Best Canning Recipes

Canning is a fun project that gets your hands dirty, keeps your food fresh, and gives you a last-minute gift option when the holidays roll around.

The key to successful canning is starting with a recipe you can trust. We pulled these gems from our favorite homesteading and farming blogs. We also recommended the best foods to can, if you’re just starting out.

For more info about the science of canning, and about different canning methods, read our canning post. If you’re ready to get going, take a look at this list, find a project, and most of all have fun!

= Insteading picks for the best foods to can.
= Foods that are canning options, but you may not be thrilled with how they come out.




Apple Butter
Apple Pie Filling
Diced Tomatoes
Grape Juice
Stewed Tomatoes
Strawberry Jam
Tomato Juice
Tomato Sauce
Vegetable Soup

Canning Don’ts


= Insteading picks for the best foods to can.
= Foods that are canning options, but you may not be thrilled with how they come out.


Always a canning favorite since they tend to ripen all at once. Because some new varieties of tomatoes are so sweet, the USDA now recommends that you add a small amount of acid to eliminate the risk of botulism.

Canning Tomatoes

Canning Tomatoes recipe and photo by Candi of The Farm Barbie.

Tips for Canning Tomatoes


Peach-lovers won’t mind all the work of canning peaches. You have to remove the skins and pits. Then you have a couple of choices. If you want the peaches to keep their color, add ascorbic acid (you can get this in the form of Ball Fruit-Fresh Produce Protector). Then you’ll decide whether or not you want to pack the peaches in a sweet syrup or juice.

Canning Peaches

Canning Peaches recipe and photo by Marblemount Homestead.

Tips for Canning Peaches


Another way of preserving tomatoes is to turn them into salsa. Just as with whole tomatoes, you’ll want to add an acid component to prevent spoilage.
Canning Salsa

Canning Salsa recipe and photo by Rachel Tayse of Harmonious Homestead.

Tips for Canning Salsa

Green Beans

Green beans, pickled in a spicy brine, are a crunchy, salty snack or a yummy add-on for your Bloody Mary bar. You can can them fresh, too, but as a low-acid food, they must be processed in pressure canner.

Canning Green Beans

Canning Green Beans recipe and photo by Kathleen of Yankee Homestead.

Tips for Canning Green Beans


Homesteaders swear by home-canned applesauce as the best you’ll ever have. Slightly soup apples are the best. Peeling the apples will be a considerable chore, consider borrowing or buying an apple peeler if you’re going to do a big batch.

Canning Applesauce

Canning Applesauce recipe and photo by Old World Garden Farms.

Tips for Canning Applesauce


Since cucumbers don’t have much flavor on their own, they’ve become a canvas for creative cooks. You can try kosher dill, bread and butter, spicy…just make sure you’re using pickling cucumbers. The big ones we use for salad are too watery—you’ll end up with mush.
Canning Pickles

Canning Pickles recipe and photo by Connie of Urban Overalls.

Tips for Canning Pickles

Tomato Sauce

If you want enough tomato sauce to spend the winter eating hearty pasta, make sure you have a big pot. You’ll only get about 10 pints of sauce for every 20 lbs of tomatoes.
Canning Tomato Sauce

Canning Tomato Sauce recipe and photo by Kendra of New Life On A Homestead.

Tips for Canning Tomato Sauce


Since pears are slightly firm, they are a good candidate for canning in slices. Other more tender fruits would just turn to mush.

Canning Pears

Canning Pears recipe and photo by Jennie of Straight From The Farm.

Tips for Canning Pears


Firm apples hold up well to canning. “Hot packing” is the best way to can apples—that’s when you cook them slightly first.
Canning Apples

Canning Apples recipe and photo by Kathi of Oak Hill Homestead.

Tips for Canning Apples


Potatoes are easy to store and nearly always available—so why can them? First, because when canned they are ready-to-use—you can just toss them into soups or mash them for an easy side. Second, because when potatoes go on sale, you can save money buying in bulk and canning.

Canning Potatoes recipe by Fina of Farm And Foodie.

Tips for Canning Potatoes


Pickling beets is a popular method of preservation since brine adds acidity to the beets and helps them keep longer. It also, for some, improves the flavor. If you don’t pickle beets, you must use a pressure canner.

Canning Beets recipe by Donni Webber of The Magic Onions.

Tips for Canning Beets


I thought I’d through a slightly different recipe at you—this one describes how to “lacto-ferment” jalapeños. That’s giving them some natural fermentation agents, letting those do they’re trick, then refrigerating.

Canning Jalapeños recipe by Quinn of Reformation Acres.

Tips for Canning Jalapeños

Apple Pie Filling

A few hours of work, and you’ll be able to pop open a can and whip up hot apple pie whenever you want.

Canning Apple Pie Filling recipe by Tammy Taylor of Taylor Made Homestead.

Tips for Canning Apple Pie Filling


If canned or frozen corn is a big part of your diet, you’re almost surely eating GMO food. Nearly all processed corn is from genetically-modified seed. Buying organic corn and canning it yourself is the only way to be sure you’re eating GMO free.
Canning Corn

Canning Corn recipe and photo by Angelia of Shepherds Hill Homestead.

Tips for Canning Corn

Apple Butter

The classic food gift and the sweetest way to preserve your bounty of apples.

apple butter
Apple butter doesn’t photograph well, but it’s very tasty.

Canning Apple Butter recipe by Kim of Homestead Acres.

Tips for Canning Apple Butter

Banana Peppers

This recipe is for pickled pepper rings, which will preserve them longer. Use this basic recipe for whichever peppers you want to pickle.

Canning Banana Peppers

Canning Banana Peppers recipe and photo by Amanda of Amanda The Virtuous Housewife.

Tips for Canning Banana Peppers


Crunchy carrots are a good candidate for canning. If you’re going to can them fresh rather then pickling them, you must use a pressure canner.
Canning Carrots

Canning Carrots recipe and photo by Laurrie Basiletti of The Redneck Homestead Family. She says she uses her canned carrots in homemade chicken pot pie.

Tips for Canning Carrots

Tomato Juice

You’ll be using your firmest tomatoes for making sauce or salsa. For big, watery tomatoes, canning their juice may be the best choice.
Canning Tomato Juice

Canning Tomato Juice recipe and photo by Merissa of Little House Living.

Tips for Canning Tomato Juice


Freezing and canning are the two best ways to store meat. With freezing, the upfront work is as simple as wrapping, tossing in, and shutting the door. Then, when you want to use it, you have to remember to defrost, and then cook. Canning chicken moves all of that work up to the start of the process. Once you’ve cut up and pressure canned chicken meat, it’s ready to use in tacos, soup, pasta…for a busy or forgetful cook, having canned chicken on hand saves scads of time and worry. Canning Chicken

Canning Chicken recipe and photo by Erin Harrison of Keeper Of The Homestead.

Tips for Canning Chicken

Stewed Tomatoes

Stewed or herbed tomatoes have long been a nice shortcut for making pasta sauce. Homesteaders who’ve made their own swear that home-canned stewed tomatoes are much, much better than what you can get at the supermarket. You’ll want to experiment with the herb mix to find one you like best.
Canning Stewed Tomatoes

Canning Stewed Tomatoes recipe and photo by Sherelle of My Crazy Life As A Farmer’s Wife.

Tips for Canning Stewed Tomatoes


Many homesteaders say that canned squash comes out mushy—good for baby food but not much else.

Here is a recipe from New Life on a Homestead—though as you’ll see, even the person who wrote it said they wouldn’t try canning zucchini again.

Tips for Canning Zucchini

Pumpkin or Winter Squash

Pumpkins and their winter squash cousins are good candidates for canning since their flesh is so firm.

Canning Pumpkin

Canning Pumpkin recipe and photo by Newbie Steader of Ten Acre Homestead.

Tips for Canning Pumpkin


Freezing is the most common method of preserving all the meat that comes with a deer kill. Some homesteaders say that canning makes for more tender meat.
Canning Venison recipe by Jenn of Little House On The 100.

Tips for Canning Venison


The sour of sauerkraut comes from fermenting it first, then canning it. This recipe uses you a very traditional—probably centuries old—method.

Canning Sauerkraut

Canning Sauerkraut recipe and photo by Swamp Creek Farm. The recipe comes from the writer Joyce’s great-grandmother.

Tips for Canning Sauerkraut


Home-can your soup and you’ll know for sure what goes into it. You’ll have to make a few sacrifices, though. It’s not safe to can any soup that uses grains or dairy. It’s best to just add that later before you eat.

Canning Soup recipe by Sue of The Iowa Housewife.

Tips for Canning Soup

Diced Tomatoes

This seems like a tremendous amount of work, unless you could dice the tomatoes on an industrial scale. Still, if you want to try it…

Strawberry Jam

Strawberries have too much water content to be canned whole, but they make incredible jam.
Canning Strawberry Jam

Canning Strawberry Jam recipe and photo by Emily of Eight Acre Homestead.

Tips for Canning Strawberry Jam


Homemade chili whenever you want—without the preservatives and flavor additives of the supermarket canned varieties. Really, you just make whatever chili recipe you like, and then pressure can it. Some homesteaders put dry beans in their chili and let the pressure canning cook them. Food preservation experts warn against this. Here’s a good discussion of the topic.

Canning Chili

Canning Chili recipe and photo by Jenny of Black Fox Homestead.

Tips for Canning Chili

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes can be pressure canned in water or in syrup.
Canning Sweet Potatoes

Canning Sweet Potatoes recipe and photo by Pamela of Granny.

Tips for Canning Sweet Potatoes


Preserve your big catch in canned chunks you can serve right away, rather than big frozen fillets you’ll have to defrost and cook.

Canning Salmon recipe by dr. momi of Homesteading At Redtail Ridge.

Tips for Canning Salmon


With fairly firm flesh, plums are a good choice for canning. Even better, since they are so small you can can them whole—no hours of plum pitting.
Canning Plums recipe by lori of Lip Smacking Goodness.

Tips for Canning Plums


If you’re lucky enough to hook a tuna, you soon have a problem—lots and lots and lots of fish. Home-canned tuna is a revelation compared to the mass-produced stuff.

Canning Tuna recipe by Max of Wild Redhead Homestead.

Tips for Canning Tuna


You’ll want to preserve cherries in some sort of liquid, so use water or a sugary syrup or white grape juice. Depends on how sweet you like your food. Not optional—a cherry pitter.

Canning Cherries recipe by Robin of Farm Folly.

Tips for Canning Cherries


You could can onions whole, but homesteaders who’ve tried it didn’t like the results. This recipe shows a good way to chop, then pressure can them.

Canning Onions recipe by Frugal Living On The Watkins Ranch.

Tips for Canning Onions


If you’ve ever gone u-picking, you know how fast those little berries pile up. A family of four u-picking for an hour or two will have enough blueberries to last all year. You probably don’t want those all in your freezer—they make for a good beginning canning project.
Canning Blueberries

Canning Blueberries recipe and photo by Patrice Lewis of Rural Revolution.

Tips for Canning Blueberries


Don’t. The recipes for canning butter you’ll find on the web are not really “canning” in the sense of preserving for future use, it’s just melting the butter and pouring it into jars.

It’s like saying you’re “canning” Coke if you bought a bunch of two-liter bottles on sale, opened them, and poured all the Coke into jars. There’s nothing really wrong with it (the health risks are unknown) but there’s not really a good reason to do it either, unless you just really like having things in jars.


A low-acid food, asparagus must be pressure canned or pickled.
Canning Asparagus recipe by the canned quilter of Hickery Holler Farm.

Tips for Canning Asparagus


Don’t. Canning is a very safe method for preserving food; if you follow a trusted recipe you are less likely to get sick from something you canned than from, say, the bagged spinach at the supermarket. But pesto is one of those foods that give canning a bad name. Putting two low-acid foods like herbs and oil together is a recipe for botulism, and in fact two women got very sick from botulism-laced pesto bought for them by a friend at a farmstand. Even Ball, the company that sells canning supplies, recommends against canning pesto. They suggest freezing it.

Tips for Canning Pesto

Vegetable Soup

If you enjoy canned soup, you’ll enjoy it a lot more, spend a lot less, and not be ingesting weird preservatives if you make it yourself. It’s perfectly safe if you pressure can it. Take a Saturday in the fall, make a massive batch, and you’re set all year.

Canning Vegetable Soup recipe and photo by Pamela of Granny.

Tips for Canning Vegetable Soup

Grape Juice

Grape juice is a terrific starter recipe for canners. You can’t really mess it up and it’s a flavor completely unlike anything you can buy.

Canning Grape Juice recipe by Rachel Arsenault  of Grow A Good Life.

Tips for Canning Grape Juice

Written by Seth Kolloen


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