Boiling Water Bath Canning: Can You Stack Jars?

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“Can I double stack my jars in a water bath canner while doing boiling water bath canning?” That’s the question for today.

Boiling Water Bath Canner

Hi there. My name is Sharon Peterson. I’m with where you can find home canning tutorials, tips, and classes. Come visit me there, and I will help you get your pantry filled.

Video Transcript (Edited for Clarity)

Today’s Canning Chat question is regarding double stacking jars. Most people know that you can double stack your jars in a pressure canner, but let me tell you that briefly, Yes you can. There are a few things to keep in mind.

2 types of canner racks.

A pressure canner rack looks like this.

Placing the rack on the bottom of the pressure canner.

It goes on the bottom of your canner to keep your jars off the bottom. If you want to double-layer your jars in a pressure canner, you put your first layer of jars on this rack then you’re going to put another rack on top of that first layer of jars, and finally add your second layer of jars. Then you go ahead and process. This keeps that top layer secure and not tipping over.

If you’re using a water bath canner, you’re going to do the same basic thing, but there are a couple things to keep in mind.

Boiling Water Bath Canning: The Rack

A water bath canning rack looks a little different. It looks like this

An example of a water bath canner rack with handles on the sides.

It can hang on the side of your canner and you set your jars in there. Then you’re going to lower those jars into the water.

Next you’re going to need another rack on top of the bottom jars for that top layer of jars to sit on. It needs to be secure, because you’ve got water rolling, and you don’t want those top jars to get jostled around and knocked over. another waterbath rack might work but sometimes those handles get in the way because they are too tall.

One thing that I would suggest you could use is a pressure canning rack. It’s the right size. It’ll fit right in there on top of those jars. And then you can set your second layer of jars on top of that.

Keep in mind with boiling water bath canning, the water does need to completely cover the top layer of jars by a couple of inches so that there’s room for the water to boil and those jars don’t stick up out of the water. Pay attention to the depth of your canner.

Jar Sizes & Layering Jars

Most likely, you’re going to do it with smaller jars. You’re not going to be able to do it with quart jars, because those jars are just going to stick up out of the top of the water and it won’t be deep enough.

The other thing is make sure you have a full load of jars in that top layer–well, actually in both layers–because the water is rolling. I would worry about those top jars getting jostled a little bit. If they tip over, then that’s not a good thing.

If you don’t have enough jars for a full layer on that top layer, maybe just put some jars of water in there, something so that they’re in there and it’s all full and they’re not going to just be spaced to where they’re getting dumped over.

Concluding Thoughts

That would be my two tips.

  • Make sure that the jars are fully covered.
  • Make sure that they’re in there securely, they’ve got a nice base layer like a rack to keep them level.

I hope that was helpful. You guys have a wonderful day, and we’ll talk to you next time.

Related Pages

Water bath canning - Graniteware water bath canner.
Canning fruits - Countertop filled with LOTS of canned fruit in jars.
Home canning questions - Tops of jars in canner.

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8 months ago

When stacking jars, does it affect the canning time?

Geri Spieler
Geri Spieler
1 year ago

I love your canning website and advice. Thank you. I learn so much. I’ve gone to a steam canner as it uses only a fraction of the amount of water, and living in California it’s a big issue here. The steamer is so efficient and it has a gauge to tell me when the jars are ready.

Trina Lindler
Trina Lindler
2 years ago

Thank you for this video! I have the shorter 8oz. Jars and a lot of jelly to make. This just cut my time almost in half!
Side note: who was the person peeking in your window?

Lisa Marie
Lisa Marie
2 years ago

So helpful! Thank you! Doing apricot jam today! Yum!

Tina Yellowhorse
Tina Yellowhorse
2 years ago

Hi Sharon! Thank you for your video. My friend and I were trying canning for the first time today (I have done it in the past with my mom but OH what a difference it makes when you can on your own! So many questions! :P). I have a 23 quart Presto pressure canner and cooker. It says in the instruction manual that I can’t double stack for the boiling water method…! I saw your video online but had a couple of questions from it. Mine didn’t come with a water bath canning rack…? Do I have to have one?… Read more »