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Canning in a pressure cooker?

Canning in a pressure cooker is a common question at Dive into the differences of a pressure cooker vs pressure canner and make an educated decision before trying it!

Pressure Cooker or Pressure Canner?

Question:  I was told my small pressure cooker is not good enough for canning. Do you know that to be true? Faith ~ TN

Hi Faith, 

Yes that is true. --  Actually sort of.  The USDA does not recommend their tested processes for canning in a pressure cooker. It has to do with the size of the canner, the amount of water it will hold, and the time to heat up and cool down. 

When the USDA tested and came up with the time needed for pressure canning, they figured in the time that it takes the foods to heat up to pressure and then to cool down.  The smaller pressure cooker will heat and cool much faster than the larger pressure canner, therefore shortening the total time. 

Even though you processed for the recomended processing time at the reccomended pressure, the TOTAL time is less because of the shorter heating up and cooling down time. 

Testing has not been done by the USDA for the smaller pressure cookers.  Here is a quote from the HCFHFP.  

Some manufacturers may offer process directions for smaller pressure cookers.  Consumers using this equipment will need to discuss processing recommendations with those manufacturers; the USDA and National Center for Home Food Preservation recommendation is to not use them for canning with our processes. 

So you would need to refer to the manufacturer's recommendations for canning AND you need to trust that company's testing procedure.  I don't can in my pressure cooker so I have never researched it.  I can't give my opinion on those procedures and their safety.  That would be a decision you need to make.  

Canner on the left is much bigger than the Cooker on the right.

According to the USDA,  a pressure cooker/canner will only work safely for their processes if it is at least large enough to hold 4 quart jars, upright on a canning rack with the lid on. 

Anything smaller should not be used for processing. 

The pot should also have an accurate way of venting prior to the processing time and it should have a way of monitoring the pressure so you know that it has maintained the proper pressure for the proper time.  

Some cookers don't have these requirements.  


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