Safely Canning Foods: Pressure Canners, Pressure Cookers and Electric Pressure Cookers

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Jeanne Brandt and Nellie Oehler
EM 9152 | Published September 2020, Reviewed 2023

Pressure Canners, Pressure Cookers, and Electric Pressure Cookers

Recommended by USDA and OSU Extension

Pressure Canners

Pressure canners are required to reach temperatures necessary to destroy Clostridium botulinum bacteria spores in low-acid foods (vegetables, meat, fish, and poultry). U.S. Department of Agriculture research-based processing times for pressure canners are based on the time it takes for the canner and the contents to heat up, vent, process for the recommended period, and cool down undisturbed. Pathogen destruction continues during cooling time.

Pressure Canners:

• Have either a dial or weighted gauge to regulate the pressure.

• Hold at least 4 quart jars; most hold 7 quart jars or 8 to 9 pint jars. Usually hold 16 to 23 quarts total volume.

• Could be used to cook large quantities of food.

Not recommended by USDA and OSU Extension

Pressure Cookers/saucepans

Cookers heat up and cool too quickly to adequately process canning jars. Internal temperatures may fluctuate during rapid heating and cooling and without prolonged venting.

Pressure Cookers:

• Are designed to cook food quickly, tenderize meat, or rehydrate dried beans.

• Usually hold 4 to 8 quarts in total volume.

• May have 5-, 10-, or 15-pound pressure regulator or low, medium, or high settings.

Electric pressure cooker

(also known as multi pots and instant pots)

No USDA or university research has been done to determine if the internal temperature of an electric pressure cooker is adequate and stable enough to safely process low-acid foods.

Electric cookers:

• Heat up and cool down too quickly.

• Are likely to result in dangerous under-processing of canned foods.

(Note: this information does not apply to the Ball ® FreshTECH Automatic Home System, which is meant for high-acid foods only. Follow the instructions and recipes that accompany that appliance.)

For more information

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, Revised 2015

Burning Issues, Canning in Electric Multi-cookers. May 2016. National Center for Home Food Preservation

Burning issues: Canning in Pressure Cookers. September 2015. National Center for Home Food Preservation

More resources from the OSU Extension catalog

Using and Caring for Your Pressure Canner (PNW 421)

Canning Vegetables (PNW 172)

Canning Meat, Poultry, and Game (PNW 361)

Canning Seafood (PNW 194)

Canning Smoked Fish at Home (PNW 450)

Canning Tomatoes and Tomato Products (PNW 300)

Canning Fruits (PNW 199)

Salsa Recipes for Canning (PNW 395)

Pickling Vegetables (PNW 355)

Pickling Fish and Other Aquatic Foods for Home Use (PNW 183)

Freezing Convenience Foods That You’ve Prepared at Home (PNW 296)

For more food preservation information, see:

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