Canning Green Beans Without a Pressure Cooker: Water Bath Method

dilly beans in canning jars
Pressure cookers should never be used for canning. If you don’t have a pressure canner, you can still process green beans using the water bath method. To do so, they must be acidified in pickling liquid before canning them because beans are a low-acid food.

Is it Possible to Can Green Beans Without a Pressure Cooker?

Green beans should never be canned in an electric pressure cooker. They may be canned in a pressure canner or a water bath canner as long as they are pickled first.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends pressure canning as the best method for foods with a pH above 4.6. Green beans have a pH of 6.5, which makes them a low-acid food that requires acidification before canning in a water bath canner.

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green beans in jar

Pickling and Water Bath Canning Green Beans

  • Author: Regie
  • Total Time: 50 minutes


Pickled green beans are a delicious pantry staple that can be safely canned using the water bath method. Customize the flavor by adding your favorite spices!


  • 2 lbs fresh tender green or yellow beans (5 to 6 inches long)
  • 1/4 cup canning or pickling salt
  • 2 cups vinegar (5%)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic


  1. Wash fresh green beans thoroughly in cold water. Using a sharp knife, trim the ends and cut them into 1-inch-long pieces.
  2. Split your garlic cloves and place 1 clove in each of the pint jars.
  3. Raw-pack the chopped green beans tightly into sterilized jars, leaving a ½-inch headspace.
  4. In a large saucepan, combine equal parts of vinegar and water with 4 tablespoons of canning salt, then bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
  5. Pour the hot pickling liquid into the jars to cover the beans, maintaining ½ inch of headspace.
  6. Run a clean butter knife gently inside the jar or press the beans down with a spoon to remove trapped air bubbles.
  7. Wipe the jar rims with a kitchen napkin or damp towel to remove moisture.
  8. Place new, sterilized lids on the jars and place the screw bands on the jars, tightening until fingertip tight.
  9. Using a jar lifter, transfer the filled jars into the boiling water canner. Add hot water to cover the jars by 1-2 inches.
  10. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, put the lid on the canner and process the jars for 10 minutes for altitudes under 6,000 feet and 15 minutes for altitudes above 6,000 feet.
  11. Turn the stove off, remove the jars with a jar lifter, and place them on a towel-covered flat countertop. Cool for 24 hours before checking the seals on the lids.
  12. Remove the screw bands and store sealed jars in a cool, dry place.
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 20kcal
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 100mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 1g

How Long Do You Process Green Beans in a Water Bath?

Depending on your elevation, the processing time for green beans in pint or quart-sized jars is 10-15 minutes. If you live under 6,000ft, process for 10 minutes, and increase the time by 5 minutes if you live over 6,000ft.

As the altitude increases, food is likely to boil at lower temperatures. When boiling temperatures are low, it may not kill harmful bacteria. That’s why it is important to increase the processing time to prevent under-processing.

What Size Jars Should You Use to Process Green Beans?

Pint jars and quart jars are the best sizes to use when canning green beans using a pressure canner or boiling water canner. Per the University of Michigan, the size and shape of a jar dictate how heat penetrates the jar.

Larger quart-sized canning jars and smaller pint-sized canning jars
Pint and quart canning jars

What is a Boiling Water Bath?

A boiling water bath is a canning method. It involves processing sealed jars of food in boiling water (212°F or 100°C). This is done in a water bath canner or a deep aluminum stockpot with a lid.

While the technique is often recommended for high-acid foods (with a pH of 4.6 and below), it’s also safe when preserving pickled low-acid fruits and vegetables. Pickling raises the acidity of low-acid foods, which prevents botulism spores from germinating while being processed in a boiling water bath.

Canned Green Beans: Raw Pack versus Hot Pack

It is okay to raw-pack or hot-pack green beans into jars before canning them.

Hot-packed beans undergo blanching first, where they simmer in boiling water for 2-5 minutes before being placed into canning jars. Blanching improves the flavor and retains the color of green beans.

A raw pack involves putting raw, fresh, chopped, unheated green beans into airtight canning jars and loading them into a boiling water canner for processing. This cold pack method is easy to do, but the beans will likely lose color and flavor over time.

Hot packed blanched green beans in jars
Hot-pack beans

How Much Headspace is Needed When Canning Green Beans?

When canning green beans, leave a 1-inch headspace if using a pressure canner and ½-inch for the water bath method. This headspace is essential for creating a vacuum seal and preventing oxidation during the canning process.

Tips for Delicious Canned Green Beans

The quality of canned green beans depends on various factors, including the canning method and how the beans are harvested.

For the best home-canned green beans, follow these tips:

  • Avoid harvesting during extreme temperatures.
  • Blanch freshly picked or store-bought beans in hot water for 1-3 minutes before canning to preserve the bright green color.
  • Pick tender, firm, crisp, young pods without fully-developed seeds for harvesting.
  • Wait for any dew to evaporate before picking fresh green beans for the best texture.
  • Wash and rinse your beans thoroughly in cool, running water to remove dirt and residual pesticide before canning to improve flavor.

Storage and Shelf Life of Canned Green Beans

Consume canned green beans within 1-2 years for the best flavor. Store jars in a cool, dry room away from moisture and sunlight. Once opened, refrigerate the beans and use them within 3-5 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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