The TSA Just Confirmed This Pantry Staple Is a Liquid

Updated: Mar. 30, 2023

The next time you fly, make sure not to carry more than 3.4 oz. of this popular spread.

When it comes to which liquids to pack in a carry-on while going through TSA, you probably think of the typical items. Toothpaste, shampoo, skin-care products and makeup are a few that easily come to mind. But there are some items the Transportation Security Administration classifies as liquids that may be more unexpected.

A recent reminder from TSA that a particularly popular food spread is considered a liquid certainly was unexpected for many social media users. Read on to find out what it is and why it’s considered a liquid.

What pantry staple is considered a liquid by TSA?

The pantry staple that TSA considers a liquid is peanut butter. Wait, what?

That’s right, one of the most popular spreads needs to be a limited size when it’s brought through TSA because it’s classified as a liquid. In fact, the average jar of peanut butter is 28 oz., meaning a typical jar of peanut butter is considered a no-go by TSA. Unless, of course, that jar happens to be 3.4 oz. or less.

Why does TSA consider peanut butter a liquid?

Gloved Hands of Airport Security Person Examines the content of a traveler's bin and belongingsLeezsnow/Getty Images

According to a TSA tweet, peanut butter is considered a liquid because “a liquid has no definite shape and takes a shape dictated by its container.”

Furthermore, TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein confirms that “TSA classifies items that you can spill, spread, spray, pump or pour as needing to be 3.4 ounces or smaller to fit into a 3-1-1 bag.” Farbstein went on to say that peanut butter “is a spreadable and thus falls under the 3.4-ounce limit.”

How did people react to the classification?

To humorously add to the uproar about the rule, Skippy Peanut Butter posted the below TikTok. “Me packing after finding out TSA says peanut butter is a liquid,” the video says, with footage of someone filling a plastic bag with small packets of peanut butter.


POV: me packing my carry on after TSA announced Peanut Butter is a liquid #traveltiktok #vacationmode #traveltips #travelwithme #packing #peanutbutter #tsaguidelines #airportsecurity #skippypeanutbutter

♬ Starry Nights – ultmt. & Hz.

Others social media users didn’t really know what to make of the rule. Can peanut butter really be considered a liquid? Nonetheless, TSA stands by its steadfast rule—peanut butter is a liquid. Similarly, Nutella and salsa are considered to be liquids by TSA, too.

What does the rule mean for travelers?

Peanut butter lovers don’t have to fret! Those who can’t get enough of the pantry staple can still pack small packets of it in their carry-on. And if you really want to enjoy peanut butter at your destination, you can pack a larger container of it in your checked luggage.

Now that we’ve covered what TSA considers to be a liquid, take a look at the foods you can and can’t take on board. Plus, once you land, these are the foods that can help you beat jet lag.