Home canning lets you preserve fresh food to enjoy all year, whether it's a basket of local strawberries or a row of homegrown carrots. Canning supplies help you safely seal jars of food using heat, pressure, or both so they can be stored at room temperature. You'll want some canning tools for every project, while others are only required when processing certain types of foods.
Before buying supplies, think about what you want to preserve. Low-acid foods, including meat, poultry, seafood, and non-pickled vegetables, need a pressure canner. High-acid foods, such as fruits and pickles, can be sealed using a water-bath or steam canner.
You’ll also need a safe, tested canning recipe for your chosen food. While it’s tempting to seal your favorite fresh salsa or bean soup in a jar, only recipes that were created specifically for canning and use tested processes ensure that the jar’s contents will be safe to eat. Fortunately, authoritative resources are available online and in print, including our Best Cookbook choice.
By choosing the right type of canner, learning to use it properly, and following a tested canning recipe, you can feel confident that your jars of home-preserved food will be safe and delicious to eat. Whether you're a novice canner gathering your first supplies or an experienced preserver upgrading your tools, several accessories simplify the canning process.
Best Pressure Canner
Presto 01784 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
Works on all cooktops
Dial gauge needs occasional recalibration
If you want to can beef stew, creamed corn, and other low-acid foods, invest in a pressure canner. This device uses ultra-high heat and pressure to safely seal jars. Presto's sturdy 23-quart model holds 20 pint-sized or seven quart-sized jars, making it ideal for large batches. The dial gauge helps you adjust the pressure for your altitude, the air vent and cover lock help control pressure, and the rack holds jars off the pot's bottom.
Presto's 01784 model has a stainless steel-clad base, so you can use it on most cooktops. If you'll only be canning on a gas and electric stove, a similar all-aluminum version (model 01781) comes with a lower price tag. Either canner will work on a glass-top stove if it can handle its fully loaded weight of up to 52 pounds; check with your stove’s manufacturer to be sure.
We reviewed Presto's all-aluminum model and were impressed with its performance. We found it to be the perfect size for pressure-canning quart jars of baked beans. We also tested it as a water-bath canner, processing 13 12-ounce jars of rhubarb sauce in one batch. We expect this pressure canner to last for a long time, so it's a good investment.
Presto also makes a smaller 16-quart, all-aluminum canner that is more than 3 inches shorter, which may fit better if you have a microwave above your stovetop. For an even smaller option, consider the All American 10.5-Quart Pressure Cooker and Canner.
Price at time of publish: $176
Liquid Capacity: 23 quarts | Mason Jar Capacity: 26 half-pints, 20 pints, or 7 quarts | Material: Aluminum with stainless steel base | Dimensions: 13.5 x 17.5 x 15.5 inches | Weight: 10.32 pounds | Cooktop Compatibility: Suitable for gas, electric coil, induction, and some glass-top stoves | Dishwasher-Safe: No
"It lets you fit a lot of jars into its tall pot for both pressure and boiling water-bath canning."
Best Water-Bath Canner
Granite Ware 21.5-Quart Water Canner with Lid and Jar Rack
Tall enough for quart jars
Wide base holds a dozen half-pint jars
Stands up to generations of use
Needs an oversized burner on an electric stove
For just high-acid foods, like raspberry jam and dill pickles, a water-bath canner will see you through. This 21-quart model has enough room that you can process seven quart-sized jars and still have the extra bubbling inch of water above the jars that’s necessary for safe processing. It also lets you pack in a full flat of half-pint jars or nine pint-sized ones.
The canner comes with an aluminum rack that keeps the jars off the bottom and has collapsible handles for lifting all of the jars in and out of the water in one motion, making it easy to load and unload. Because of its wavy bottom, the manufacturer does not recommend using it on glass-topped stoves. On other electric stoves, you’ll need a burner that’s at least 10 inches in diameter to ensure even processing. If your stove doesn’t meet those requirements, Granite Ware makes similar 8-, 11.5-, and 15.5-quart canners.
Price at time of publish: $44
Liquid Capacity: 21.5 quarts | Mason Jar Capacity: 12 half-pints, 9 pints, or 7 quarts | Material: Metal-coated porcelain (enamelware) | Dimensions: 14 x 16.5 x 12.4 inches | Weight: 3.8 pounds | Cooktop Compatibility: Suitable for gas and electric stoves | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best Steam Canner
Roots & Branches Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner
Double-sided rack for water-bath or steam canning
Steam canning is a safe and effective alternative to water-bath canning for high-acid foods. You process jars for the same amount of time but save preheating time, energy, and water—and you don’t run the risk of the canner boiling over. Most steam canners have a wavy bottom that prevents them from being used on smooth-top stoves, which is one reason the Roots & Branches multi-use canner is our top choice in the category.
This 20-quart canner not only has a smooth bottom, making it suitable for glass cooktops or induction cooktops, but it can also be used for water-bath canning or steam canning. On traditional stoves, fill it with water and submerge a rack of jars to seal them. On glass or induction cooktops, set the jars on the double-sided rack above the water and let them steam closed. In the glass lid, a temperature indicator reacts to the steam's heat and tells you when to start your processing time.
This canner has been rebranded from Victorio, a household name in home canning. It’s still available from some retailers with the older packaging.
Price at time of publish: $100
Liquid Capacity: 20 quarts | Mason Jar Capacity: 8 pints or 7 quarts | Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 13.2 x 16.9 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 7.6 pounds | Cooktop Compatibility: Suitable for gas, electric, induction, and glass-top stoves | Dishwasher-Safe: No
A nationwide shortage of lids, jars, canners, and other canning supplies in 2020 and 2021 has led to ongoing price gouging by some retailers and sales of off-brand lids falsely labeled as Ball or Kerr by others. Ball recommends using its shortlist of authorized retailers to ensure you receive genuine Ball or Kerr products.
Ball Wide-Mouth Pint 16-Ounce Glass Mason Jar With Lids and Bands, 12-Count
Lids are not reusable for canning
To can food, you'll need the classic trio: glass jars, lids, and rings. Newell Brands makes today's biggest household names in Mason jars, including Kerr and Golden Harvest. It may be best known for its Ball brand of jar sets, canning kits and supplies, and books.
When it comes to jars, pint jars land in the middle of canning sizes; quart-sized jars are favored by those with large families, while half-pint and 4-ounce sizes are ideal for jams and gifts. Wide-mouth pints tend to be the most versatile and easiest to fill. For easy purchase, flats of canning jars come with reusable rings and single-use lids in a complete, reliable setup. The Ball product line includes narrow-mouth jars in all sizes, as well as ring-and-lid sets and boxes of single-use lids.
Price at time of publish: $19
Jar Size: 16 ounces | Material: Glass and tin-plated steel | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Includes: 12 jars with lids and rings
“I use wide-mouth, pint-sized jars for a variety of pickled things. One of my favorite things is pickled Brussels sprouts, and they go well in that size of the jar. Mixed fruit, like fruit cocktail, also fits well in that size of jar.”— Renee Pottle, Author of "Water Bath Canning"
Ball Canning Back to Basics
Clear, simple instructions and recipes
Helpful photos for beginners
Only covers water-bath canning
Ball has been publishing canning books for about as long as it's been making jars—its first home canning book hit shelves in 1909. Today's collection includes "Ball Canning Back to Basics," a user-friendly volume for novice canners and experienced professionals alike.
This book packs 100 straightforward recipes for everything from pear preserves to tomato sauce. It also includes basic information to ensure safe processing and numerous photos to help guide you. The book is specific to high-acid and added-acid foods, so you'll need to look elsewhere for instructions and recipes for pressure canning.
Price at time of publish: $15 in paperback
Recipes: 100 | Pages: 192 | Year Published: 2017
Home-canning recipes are more than guidelines; they’re rules that need to be followed down to the last detail. The reason is simple: safety. Some bacteria can survive–and even thrive–in jars sealed airtight. That’s why food laboratories test recipes thoroughly to ensure the ingredient balance and process destroy heat-resistant microorganisms.
Testing includes determining the correct pH level, headspace, and processing technique and time. Changes that you may make without hesitation when preparing dinner, like swapping or adding ingredients or shortening cooking time, can have drastic, even deadly, consequences when it comes to canning. If you stick to tested and research-based canning recipes, you know the contents of each jar are safe to eat.
Your first stop for canning guidelines and recipes should be the National Center for Home Food Preservation. You can also find lab-tested canning recipes in books published by Ball and in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Complete Guide to Home Canning” online and in print. In some states, cooperative extension services offer canning classes and guidance from their teams of experts.
Norpro 6-Piece Canning Set
More tools than you may need
A complete canning kit gives you all the tools you need for your first canning project or an accessory upgrade. Norpro's affordable six-piece set features the essentials: a jar lifter to safely move jars in and out of boiling water and a wide-mouth funnel to fill jars with minimal mess.
The kit's bonus tools include a bubble popper/measurer to swiftly remove air bubbles or mark necessary headspace and a magnetic lid lifter to help pick up wet lids. If your hands won't fit inside a jar, the kit's tongs can help you pack in food. If you suffer from arthritis or a similar ailment, the jar wrench can clasp jars as you make the rings finger-tight.
Price at time of publish: $20
Dimensions: 10.25 x 3 x 1.25 inches | Weight: 1.43 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes | Includes: Jar lifter, wide-mouth funnel, bubble popper/measurer, magnetic lid lifter, tongs, and jar wrench
Best Jar Lifter
Ball Secure-Grip Jar Lifter
Canning means repeatedly lifting glass jars in and out of boiling water. Just the thought of using pasta tongs, oven mitts, or bare hands will convince you to add a jar lifter to your canning supplies.
The key feature of Ball's Secure-Grip model is a spring-loaded hinge that makes one-handed use a snap. The wide-top grip feels secure in your hand and around the jar. These features do bulk up the design, which can make it challenging to slide the last jar in and the first jar out of a fully loaded canner.
Price at time of publish: $16
Material: Metal and silicone | Dimensions: 3.25 x 3.5 x 8.38 inches | Weight: 0.5 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
“My favorite tool in canning, and I’ve been doing this for a long, long time, is a jar lifter. I don’t know how people can without a jar lifter. To me, it’s a must-have.” — Renee Pottle, Author of "Water Bath Canning"
Progressive Canning Funnel
Fits narrow- and wide-mouth jars
Gives headspace measurements
Once a canning funnel enters your kitchen, you'll find it useful for everything from filling jars with boiling jelly to building Mason jar salads. It's an essential canning tool because a clean jar rim goes a long way toward ensuring a secure lid-to-jar seal.
Progressive's Prepworks model takes the standard canning funnel and upgrades it with a couple of features that would have made your grandmother envious. The double-walled design and extended outer wall help even the messiest canners reduce drips and spills. Measurements marked on the outer rim make it easy to see when you've hit your headspace target.
Price at time of publish: $20 for Canning Funnel
Material: BPA-free polypropylene (plastic) | Dimensions: 3.25 x 5 x 7 inches | Weight: 0.02 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
“I think funnels are indispensable. I’m a messy cook, and a funnel helps keep the mess under control. [I use a] canning funnel in conjunction with a towel to hold the jars and a nicely sized ladle—not too big and not too small—to dump things into the funnel.” — Renee Pottle, author of "Profitable Preserves" and "Water Bath Canning"
Progressive International Prepworks Reversible Stainless Steel Canning Rack
Divided to help keep jars upright
Two racks would allow stacking
Only holds four quart-sized jars
Canning kettles should come with a rack that keeps jars from rattling against the bottom of the pot and breaking. A second rack helps you stack small jars in large pressure canners, convert a big stockpot into a water-bath canner, or just upgrade your setup to stainless steel.
Progressive's reversible rack has a 10.25-inch diameter and slides into most 16-quart and larger pots. It stands 2-inches high, so your pot will need to be at least 12 inches deep to safely hold four quart-sized jars underwater. The rack's divided rings help to keep jars from tipping.
Price at time of publish: $20 for Canning Rack
Pot Size: 16 quarts or larger | Mason Jar Capacity: 7 half-pints or pints and 4 quarts | Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 10.25 x 10.25 x 2 inches | Weight: 0.46 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best Digital Scale
Taylor Precision Products Compact Digital Scale
Measures ounces and grams
Holds up to 11 pounds of dry ingredients
Wide bowls hide the measurement display
A digital scale may initially live among your canning supplies, but will quickly find a home with your everyday kitchen tools. Taylor has been making accuracy tools since 1851. Its compact digital scales have a low profile and take up little space.
If you want to know how many pounds of green beans you harvested and how many grams of salt you need to pickle them, you'll appreciate the 1020NFS model. It switches between U.S. customary and metric measurements at the touch of a button and marks small increments up to 11 pounds (dry ingredients). The stainless steel platform is removable for easy cleaning.
Price at time of publish: $35
Load Capacity: 11 pounds (175 fluid ounces) | Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 1.46 x 6.54 x 8.07 inches | Weight: 19.04 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe: No | Includes: 2 AAA batteries
Fox Runs Stainless Steel Canning Strainer
Comes with a stand
Funnel shape reduces mess
Fine mesh sieve
Stand is a little short
If you want a smooth salsa, jam, or sauce, a sieve is going to be your best friend. Sieves catch larger chunks and keep them out of the final product. This particular chinois-style strainer from Fox Run is great for canning purposes. Its funnel shape makes it easy to strain the seeds and fibrous skins from cooked fruit, tomatoes, and tomatillos so that you end up with a seed-free preserve, sauce, or spread.
A sturdy stand supports the sieve so that juice or puree can drip freely into a shallow bowl. For larger batches, the strainer can rest directly over a large bowl or pot. Mashing your ingredients with the wooden pestle ensures you get the most out of your recipe.
Price at time of publish: $51
Includes: Sieve, stand, wooden pestle | Materials: Stainless steel, chrome, wood | Dishwasher-Safe: No
Best Pickling Salt
Morton Canning and Pickling Salt 4 Lb Box
No anti-caking or other additives
Fine grains that dissolve evenly
Slow to dissolve in room-temperature liquids
Salt plays a key role in canning, drawing water out of vegetables, penetrating their cells to help preserve them, and adding flavor. Morton Canning and Pickling Salt is efficient in all of those roles and readily available at supermarkets and online. Its fine grains dissolve evenly, whether stirred into a hot brine or sauce or sprinkled on cucumber slices to draw out their water and keep them crisp.
Most importantly, you only see one ingredient listed on the packaging: salt. Anti-caking agents commonly added to table salt make brine cloudy. Other additives can affect texture and color. Flakier salts without additional ingredients can also be used in canning, but they may weigh half as much per tablespoon, making it necessary to adjust accordingly.
Price at time of publish: $11
Size: 4 pounds | Iodized: No | Grain: Fine
Best Jar Storage
Roots & Harvest Canning SafeCrate for Pint and Quart Jars
Holds a full set of jars
Fits wide- and narrow-mouth jars in several sizes
Keeps jars from resting directly on one another when stacked
Six-pack crates may not stack well on larger ones
If you treat them well, canning jars can last years if not generations. How you store them, when empty and when full, can affect how long they can be reused. SafeCrates help by keeping jars clean and even letting you stack them.
The two-piece crate has individual compartments for each jar so that they don’t knock against one another and crack, a particularly helpful feature if you’re carrying the collection to a basement for storage or a car to deliver to family. Once you’ve loaded the jars into the bottom of the crate, the top snaps on, limiting dust and debris. It also creates a smooth surface above the top of the jars, letting you stack a second crate on top without resting directly on sealed jar lids.
The 12-pack crate for pint jars will hold an entire flat of wide-mouth or narrow-mouth pint-sized jars. Other versions hold quart-sized and half-pint jars and smaller six-jar sets.
Price at time of publish: $19
Material: Polypropylene (plastic) | Dimensions: 18.25 x 13.13 x 5.5 inches | Capacity: 12 pint-sized jars | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Avery Custom Jar Labels and Stickers
Multiple shapes, sizes, and styles available
Certain styles are waterproof, microwave-safe, and oil-resistant
Two sheet minimum for sheet-style labels
Labeling jars is incredibly important so that when you look at shelves of home-canned goods, you know what you canned and when. After all, you don’t want to confuse a spicy salsa with a sweet raspberry jam. These labels from Avery go beyond the simple slap-dash of masking tape and pen. You can create an entirely customized label in an easy step-by-step process. Custom labels are great for people looking to sell or give away their homemade goodies or for people who just like a bit of personal flair.
Avery has a variety of shapes, sizes, formats, quantities, and even edge designs to choose from. Some materials, like the white film, are waterproof, tear-proof, freezer- and microwave-safe, oil-resistant, and you can even write on them. Not all styles have these features, so be sure to double-check your selection. Labels deteriorate with the heat of a boiling water-bath or pressure canner, so it’s best to apply them after the jars have been sealed, cooled, and wiped clean.
Price at time of publish: $60 for 40 labels
Formats: Sheets, rolls, cut stickers | Sizes: Varies by product | Shapes: Rounded rectangle, rectangle, round, oval, square, arched, arched square, star, heart, cigar, lollipop, hexagon
What to Look for in Canning Supplies
Decide what you want to preserve, and then choose the right canner for that food. You only need to invest in a pressure canner if you want to can vegetables without pickling them or jar up meats, including stocks and soups. Fruit, including jams, jellies, and pickled vegetables, can be processed in a boiling water bath.
For large batches, it's worth buying a water-bath or steam canner. Small batches of fruit and pickles can be processed in any large stockpot as long as it has a lid, you put a canning rack in it, and it's tall enough that at least 1 inch of water covers the jars without boiling over.
Pressure canners can come in several styles, but they need to hold at least four quart-sized jars and meet other USDA guidelines for safe processing.
Generally, pressure cookers are too small for safe canning.
Both pressure canners and water-bath canners come in a range of sizes. Larger canners hold more jars; they may also be big enough that you can seal up quart jars or a double layer of smaller jars. Small canners only let you preserve a few small jars at a time, but they weigh less, especially when full, and take up less storage space.
Canners can last years when kept clean and stored dry. Some pressure canners have gauges and gaskets that need to be tested or replaced regularly.
Glass canning jars can be reused endlessly if they are free of chips and cracks. Canning rings are also reusable until they rust or become damaged.
Canning lids that look like flat, tin-plated discs are single-use products. This type of lid cannot be safely reused for canning.
How do you sterilize canning jars?
Wash all canning equipment, including jars, lids, and rings, in hot, soapy water before use. Empty canning jars should also be sterilized for recipes, like jam or relish, that are processed for less than ten minutes (before your altitude adjustment). Put them upright in your water-bath canner, add warm water to cover the jars by an inch, bring it to a boil, and let it boil for ten minutes (plus one minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). The jars are ready to use and can be processed in the same hot water.
Can you reuse canning lids?
The flat tin-plated discs sealed onto canning jars in a water-bath or pressure canner cannot be reused for canning. These lids have been designed to seal only once, but they’re not immediately trash. Pair them with the reusable rings and glass jars to store leftovers in your refrigerator, dried beans or rice in your pantry, or dried herbs and spices on your spice rack.
What is canning salt?
Canning salt, also known as pickling salt, has one ingredient: salt. It dissolves easily and lets canned food and brine stay bright and clear. If you see other ingredients on the packaging, like iodine or anti-caking agents, set that salt aside for something other than canning. It’s best to use the kind of salt specified in a canning recipe because every type and brand has a different “saltiness” when measuring in tablespoons and cups.
How do you seal canning jars?
Canning jars seal when a vacuum is created. When you fill a jar, set a lid on it, and screw on a ring until it's finger-tight, you’re holding the lid in place, not sealing the jar. In the canner, oxygen escapes the jar, so when you pull it out and let it cool undisturbed, the lid seals to the jar. Once sealed, the ring no longer has a job, so you can remove, clean, and store it separately until your next canning session.
What is the difference between pressure canning and water-bath canning?
Pressure canning uses pressure and ultra-high heat (between 240 and 250 degrees), whereas water-bath canning uses boiling water (212 degrees). Both techniques safely seal jars, but they use different processes to safely preserve different types of food. High acid—whether natural like in berries or added like in pickles—neutralizes unwanted microorganisms and bacteria, so proper processing in boiling water is enough to make the food safe. Low-acid food needs pressure and ultrahigh heat to kill bacteria, so it must be pressure canned for a specific time under a specific pressure.
What methods and foods should be avoided while canning?
People have canned at home for generations, but researchers are continually learning and sharing new information about food safety. Today’s canning experts advise against using recipes and techniques published before 1994, when major updates were made to canning guidelines. Even older methods that were once thought safe, like open-kettle and inversion canning, have been proved insufficient to safely seal jars. Instead of thinking about what to avoid, use the most recent canning guidelines from the USDA, NCHFP, and extension services and follow research-based and tested recipes.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Julie Laing has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years and is the author of the weekly newspaper column and food blog, Twice as Tasty. She spends her summers growing and preserving food, including canning, fermenting, freezing, and dehydrating, so that she can enjoy the results all year. Julie published her first cookbook, "The Complete Guide to Pickling," in 2020.
NCHFP. How Do I ... Can?
USDA. USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning. 2015.
USDA. “Guide 01: Principles of Home Canning,” p. 1-17. USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.
University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. What to Look for When Determining the Safety of Home Canning Recipes.