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Bringing a dish to Thanksgiving? Here's how to transport your food safely

Round plastic containers with pie and cupcakes; a thermal insulated bag with a baking dish inside
Don't let potholes ruin your potluck — be sure your delectable contributions look every bit as fresh and put-together as you will. (Photos: Amazon)

I love hosting parties and large gatherings, especially during the holidays. But I also enjoy letting someone else play host, especially if I don't have to be responsible for roasting the turkey! Still, I usually like to bring at least a side or two to ease the burden of friends and family. Plus, more food on the dinner table is always welcome. However, transporting your delicious dishes can be precarious. Aluminum foil and plastic wrap are pretty flimsy, and most casseroles are quite fragile — they don't easily withstand the usual bumps and curves of the road. Thankfully, there are a number of solutions out there that will make sure they survive.

This baking dish has a lid, which both prevents spills and allows stacking.

$23 at Amazon
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$23 at Macy's$23 at Kohl's

A baking dish with a secure, airtight lid is invaluable when you need to carry your baked (or about to be baked) goods from one place to another. I really like this Oxo option because it has easy-to-grip handles — a real plus when transferring your grub from fridge to car to oven to table.

One shopper said it helped save her dessert: "I have always used an earthenware bake pan and would have continued doing so forever if I had not made plans to bring a complicated cake to my mother's house for dinner. The drawback of my current dish is that there's no lid, and I wanted the luxury of being able to stack some items to carry them. ... I love this, and now I find myself exclusively reaching for this pan. It's much lighter for me to handle, which means it's easier for me to wash and I don't have to ask for help to get things in and out of the oven or to wash it in the sink."

That's right — it's a carrier for you carriers out there, and it's the smart way to preserve deliciousness on the way to Grandma's and prevent breaking during the trip back home.

$48 at Amazon
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$30 at OXO

I'm in love with this clever bakeware carrier from Oxo. It has foam insulation and an aluminum fabric lining to keep dishes hot or cold for hours. The lining is easy to clean in case there are any spills or drips. My favorite feature is the zippered pockets on the exterior to hold utensils, napkins and whatever else you need to take with you.

"I love this brand. Oxo is a guarantee of high-quality products, and this carrier is no exception," said a five-star reviewer. "Well made, very sturdy, leakproof. ... It keeps the food hot for around 2.5 or 3 hours. Perfect for lasagna, enchiladas, et cetera. Very happy with this product!"

Who needs a cupcake catastrophe or a pie-asco on Turkey Day? Not you, that's for sure!

$25 at Amazon

Anyone who's ever had to transport baked goods will tell you how dangerous it is — one slip-up can cause that carefully crafted concoction to be splattered or smashed. That's why I like round food storage containers like these from Zilpoo: They're designed to fit (and secure) pie pans or a slew of cupcakes.

One baker said these are perfect for 9-inch pies — plus, they stack. "After years of searching, I found these containers. I like the simple design — not too bulky, stackable, lightweight, clear, airtight. The perfect protection for my pies from all hazards and foreign objects. Defense from smeared filling, broken crusts and picking fingers. I thought they were a little pricey, but they are worth it."

This slow cooker is portable and has a locking lid, making it perfect for holiday dos and tailgate parties.

$70 at Amazon

Slow cookers are great not just for soups and stews, but also for stuffing, gravy and sauces. If you often bring your slow-cooked culinary creations to a potluck, you should consider investing in this Hamilton Beach number. It has a temperature probe to ensure perfectly cooked meals, and its locking lid ensures that it's highly portable. Plus, it's easy to use, said one pleased shopper. "I hate electronics (ask my husband), but I can operate this with ease. You just press the on button, then select the time and heat settings. ... Now I can be one of 'those' people who take up the office kitchen because we are having a potluck."

Keep that slow cooker nice and toasty with this insulated bag, which has sturdy handles to make it even more portable.

$20 at Amazon
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$20 at Walmart$20 at Kohl's

How about a durable travel case to go along with that slow cooker? This one is insulated to keep your food warm, and the long handles make it easy to carry. It fits most 4- to 8-quart slow cookers, and the front zips open for easier loading and unloading.

One shopper raved about the helpfulness of this cover: "I needed a cover to help insulate and protect when transporting my Crock-Pots to covered-dish functions. ... I saw this carrier, and the dimensions seemed to fit my largest Crock-Pot, plus it has an interior mesh with Velcro strap to hold the lid in place. Perfect! The price was right, so I gave it a try. Quality is very nice and it does work well with my 6-quart with a little room to spare. ... The straps wrap completely around the case so there is added security in toting a heavy dish. Highly recommend."

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.