Can You Bring Spices On A Plane?

Spices have been a cornerstone of cultural exchange and culinary evolution since the time of ancient trade routes, often carrying as much value as gold. Bringing spices on a plane taps into this rich history and is a common concern for travelers who wish to transport these flavorful treasures across borders. Historically, the move of spices from one region to another has had a profound impact on world cuisine, with spices like pepper, cinnamon, and clove once commanding exorbitant prices and even sparking expeditions that led to the discovery of new lands.

Today, the transportation of spices is subject to modern regulations and security measures, particularly within the context of air travel. Post-9/11, airport security and customs regulations worldwide have become more stringent, placing greater scrutiny on what passengers can bring aboard aircraft. As a result, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States, alongside international security agencies, have outlined specific guidelines for carrying spices and various other food items in both carry-on and checked luggage. These regulations aim to ensure flight security while still allowing passengers to transport spices for personal use, highlighting their continued significance as both a connector of cultures and a bringer of comfort and familiarity to the traveling palate.

can you bring spices on a plane

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Can You Take Spices On A Plane?

When traveling by air, many passengers wonder if they can take spices on a plane. The good news is that you can generally take spices with you when flying. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), dry spices are allowed in both carry-on and checked bags. There is no limit to the quantity of dry spices you can take in your checked luggage. However, if you’re carrying spices in your carry-on bag, they must comply with the TSA’s liquid rule if they are in paste or liquid form. This means they should be in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and fit within a single, clear, quart-sized bag. It’s also wise to consider the destination country’s customs regulations, as some countries may have restrictions on the import of certain food items, including spices. For a more detailed discussion on the nuances of traveling with spices and tips to ensure a smooth journey, continue to the next section where we delve deeper into the subject.

Carrying Spices on USA Domestic Flights: Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Guidelines

When traveling within the United States, many passengers like to bring spices, either from their home kitchens or as gifts and souvenirs. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), travelers can bring spices on domestic flights, but there are certain guidelines to consider for smooth security screening.

TSA Regulations for Spices in Carry-on Bags

  • Spices are generally allowed in carry-on bags.
  • There are no quantity limitations for solid spices.
  • Liquid spices must adhere to the 3-1-1 liquids rule: containers must hold 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item, and all containers must fit in a single, clear, quart-sized zip-top bag.

TSA Regulations for Spices in Checked Bags

  • There is no restriction on the amount of spices that can be packed in checked luggage.
  • Packing spices well is recommended to prevent spills and contamination of other items.

Packing Tips for Spices

  • Use airtight containers or sealed bags to prevent leaks and odor transfer.
  • Protect fragile containers from breakage.
  • Consider the use of bubble wrap or clothes for additional cushioning.

Considerations for International Travel with Spices

Passengers should be aware that while domestic flights have fewer restrictions, international travel may have specific import regulations pertaining to spices. Always check the destination country’s regulations to ensure compliance.

Additional Security Screening

While spices are allowed, they may trigger closer inspections at security checkpoints. Be prepared to have the containers examined or tested for anything out of the ordinary.


For the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the transport of spices on domestic flights, consult the TSA website or contact their helpline directly. The TSA’s guidelines for traveling with food are specifically detailed on their “What Can I Bring?” page under the Food section. Here is the link: TSA – What Can I Bring?.

✔ Pros ✘ Cons
Allows you to enjoy familiar flavors while traveling Some countries have strict customs regulations on bringing in food items
Can save money by cooking with spices from home instead of buying locally Risk of spices leaking or spilling in luggage
Ideal for those with dietary restrictions or preferences Possibility of attracting unwanted attention from security due to powder-like appearance
Portable and generally lightweight Difficult to carry in larger quantities due to limited luggage space

Flying with Spices Internationally

Travelers often wish to bring spices with them when flying internationally, either for personal use or as gifts. However, it’s important to be aware of the various regulations that apply when transporting spices across borders. These regulations can vary widely from one country to another and may be influenced by factors such as agricultural concerns, customs laws, and security measures.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

  • Spices are generally considered non-dangerous goods and can be transported in checked or carry-on luggage.
  • Passengers should ensure that spices are packed in secure containers to prevent spillage.
  • Any powdered substance in containers equal to or larger than 350 ml/grams may be subject to additional screening.
  • It is recommended to declare any spices at security checkpoints and customs.

For more detailed information, please refer to the IATA guidelines on their official website: IATA Website.

Country Specific Regulations

Each country has its own set of rules regarding the importation of spices. These regulations are in place to prevent the introduction of invasive species, diseases, and pests that could harm the local ecosystem or agriculture. It is crucial to check the regulations of your destination country before flying with spices.

United Kingdom

Guidelines for bringing spices into the UK can be found on the official government website: UK Government Page.


For information on bringing spices into European countries, visit the European Commission’s website: European Commission Page.


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides details on importing spices to Canada: Canada Food Inspection Agency Page.


Guidance on importing spices into Australia is available on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s website: Australia Department of Agriculture Page.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries outlines the requirements for bringing spices into the country: New Zealand MPI Page.


Regulations for importing spices into Asian countries vary; it is best to consult the official government websites of the specific country you are visiting.


The Singapore Food Agency provides information on importing food products such as spices: Singapore Food Agency Page.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with Spices

While IATA provides general guidelines, individual airlines may have their own specific rules for flying with spices. It is important to review your airline’s policy before packing spices in your luggage.

American Airlines

Refer to American Airlines’ policy on special items: American Airlines Policy Page.

Delta Air Lines

Delta’s policy on prohibited and restricted items can be found here: Delta Air Lines Policy Page.

United Airlines

United’s baggage policies and guidelines are available at: United Airlines Policy Page.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest’s baggage policies can be reviewed here: Southwest Airlines Policy Page.

British Airways

For British Airways’ baggage information, visit: British Airways Policy Page.


Lufthansa’s baggage guide is found at: Lufthansa Policy Page.

Air Canada

Information on Air Canada’s baggage policies is available here: Air Canada Policy Page.


Qantas provides details on carrying food items and powders at: Qantas Policy Page.

Air France

Review Air France’s baggage rules here: Air France Policy Page.


Emirates’ baggage policies, including the transport of food items, can be found at: Emirates Policy Page.

Packing Spices in Carry-On Luggage

When it comes to carrying spices in your carry-on luggage, it’s important to adhere to TSA guidelines for transporting powders and liquids. Spices in dry form are generally allowed, but there are some tips to keep them fresh and prevent them from spilling:

  • Use airtight containers or zip-top bags to prevent spills and preserve freshness.
  • Label each container or bag clearly to avoid confusion and facilitate security checks.
  • Consider the quantity, as large amounts of powdery substances over 12 ounces may require additional screening.
  • Place spices in an easily accessible part of your carry-on for quick retrieval at security checkpoints.
  • If you’re carrying liquid-based spices or sauces, ensure they comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule.

Packing Spices in Hold Luggage

For hold luggage, you have the luxury of not worrying about liquid restrictions, but you should still pack smart to avoid any potential disaster:

  • Use sturdy, well-sealed containers to prevent any leakage that could spoil your clothes or other items.
  • Wrap glass containers in bubble wrap and place them in the middle of your suitcase, cushioned by clothing.
  • Double-bag any pungent spices to avoid scenting your entire luggage.
  • Use a plastic bin or compartment to separate your spices from other items, in case of leakage or breakage.
  • Always check customs regulations if you’re traveling internationally, as some countries have restrictions on bringing in food items, including spices.

taking spices through airport security

Additional Travel-Friendly Items Similar to Spices

When packing for a flight, alongside spices, consider including a variety of other compact and non-perishable items to enhance your travel experience. Dried herbs and seasoning blends can elevate in-flight meals or snacks. Teabags and instant coffee packets are perfect for a quick caffeine fix. For those with a sweet tooth, packets of hot chocolate mix or powdered drink flavors can add a touch of comfort. Travel-sized condiments, such as mini jars of honey or packets of ketchup, may also come in handy. Lastly, don’t forget non-food items like essential oils or scented sachets to keep your luggage smelling fresh throughout your journey.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring Spices On A Plane?

Traveling with spices can add a flavorful twist to your journey and your destination meals. However, it’s essential to know the regulations and guidelines for packing spices when flying. Many travelers have questions about carrying spices on planes, whether it’s for personal cooking use at a vacation spot or as a gift to someone at their destination. The following are some frequently asked questions about traveling with spices, providing clarity on what you can and cannot do when it comes to flying with your favorite seasonings.

Can I bring dry spices in my carry-on luggage?

Yes, you can bring dry spices in your carry-on luggage. There are no restrictions on dry spices, but they should be screened separately if they are over a particular quantity.

Are there any restrictions on the amount of dry spices I can bring on a plane?

There are no specific quantity restrictions for dry spices, but if you’re carrying more than 350 ml or 12 ounces, it’s recommended to place them in your checked luggage or declare them at the security checkpoint.

Do powdered spices need to be in their original packaging?

While it’s not required, it’s advisable that powdered spices are kept in their original packaging to facilitate identification by security personnel. If the packaging is not original, consider labeling the container clearly.

Can liquid-based spices such as vanilla extract be carried in a carry-on bag?

Liquid-based spices like vanilla extract fall under the liquids rule; they can be carried in a carry-on bag in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and should fit within your quart-sized bag of liquids.

Are there any spice restrictions on international flights?

Regulations for bringing spices on international flights can vary by country. It’s essential to check the destination country’s customs regulations regarding the importation of spices.

Will strong-smelling spices like cumin or curry powder cause issues at security?

Strong-smelling spices typically do not cause issues at security, but they may be subject to additional screening if security personnel find them suspicious.

Are homemade spice mixes treated differently than store-bought mixes when flying?

No, homemade spice mixes are not treated differently than store-bought ones. However, they should be clearly labeled to expedite the screening process.

Should I worry about pack stronger-smelling or pungent spices in my checked luggage?

Packing strong-smelling spices in checked luggage should not be a problem. Still, it’s advisable to pack them in an airtight container or bag to prevent the odor from permeating other items.

Are there any spices that are prohibited on planes?

There are generally no spices that are prohibited on planes. However, it is crucial to consider the laws and regulations related to transportation and import of spices for both the airline and the destination country.

If I purchase spices at a duty-free shop, can I take them on the plane?

Yes, spices bought at duty-free shops can typically be taken on the plane. They should be sealed in a tamper-evident bag and accompanied by a receipt if they are over the liquid carry-on limit.

Packing It All Up

When considering whether or not you can bring spices on a plane, the answer is generally affirmative, but with certain guidelines to follow. For domestic flights, spices can be packed in both your checked luggage and carry-on bags. There are no restrictions on the quantity of dry spices you can take, as long as they are not in liquid form. However, if you are carrying spices in your carry-on, remember that they will need to pass through airport security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) permits spices but may subject them to additional screening. It’s a good idea to store spices in clear, airtight containers to streamline this process and ensure they remain free from contamination during your travels.

For international flights, additional considerations come into play, primarily due to customs regulations at your destination. Many countries have stringent laws concerning the importation of food items, which can include herbs and spices. It is essential to check these regulations beforehand to prevent any issues upon arrival. Some spices may be subject to inspection or could even be prohibited if they’re considered invasive species or have the potential for contamination. Remember to declare any spices when going through customs. By adhering to these guidelines, travelers can avoid any unexpected difficulties and ensure that their culinary treasures make it to their final destination without a hitch.