domestic flight.
They also have this rule about creamy cheese or soft cheeses.
Different rules apply for soft cheeses and hard cheeses.
You can bring hard cheeses on a plane in either carry-on or checked baggage. There are no quantity limits.
You can bring soft cheeses in carry-on luggage but only in containers under 3.4 oz. The TSA treats soft spreadable cheeses like liquids. They need to be packed in your one plastic quart size bag. Soft cheeses in containers larger than 3.4 ounces must be packed in checked luggage.
If you are packing cheese in your hand luggage then keep it near the top of your bag in case you need to remove it at the x-ray machine.
The same applies for checked luggage, keep your cheese near the top of your bag, cheese can sometimes obstruct the scanners and if the TSA need to inspect your bag then it’s better if they have easy access to your cheese.
Flying With Cheese Internationally
The above rules apply to getting cheese past the airport security checkpoint in the United States.
If you are flying internationally you also need to consider the customs rules for your destination country.
That is assuming you are not going to eat the cheese during the flight. If the cheese never arrives you don’t need to worry about customs.
Here are the rules about bringing cheese into the US from a foreign country.
Cheese – Solid cheese (hard or semi-soft, that does not contain meat); butter, butter oil, and cultured milk products such as yogurt and sour cream are not restricted. Feta cheese, Brie, Camembert, cheese in brine, Mozzarella and Buffalo Mozzarella are permissible (USDA Animal Product Manual, Table 3-14-6). Cheese in liquid (cottage cheese or ricotta cheese) and cheese that pours like heavy cream are not admissible from countries affected by foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Cheese containing meat is not admissible depending on the country of origin.U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Still Not Sure? Ask The TSA About Your Cheese
You can check using the @AskTSA service on Twitter if you have any further questions about flying with cheese.
In case you are wondering you can bring a cheese grater is hand luggage.
Sharon wanted to bring a 10 oz jar of cheese dip in her carry-on bag. The TSA informed her that cheese dip is limited to 3.4 oz containers in hand luggage.
I have a hack for anyone desperate to bring larger amounts of soft cheese in hand luggage. If it’s frozen when you reach the security checkpoint you should be able to bring it through.
Just to be sure I checked with the TSA. They said it will be okay but if it has started to melt then it won’t be allowed.
Suzette wanted to bring cheddar on to the plane. Since cheddar is a hard cheese then it’s fine in carry-on bags.
Lysha wanted to fly with a really soft Brie cheese. She was advised to pack it in her checked luggage.
Steven checked if cottage cheese was permitted through security. The TSA considers cottage cheese to be a liquid so the 3-1-1 rule applies. Cottage cheese can only be brought on airplanes in containers that are less than 3.4 oz.
Iris planned to travel with a bag of mozzarella cheese. The TSA gave the green light for the cheese itself but warned that the liquid that the mozzarella was packed in would need to be a container less than 3.4 oz. You’ll need to drain your mozzarella before you fly or see if it can be packed inside your liquids bag alongside your shampoo.
Some passengers are determined to fly with cheese. This traveler wanted to bring easy cheese spray in a can. The TSA told him “cheese in a can isn’t allowed in the plane in either carry-on or checked bags”.
Johan asked if he could bring a 1 pound can of canned cheese in his carry-on. The TSA advised him to pack it in his checked bag. Large canned foods with liquid won’t be allowed in hand luggage.
This passenger wanted to bring a large roll of cheese from the U.S. to Bermuda. The TSA said it was fine to pack in hand luggage when boarding in the US but advised to check with customs at the destination.
Virginia wanted to pack cream cheese in her hand luggage.
But here’s a potential TSA hack.
Ros asked about bringing a carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting on her flight in carry-on luggage.
And the TSA told her that cream cheese frosting on a cake is permmited in hand luggage.
Take It Cheesy
Relax, you’ll find a way to fly with cheese. Travelers bring cheese on planes all the time.
If it’s a solid hard cheese like a cheddar you are good to go, pack it however you prefer.
If it’s a soft cheese that is spreadable then you can only pack containers that are less than 3.4 ounces in your carry-on bag. Spreadable cheese is treated like a liquid by the TSA.
To bring larger quantities of creamy cheese you’ll need to pack it in checked luggage.