Lightweight when empty
No need for annual recalibration
Holds lots of jars
No fine-tuning at high elevations
Handles need precise alignment to lock lid
Only works on gas and electric coil ranges
We purchased the Mirro 22-Quart Pressure Canner so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
When home canning fills your shelves and appears in daily family meals, you could use a large-capacity pot, like the Mirro 22-Quart Pressure Canner. The large, tall pot lets you safely process more than 25 pounds of beets, potatoes, or other low-acid vegetables in one batch. Bigger can be better if you’re preserving a season’s salmon catch or turning venison or beef into stew meat.
Mirro’s history is a bit more scattered than the other big names in pressure canning, but it’s been around since the early 1900s. It began changing corporate hands in the 1980s, and after several shifts ended up with France’s Groupe SEB, which also owns All-Clad, Tefal, and Imusa. Through it all, little seems to have changed in the canner’s design.
I spent a couple of weeks testing this large-capacity pressure canner and cooker with large and small batches to see how it stacked up against the competition. Here’s what I found.
Design: Process many jars on standard stoves
Mirro’s largest canner has two uses: pressure canning and pressure cooking. Older versions of the user’s manual mentioned using it as a water-bath canner, but my test unit’s booklet (dated September 2019) says to use “a conventional cooking pot” instead.
Like most full-size pressure canners, Mirro’s 22-quart model can hold 7 quart-sized jars, but this canner is so large that you can stack two layers of smaller jars. You’ll pack in the greatest number of regular-mouth ones: 18 pint-sized and 24 half-pint jars. Mirro provides two canning racks to make stacking easy. Set one rack on the pot’s bottom and one between the jar layers.
The upside is a weighted gauge doesn’t need annual accuracy testing.
The canner’s streamlined design is attractively polished outside and functionally matte inside. The pot’s aluminum construction rules it out for induction cooktops, and it has a concave base that won’t work well on glass-top stoves. Given these features and its fully loaded weight, which can top 45 pounds, it makes sense that Mirro would only recommend gas and electric coil heat sources.
Setup Process: Fully assembled, but short on canning guidance
The pressure canner comes fully assembled with its operating valves tucked in a small box. Before you start canning or cooking, Mirro recommends running the canner under minimal pressure with just water and baking soda. This treatment didn’t seem to prevent the aluminum interior from darkening, which seemed to be the intent, but it was a great way to give the canner a test run.
The user’s manual is worth reviewing to learn about the canner’s components, but it doesn’t always jibe with U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. Jar sizing and processing instructions seem to have been culled from an older or inaccurate source, and they gloss over some details. It’s hard to recommend the model to an entry-level canner without that caveat that you should follow USDA guidelines, rather than Mirro’s manual, to ensure safe processing.
Features: Weighted gauge slashes maintenance
This canner’s key feature is its weighted gauge. Mirro includes three regulators, calling them operating valves, that can be swapped out depending on what you’re canning or cooking. Weighted gauges lock you into broad pressure targets, so you may be processing jars under more pressure than they need to safely seal. The upside is a weighted gauge doesn’t need annual accuracy testing. The company recommends swapping out the gasket annually and having the entire setup checked at an approved service center every 10 years.
The other reason to choose—or not choose—this canner is its sheer size. If canning dominates your summer, you’ll love the high walls that let you stack pint-sized and smaller jars. Still, that height may be awkward if you have low clearance between your stovetop and an over-the-range microwave. Double sink basins may be too small, and fixed faucets too short, to wash the canner in your kitchen, requiring a utility sink or outdoor cleanup.
Performance: Works well with a little practice
The canner tested well when processing beans in mixed batches and sealed all lids when I jarred up soup. It took practice to get a steady regulator jiggle on my gas stove. Setting the pot on a larger burner helped, but at my 3,000-foot elevation, I still had to adjust the burner heat more often than with dial-gauge canners to keep the pressure steady.
I had to adjust the burner heat more often than with dial-gauge canners to keep the pressure steady.
It also took a few tries to lock the canner’s lid closed so that it would build pressure. It was easy to over-twist the lid, but perfect top-to-bottom alignment still vented steam through the pressure indicator and handle rim. Turning until the top handle was just slightly forward of the lower one on both sides immediately popped up the pressure indicator once the canner started to steam. This may be a quirk of the specific pot I tested and not all Mirro canners.
Even though Mirro sells this model as a pressure cooker, you’d probably skip this use unless you’re feeding a large, hungry crew. The recipes in an enclosed booklet are all scaled for small pressure cookers, so you’d have to make triple batches and plan to feed 24 to 36 people from this pot.
Price: All-inclusive at a great price
This large canner typically sells for $100 or less, making it one of the most affordable ways to fill your shelves with home-canned goods. For that price, you get a second rack for double decking and operating valves at three pressure levels, pieces that are sometimes sold as add-ons to other pressure canners. Mirro’s design also requires less maintenance than many pressure canners, cutting down on your costs down the road.
Although it’s less expensive than much of the competition, the canner has more limitations. You’ll want to choose another brand if you have a flat cooktop. If you’re nervous about pressure canning for the first time, you may prefer a model with a dial gauge so that you get more feedback on what’s happening inside the sealed pot.
Competition: Budget-friendly low maintenance costs
Mirro’s pressure canner is easy on the budget at initial purchase and over time, but you have some other options that keep you in a similar price range.
Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker: Presto’s 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker (view at Amazon) holds a couple more jars than Mirro’s similarly sized model and doubles as a water-bath canner for jars ranging from half-pints to quarts. It sells for a few more dollars (with a retail price of $109), but needs less frequent gasket replacements. Its dial gauge does need annual testing, which could require shipping it off to Presto.
Presto 16-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker: To step down in size and save some cupboard space, consider Presto’s 16-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker (view at Amazon). It’s nearly the same price as Mirro’s larger canner but also works as a water-bath canner for pint-sized and smaller jars. It has the same maintenance needs and costs as Presto’s larger model and can be used on glass cooktops that can handle its 41-pound loaded weight.
Pressure canning a lot of food doesn’t get much simpler.
The Mirro 22-Quart Pressure Canner has basic looks and features and packs lots of jars inside. Experienced canners at low elevations may love this low-maintenance, weighted-gauge model. Novice canners and anyone living at a high elevation will want to do some research before processing the first batch.
- Product Name 22-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner Review
- Product Brand Mirro
- Weight 10.8 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 13.5 x 19.75 x 15.5 in.
- Color Silver
- Capacity 16-24 half-pints, 16-18 pints, 7 quarts
- Material Aluminum
- Warranty 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
- What's Included Locking lid, 3 operating valves, steam release outlet with filter, pressure indicator, safety valve, and gasket; canner body; 2 canning racks