Homestead Guide to Canning Ground Beef

ground beef in cast iron pan
For home-canning ground beef, begin by browning the meat and removing excess fat. Sterilize canning jars with hot water and pack the ground beef into canning jars. Add boiling liquid leaving 1-inch headspace. Pressure can the sealed jars for 75-90 minutes.

Is it Safe to Can Ground Hamburger?

Per the USDA canning guidelines, it is safe to can ground hamburger with pressure canning. Pressure canning is the only way to get the meat to a sustained high temperature for long enough to kill harmful bacteria.

Step-by-Step Guide for Pressure Canning Ground Beef

  1. Select fresh ground beef that has been ground within the last 24 hours.
  2. Brown the ground beef, season with salt, and drain off excess fat.
  3. Hot pack ground beef into clean, sterilized canning jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
  4. Add boiling water, beef broth, or tomato juice to the canning jars, covering the beef and maintaining 1 inch of headspace.
  5. Remove any air bubbles using a bubble remover tool by running it around the inside of the jar.
  6. Wipe the jar rims with a damp cloth or paper towel.
  7. Place the lids and screw bands on the jars, tightening them until finger-tight.
  8. Place the jars in a preheated pressure canner, ensuring the water level complies with manufacturer instructions, and process the jars per the tables below:

Processing pressure and time for ground beef in dial gauge canners.

Altitude (ft)0 – 2,0002,001 – 4,0004,001 – 6,0006,001 – 8,000
Pints (75 mins)11lbs12lbs13lbs14lbs
Quarts (90 mins)11lbs12lbs13lbs14lbs

Processing pressure and time for ground beef in weighted gauge canners.

Altitude (ft)0 – 1,0001,001 +
Pints (75 mins)10lbs15lbs
Quarts (90 mins)10lbs15lbs
  1. After processing, turn off the heat and let the pressure canner cool down naturally.
  2. Use a jar lifter to remove the jars from the canner and cool them at room temperature for 12–24 hours.
  3. Check the seals of the jars by pressing down on the centers of the lids. If the lids don’t flex up and down, the jars are properly sealed and can be stored. If they do, refrigerate the jar and use the beef within a few days.

Guide for Pressure Canning Hamburger Patties

  1. Shape freshly ground beef into patties and pre-season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook the beef patties in a small amount of oil until they’re browned on the outside but not fully cooked on the inside.
  3. Put the patties in canning jars and cover them with boiling water, tomato juice, or beef stock, leaving 1-inch headspace.
  4. Remove as much air as possible from the jars before sealing them using an air bubble tool.
  5. Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel.
  6. Apply sterilized lids and twist the screw bands until they’re fingertip tight.
  7. Process the jars for 75 – 90 minutes according to your elevation, the type of pressure canner you have, and the size of the jars.
  8. Allow the pressure canner pressure to reach zero before removing the jars. Cool the jars at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
  9. Once cool, test the seal on each jar. Store properly sealed jars in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate and use any unsealed jars within 2-3 days.
Small, raw beef patties that are 2 inches in diameter
Small ground beef patties

What Kind of Pressure Canner Do You Need to Can Ground Beef?

You can use either a dial gauge or weighted gauge pressure canner for canning ground beef. Two of the most popular models are Presto and All American.

Presto is a dial gauge pressure canner made of heavy-gauge aluminum that promotes even heating. The solid lid and its inner sealing ring keep the steam in during the canning process, making it effective for canning ground beef and other types of ground meat.

All American is a pressure canner featuring a weighted gauge for precise pressure control and is one of the safest pressure canners for canning meat.

Can You Raw Pack Ground Beef for Canning?

The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends against raw packing ground beef. Raw packing causes clumping, which prevents heat from passing evenly through the meat. Raw-packing ground beef can increase the risk of botulism, a potentially deadly form of food poisoning.

What Liquids Can You Use When Canning Ground Beef?

Liquids such as water, beef broth, and tomato juice are good to use for canning ground beef. These liquids maintain moisture and flavor in the ground beef during the canning process.

bone broth in canning jar
Bone broth for canning

What are the Benefits of Canning Ground Beef?

  • Convenience. Having canned beef on hand means you can get meals on the table faster. It helps you save valuable freezer space and is great to have in case of an emergency.
  • Cost-effective. Buying ground beef in bulk and canning it yourself can help you save money compared to buying pre-canned meat.
  • Longer shelf life. Canned ground beef has a shelf life of 2 years, outlasting fresh and frozen meat.
  • Nutritional value. Canned meats, such as beef and pork, retain their nutrients, including essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and protein.
  • Versatility. Canned ground beef is a versatile ingredient and can be used in a variety of recipes, from beef stews and soups to casseroles and tacos.

How Long Will Canned Ground Beef Last?

Properly canned and stored ground beef lasts up to two years. The shelf life of canned ground beef depends on the quality of the meat, the method used, and the storage environment.


Patrick has a farming background and is a full-time food writer and recipe creator. His goal is to help you discover how fantastic canning is by sharing his knowledge. Outside of the kitchen, Patrick enjoys outdoor activities and exploring nature in all its beauty.

Recent Posts