How to Can Without a Pressure Cooker: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Can Without a Pressure Cooker

Canning is a great way to preserve your favorite foods so you can enjoy them all year round. But what if you don’t have a pressure cooker? Can you still can your favorite fruits and vegetables safely? The answer is yes! In this article, we’ll show you how to can without a pressure cooker using the water bath method.

The Basics Of Canning

First, let’s talk about the basics of canning. There are a few important principles you need to keep in mind to ensure that your canned goods are safe to eat:

  • Sterilization: You must sterilize your jars and lids before canning to kill any bacteria or microorganisms that could spoil your food.
  • Acidity: High-acid foods such as fruits, pickles, and tomatoes can be canned safely using the water bath method because the high acidity prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Proper seal: Your jars must be sealed properly to prevent air from getting in and causing spoilage.
How to Can Without a Pressure Cooker
How to Can Without a Pressure Cooker

What Can Be Canned Without a Pressure Cooker?

You may be wondering what foods you can without a pressure cooker. The good news is that you can safely can high-acid foods like fruits, pickles, and tomatoes using the water bath method. 

However, low-acid foods such as vegetables, meat, and poultry must be canned using a pressure cooker to prevent the growth of botulism-causing bacteria. Now that you know the basics, let’s get started!

Equipment You’ll Need:

  • Canning jars with lids and bands
  • A large pot (stockpot) with a lid and a rack
  • Tongs or a jar lifter
  • A thermometer (optional, but helpful)

Steps for Canning Without a Pressure Cooker:

Here Are the steps to can foods without a pressure cooker:

Step 1: Clean and Sterilize Your Jars and Lids

Wash your jars, lids, and bands with hot, soapy water and rinse them well. Place the jars in the stockpot, add enough water to cover them by an inch, and bring the water to a boil. 

Boil the jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. Keep the jars in the hot water until you’re ready to use them. Place the lids and bands in a separate pot and simmer them for 10 minutes.

Step 2: Prepare Your Food for Canning 

Wash and prepare your food as you normally would. For fruits, you can use a simple syrup to preserve their color and flavor. For tomatoes, you can add lemon juice or vinegar to increase their acidity.

Step 3: Fill the Jars and Remove Air Bubbles 

Carefully fill the sterilized jars with your prepared food, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top. Use a spatula or chopstick to remove any air bubbles.

Step 4: Seal the Jars 

Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a damp cloth. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the bands until they’re snug, but not too tight.

Step 5: Process the Jars in a Stockpot 

Place the jars in the stockpot using a jar lifter or tongs. Make sure the jars are covered with at least 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a boil and process the jars for the recommended amount of time. The processing time will depend on the food you’re canning and your altitude. Here’s a helpful guide to determining processing time for different foods: How to Can: A Beginner’s Guide

Step 6: Remove the Jars and Let Them Cool 

When the processing time is up, turn off the heat and carefully remove the jars from the stockpot. Place the jars on a towel and let them cool for 12-24 hours. Don’t tighten the bands or touch the lids during this time.

Step 7: Check the Seals 

After the jars have cooled, check the seals by pressing down on the center of the lids. If the lids don’t move or make a popping sound, they’re sealed properly. If a lid pops back, it’s not sealed properly and you’ll need to reprocess the jar or refrigerate the contents.

How to Can Without a Pressure Cooker
How to Can Without a Pressure Cooker

How To Can Beef Without a Pressure Cooker

If you’re interested in canning without a pressure cooker, this recipe card provides a simple and easy-to-follow method for canning beef without a pressure cooker. With just a few key ingredients and some basic cooking equipment, you can preserve your beef for future use in stews, soups, and other recipes.


  • 4-5 pounds of beef, cut into small chunks
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, brown the beef in a small amount of oil until it’s nicely browned on all sides.
  3. In a separate pot, heat the beef broth, red wine, and Worcestershire sauce until it’s hot.
  4. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper to the beef broth mixture.
  5. Pour the broth mixture over the browned beef in the Dutch oven. Cover the pot with a lid or foil.
  6. Bake the beef in the oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
  7. Remove the beef from the pot and shred or chop it into small pieces.
  8. Pack the beef tightly into sterilized jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace at the top of each jar.
  9. Pour the beef broth over the beef in each jar, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  10. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth, and add the lids and rings.
  11. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 90 minutes (pints) or 100 minutes (quarts).
  12. Remove the jars from the water bath and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Check the seals before storing the jars in a cool, dark place.

Additional Resources

Looking for more resources on canning? The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a trusted resource with proven canning methods and recipes for both water bath and pressure canning. You can find the book on Amazon. 

In addition, Reddit can provide helpful advice and tips from fellow canning enthusiasts. One Reddit thread pointed out that high-acid foods like fruits and pickles can be safely canned using a water bath canner, while low-acid foods like vegetables and meat require a pressure canner. It’s important to use the correct equipment and follow safe canning practices to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Last Words

I hope this article and the recipe card help you understand how to can without a pressure cooker. Always use safe canning practices and the correct equipment to prevent harmful bacteria growth. With practice, you’ll be able to can a variety of foods for year-round enjoyment.


Hi, I'm Emily , a food writer who loves everything about cooking. At Delish Sides, my goal is to share interesting and helpful information about food. I'm also an SEO expert, so I know how to make sure this useful information reaches you. Come join me on this food journey. With my knowledge and your love of food, we're going to have a tasty time together!

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