Pressure Canning Corn and Fresh Corn Kernels

canned corn and fresh corn
When canning corn, remove the husks and corn silk. Wash under running water and blanch for 3 minutes. Cut the kernels off of the cob, and fill canning jars loosely, topping them with boiling water, leaving 1-inch headspace. Process pints for 55 minutes and quarts for 85 in a pressure canner.

What is the Best Way to Can Corn?

Pressure canning is the best method to can fresh corn. This delicious summer kitchen staple is a low-acid food and must be processed at a high temperature in a pressure canner to make it safe for canning.

Bowl of canned corn next to fresh corn cob
Fresh and canned corn

Pressure Canning Fresh Whole Corn Kernels

Follow this step-by-step guide to process fresh corn kernels in a pressure canner. You will need canning salt and 20 pounds of sweet corn in the husks for a full canner load of 9 pints or 32 pounds of corn for a canner load of 7 quarts.

  1. Pull the leaves and silk downwards to remove the husks and snap off the hard stalk at the bottom end of each cob.
  2. Remove any remaining silk with your fingers or run cool water over the corn and scrub the silk off gently using a clean vegetable brush. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. Wash canning jars, lids, and rings in hot, soapy water. Rinse the canning jars and submerge them in simmering water to keep them hot.
  4. Put 2-3 inches of water in your pressure canner per the manufacturer’s instructions. Position a jar rack at the bottom and set the canner on the stove to warm over medium heat.
  5. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Immerse the corn cobs in the boiling water for 3 minutes and remove them with canning tongs. Immediately dip them in ice-cold water to prevent overcooking.
  6. Place the corn on a large cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut corn kernels ¾ of the way toward the cob.  The bottom 1/4 of the kernels should remain on the cob.
  7. For the cold pack method, place the raw kernels into sterilized jars loosely, leaving 1-inch headspace. Add ½ teaspoon of canning salt per pint or one teaspoon for each quart jar. Top up each jar with clean boiling water, maintaining the 1-inch headspace.
  8. For the hot pack method, measure 1 cup of water per quart of kernels in a clean saucepan. Heat to a boil and simmer the corn for 5 minutes. Using a canning funnel, ladle the hot corn into hot canning jars. Add ½ teaspoon pickling salt per pint or one teaspoon per quart jar. Pour boiling water over the corn kernels, leaving 1-inch headspace.
  9. Run a clean, non-metallic utensil along the jar edges to remove air bubbles.
  10. Wipe the rims using a damp clean cloth or paper towel.
  11. Place sterilized canning lids over the jars, and add the screw bands. Secure them until they are fingertip tight.
  12. Carefully lower the jars into the prepared canner. Place the lid on and bring the water inside to a boil over high heat.
  13. Once it boils, remove the weight from the canner and let your canner release a steady stream of steam for 10 minutes.
  14. Close the vent to allow pressure to build to the recommended level per altitude and canner type:

Processing time for whole kernel corn in a dial gauge canner:

Altitude (ft)0 – 20002,001 – 4,0004,001 – 6,0006,001 +
Pints (55 minutes) 11 lbs12 lbs13 lbs14 lbs
Quarts (85 minutes)11 lbs12 lbs13 lbs14 lbs

Processing time for whole kernel corn in a weighted gauge canner:

Altitude (ft)            0 – 1,000 1,001 +
Pint jars (55 minutes)10 lbs15 lbs
Quarts (85 minutes)10 lbs15 lbs
  1. Process pints for 55 minutes and quarts for 85 minutes.
  2. Once the timer beeps, turn off the stove. Wait for the canner to cool naturally until the gauge reaches zero. Carefully open the canner lid away from your body.
  3. Transfer the processed jars from the hot water to a clean wire rack or draft-free surface using a jar lifter. Let them cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours.
  4. Remove the screw bands from the jars. Check the seals by pressing the lids with your finger. Properly-sealed jar lids have a concave shape, and they don’t pop up if pressed.
  5. Wipe the sealed corn jars and label them with the contents and canning date.
  6. Store the sealed jars in a cool, clean, dry place.
Sealed canning jar of canned corn kernels
Pressure canned corn

Do You Have to Cook Corn Before Canning?

No – cooking is necessary only when using the hot pack method. It is possible to can corn using the raw pack method. However, both raw packs and hot packs require blanching the corn.

Blanching corn kernels by dipping them in boiling water for 3 minutes is crucial. This step prevents enzyme reaction, which causes flavor, color, and texture loss in canned veggies, including corn. It also makes cutting kernels from the cob easier.

Can Corn Be Canned in a Water Bath?

No you cannot can plain corn kernels in a water bath. Corn is a low-acid vegetable that requires pressure canning to kill botulism spores.

However, it’s possible to process kernels in a boiling water canner if you pickle the corn, make a pickled corn salad, or pickled corn relish. The pickling brine includes vinegar and raises the acidity of corn, making it safe for water bath canning.

Woman closing jar of pickled corn
Pickled corn

What are the Advantages of Canning Corn?

  • Convenience. Canned corn kernels make an easy, convenient side dish.
  • Extended shelf life. Canned corn is shelf stable and has a long shelf life.
  • Flavor. Pressure-canning corn preserves its freshness and flavor.
  • Saves money. Preserve bulk quantities of corn from the farmer’s market or your home garden.
  • Versatility. Corn can be added to soups, salsas, chili, and butter bean succotash.
Butter bean and corn succotash in a plate with bacon
Butter bean and corn succotash

Is Corn Sugar Necessary for Canning Corn?

No – adding corn sugar is not necessary when canning corn. Fresh sweet corn is naturally sweet, and sugar doesn’t impact the safety of your canned food. That said, sweeteners, salt, and other seasonings can be used to add flavor or left out entirely, as desired.

What Precautions Should Be Taken When Canning Corn?

  • Avoid adding thickeners that inhibit heat penetration, such as rice, butter, flour, or fat.
  • Avoid using immature corn kernels, as they will likely turn brown when canned.
  • Only use tested canning recipes for sweet corn from trusted sources.
  • Process plain corn kernels in a pressure canner to avoid botulism poisoning.
  • Wash corn thoroughly and use clean utensils to prevent cross-contamination.

Best Method for Storing Canned Corn

Store home-canned corn in a cool, clean, dry place with a temperature between 50-70 degrees F to retain quality. Freezing temperatures are not recommended. Moisture and direct sunlight create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

How Long Does Canned Corn Last?

Unopened jars of canned corn last for 2-5 years. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends consuming canned corn within one year for the best quality. After opening, store in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days.


Growing up as a farm girl, Regie assisted her grandparents in canning sheep meat and helped her mother sell canned carrots. This grew her passion for canning from a young age. As a writer, she uses her canning experience to give creative, practical ideas for preserving different foods to canning enthusiasts.

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