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How To Safely Transport Your Holiday Food

Written By: Jerry Reynolds | Nov 9, 2023 11:20:00 AM

Who else is looking forward to the upcoming holiday feasts? Meal prep isn't the only important part of getting our favorite dishes to the table. So, too, is transporting them there safely. So if you're piling in the family car to head to grandma's house this year, here are the best techniques to safely and cleanly transport your Thanksgiving feast favorites in the car. The key is to choose the right containers and make sure all dishes and containers are sealed and secure before you hit the road.  Never transport food in your lap.

Casserole Dishes

The best way to transport a casserole is in a casserole dish with a secure rubber lid. (Rubber bands are a second option to secure the lid.) A zippered thermal food and insulated casserole carrying case will help keep your dish warm.  If you have more than one, you're in luck because there are even double casserole carriers. Secure your delicious cargo in a laundry basket or cardboard box by placing towels on the top, bottom and sides. Your trunk is the best place to transport it, just make sure it and the box are secure, so it's not sliding around back there.   

To recap:

  • Use a casserole dish with a secure rubber lid.
  • If you can, transport it in an insulated casserole dish carrier. 
  • Secure it in a laundry basket or box with towels surrounding it and transport it in the trunk.


Slow Cookers

Southern Living offers these tips for transporting food in a slow cooker.  A slow cooker with a lid that locks is a terrific way to go.  If you don't have one of those, heavy-duty rubber bands around the handles and lid are another option. Some people even use duck tape to secure the lid. Next, wrap the slow cooker in towels or newspaper.  Or you can use an insulated bag made specifically for slow-cookers. Then you'll want to place it in a laundry basket lined with towels (or a cardboard box works, too.) Place it in the floorboard or the trunk of your car,  just make sure it's secure and can't slide around.

To recap:

  • Use a slow cooker with a lid that locks, or if not, use rubber bands to secure it.
  • Use an insulated bag made for slow cookers to carry it in.
  • Place it in a laundry basket or cardboard box lined with towels then transport it on the floorboard or in the trunk.


Pie Carriers

A pie carrier works great when getting your pie from point A to point B. If that's not an option you can wrap it in aluminum foil.  The best place for a pie is secured in a laundry basket or box in the trunk. If it's a pie you need to keep cool, place some ice or freezer gel packs underneath it.  

To recap:

  • Use a pie carrier or wrap in aluminum foil.
  • Secure pie in a laundry basket or box in the trunk.
  • Keep cool of needed using ice or freezer gel packs.

Other Helpful Tips

  • Use bungee cords to help secure items.
  • Use plastic or aluminum foil to wrap pies or anything else that could leak.
  • Use towels to help pack food items securely a cardboard box or laundry basket.
  • Placing non-slip rubber hot pads under dishes will help keep them from sliding.
  • Protect your trunk by placing towels on the floor.
  • Use storage containers with tight lids to pack leftovers.
  • Never transport holiday food in your lap.

These tips should help you get your holiday feasts to their destination safely. Oh and don't forget to pack some containers with tight lids (or zip lock bags) to carry home some leftovers.

For food safety advice visit the USDA here.