Learn how to pressure can potatoes with the easy raw pack method. Canning potatoes is a perfect way to have ready-to-use potatoes for soups, stews, and roasts, but it's also a great way to ensure that your potatoes last all year!
While potatoes can be stored for long periods of time in a root cellar environment, not everyone has access to that type of space.
Additionally, not all potatoes store well in a root cellar long-term, such as small or damaged potatoes.
Perhaps you don't have a root cellar, or you have some potatoes that are about to go bad and you want an easy food storage option for them... whatever the reason, canning potatoes is a simple and straightforward process that anyone can learn!
VIDEO: How to Can Potatoes
Watch this video on canning potatoes for an in-depth look at the process. While pressure canning is one of the things most people say they are afraid to try, it doesn't have to be scary!
Let me walk you through using a pressure canner, and the entire step-by-step guide for canning potatoes. I bet that you will feel a LOT more comfortable with the process by the end!
And even though it might be a little intimidating, it is definitely a worthwhile skill to learn. Unlike water-bath canning which is used for fruits and tomato-based foods, pressure canning allows you to can vegetables and meat for use later on!
Or, if you prefer to read, I'm also going to go over exactly how to can potatoes in this post so that you can get a feel for the entire pressure canning process - step by step!
First, let's take a look at what you need to pressure can safely, then I'm going to walk you through a simplified version of the process, just so that you know it's not all that complicated... then you can read the detailed one as you work, to make sure you have all you need.
Read through the super-detailed one at least once before you start your first batch. You don't want to realize that you are missing something when you're halfway through the process...
What you Need Before you Start
- 1 pressure CANNER (not a pressure cooker, see more below)
- 7 quart canning jars, lids, and rings
- 1 canning kit (funnel, jar lifter, lid magnet, canning knife)
- 1 large stock pot (for boiling water)
- 1 small pot (for simmering lids)
- 1 ladle
- 1 baking sheet (to take jars in and out of the oven)
- 15 pounds of white potatoes
- 1 cutting board
- 1 chopping knife
- 1 clean kitchen towel
Before you Start - Things to Check
First, you need to make sure that you have a pressure canner - not a pressure cooker. Big difference! You cannot use an InstantPot or other pressure cooker to can, unless it's SPECIFICALLY stated that you can PRESSURE CAN in the unit (very rare).
This is the pressure canner that I've used for 20+ years, it's easy to work with, doesn't have any rubber fittings to mess with or replace and it's made in the USA!
Next, check that you have clearance to remove the jars from the canner without hitting a range or microwave.
Once you've done that, check what type of stove you have.
Gas really is the best for pressure canning, but you can pressure can on electric stoves as well, though you may need to do a few things first.
Canning on an Electric Stove
What type of glass stove do you have: coil burners or a glass top?
If you have a glass top then you need to make sure you have a pressure canner that is cleared to work with your stove top.
The one I use is theoretically able to be used on glass top stoves without a problem... But you should double check with them regarding your exact make and model.
If you have a coil burner stove you should be fine to just can like you would on a gas stove, but there are things you can do to set your self up for a better canning experience.
Get all the pots out that you would need to work with and set them on the stove at the same time... do they all fit? Good!
That's the biggest challenge conquered!
The next thing to make your experience better, but isn't strictly necessary, is to buy a canning burner for electric stoves.
This burner is made specifically for pressure canning on an electric stove and will help with the weight of the canner. The base is reinforced to hold more than a traditional coil burner, and some people say it even heats up faster than their regular burners!
It looks like it works with most stoves, just be careful to check that it works with your particular model.
I Don't Have a Stove that Seems to Work for Pressure Canning!
Not to fear! My mom is in the same boat.
After just a bit of research, we found this fabulous portable burner that works great for pressure canning! It is a 220 volt though, so make sure your kitchen can accommodate the plug requirements.
How to Pressure Can Potatoes
Alright, now that we are all set up and know that our tools fit the space, let's get down to the actual canning part.
I'm going to walk you through the process with potatoes because I find them to be the fastest and easiest vegetable to pressure can.
Pressure canning potatoes as your first foray into the art of pressure canning will give you the confidence to can more challenging items without wearing you out on your first attempt.
Step-by-Step Guide to Pressure Canning Potatoes: The Simplified Version
- Prep jars like you would for water bath canning.
- Boil a pot of water and peel and cut potatoes.
- Fill jars with potatoes and pour boiling water on top. Leave a 1" headspace.
- Place jars in pressure canner and follow canning instructions to bring canner to 10lbs pressure. Process for 40 minutes.
See?? It's not really all that bad!!
The next bit is super detailed, but I wanted you to see that it's not really all that complicated! Ok, ready? On to the detailed instructions...
Step-by-Step Guide to Pressure Canning: The Super Detailed Version
1. Prepare your jars by washing them thoroughly and placing them on a baking sheet in the oven at 250°.
2. Place all the hand-washed lids and rings into a pot of water and place on low.
3.Fill the pressure canner with about 3 inches of water (make sure your canning base is in the bottom), and set on medium heat.
4. Fill a large stock pot with water (this will go over the potatoes, so make sure you are comfortable with the quality. I use filtered) and set to high.
5. Peel 6 pounds of potatoes and cube them into medium pieces (toss them with a tiny bit of lemon juice if you want. Mine don't turn brown when canning, but I've seen them do that to others). I cut mine like I'm putting them in a pot roast.
6. Once the stock pot of water is boiling, remove the jars from the oven and fill them with potatoes. Leave a 1 inch of space from the top of the potatoes to the top rim of the jar (where the lid will actually sit). This is called "headspace".
7. Ladle the boiling water over the potatoes until the jar is full (still leaving a 1-inch headspace).
8. Use your plastic canning knife (found here) to go all the way around the edge of the jar (with the knife touching the bottom of the jar), pushing in on the potatoes slightly to help remove air bubbles.
You don't want to use a metal knife as it can cause damage to the jar and they might break during the canning process.
9. Add more potatoes and water if necessary to fill the jar back to the 1 inch headspace level. Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt or canning salt to the top of each jar (optional, but I would recommend it!). Don't use table salt!
10. Dip a clean rag in boiling water and wipe off the top edge of all the jars.
11. Place a lid and ring on each jar and tighten to "finger tightness". That just means tightening them as much as you can without bearing down and really trying to tighten it hard.
12. Place each jar into the canner. Try to space them so they are not touching. I use my jar lifter for this process to avoid touching the hot pot with my arm.
13. Align the lid to the arrows (or whatever markings your pressure canner has to show you where to align the lid). Make sure the gap around the edge is even on all sides.
This takes some patience when you're first starting out, but it is a crucial step, so take your time.
14. Tighten the bolts around the edge two at a time. Always tighten the two opposite from each other at the same time. Do this for all the bolts.
I like to re-tighten them all after I finish the last set, just to make sure. You can't over-tighten here...
15. Once the lid is secure, turn the heat up to high.
16. Eventually the steam valve will start to whistle. Let it vent for 10 minutes and then add the weight.
Potatoes process at 10 pounds of pressure, but other foods may be more. This canner has 3 different options for the weight, make sure you are putting the weight on at the right number for your recipe.
This weight is clearly marked, which I love!
17. Keep the heat at high until the gauge hits 10 pounds. Once it reaches 10 pounds of pressure, turn the heat to medium, and set a timer for 40 minutes.
This step can take some time to get right until you have done it a few times... because every stove is different.
If the pressure is above 10 pounds, the weight will rattle and you need to lower the heat. If you lower the heat TOO MUCH then the canner will lose pressure... so it really is a bit like being a safe cracker :-)
Keep an eye on it for your first few sessions and you will quickly find that sweet spot for your stove and future sessions will be much easier for you.
18. Once the timer goes off, cut the heat to the canner. Allow the gauge to get all the way to zero and then set a timer for 10 minutes.
19. Now that the canner has been at zero for 10 minutes, remove the weight (it's hot, so use a hot pad or tongs) and allow the remaining air to vent.
20. Loosen all the bolts, I do this two at a time with the opposites as well... Then remove the lid with the back up first. This way the heat doesn't hit you right in the face!
21. Allow the jars to sit for another 5 minutes and then remove from the canner. Make sure you remove them with a lifter STRAIGHT UP and place them onto a towel on the counter.
This will reduce the chances of breaking.
22. Leave them on the counter, undisturbed, for the rest of the day and overnight. If I can at night, the jars are cool and ready to be moved by the next morning.
23. Make sure all of the jars have sealed before storing. If they haven't, keep them in the refrigerator and eat within 2 weeks.
You can check the seal by removing the ring and feeling the lid. If it doesn't move easily (don't try too hard), then it is sealed!
>> Get my complete guide to pressure canning here! Including many tried and true recipes, and a checklist for foolproof canning!
"This is way too much and now I'm overwhelmed!!"
I know. It's a ton of steps. But honestly, it's really easy.
Go back and look at the simplified version... you'll see the whole process in a new light now!
Then read through the detailed steps a few times, read the manual for your canner, invite someone over to help you, and just jump in!
This is really such a worthwhile skill to develop and I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, it gets easier and easier every single time.
Adjusting Pressure Canning by Altitude
It is important to note that the pressure used during canning changes based on the altitude at which the food is being canned. If you are pressure canning a 0-1000 ft above sea level, then no changes are needed.
Refer to the chart below for how to change the pressure according to your altitude:
Common Questions About Canned Potatoes
If you live in an area with root cellars, then canned potatoes might seem very strange to you. But for many people, root cellars are not an option. Instead, in order to make sure our potatoes last until the next year's harvest, we can some of our potatoes.
It also makes for an easy meal or side dish, just open the can of potatoes and add it to the pot of soup, or the roast going into the oven.
Additionally, even if you do have a root cellar, some potatoes don't store well long term, including very small or damaged potatoes. So instead of having to eat those quickly, you have the option of canning them for use later in the year!
While the common wisdom is that potatoes must be peeled before canning, there isn't any evidence that it's dangerous. There simply haven't been any tests on canning potatoes with the peels.
However, in practicality, peeling potatoes keeps your water less cloudy, and prevents the mess that usually occurs when the peels slough off during the canning process... leaving a pile of peels at the bottom of your jar.
If you have small potatoes (under 2" in diameter), then you can leave the peels on and can them whole... as long as they are very clean.
We love canned potatoes here! While they are different from fresh-boiled or baked potatoes, they are delicious in their own way.
They have a firm texture when done right, and make a wonderful addition to soups and more. They can even be turned into mashed potatoes (though they are not inherently mushy).
We typically do not rinse our canned potatoes, as leaving the starch on the outside helps them to mimic fresh potatoes more closely. However, rinsing them may be needed if you are using a recipe that calls for potatoes that are more firm.
Bottom line, it's up to you, but we don't normally rinse our canned potatoes!
You can pressure can any type of potatoes, they will just offer different results. Waxy potatoes, like red potatoes, tend to stay very firm - while starchy potatoes, like russets, tend to be a little softer while creating a very starchy water.
Sweet potatoes are a whole different plant that need their own directions, you can learn more about canning sweet potatoes here.
I prefer an all-purpose yukon gold potatoes, because I love the flavor! But we have also canned and enjoyed russet potatoes many times.
In general, it is recommended that you use a boiling potato, or a waxy potato, instead of a starchy or baking potato, in order to maintain firmness. In reality, it's up you!
For the safety of your canned potatoes, no, salt is not needed. However, we have found that once canned, it's a little more difficult to season the potatoes than you think! Even when extra salt, they are very bland if seasoned after canning.
You can reduce the salt to your liking, but I would add at least some salt to each jar. The current recommendation is 1 teaspoon of salt per quart.
This can vary based on how you cut the potatoes, and how tightly you pack them - but in general, you can count on about 2-2.5 pounds of potatoes per quart jar.
More Canning Recipes
Looking for more canning recipes to keep your pantry filled with delicious foods? Here are a few more to try next!
- 1 Pressure Canner (not a pressure cooker, see more in post)
- 7 quart canning jars, lids, and rings
- 15 pounds potatoes
- canning salt
- Wash and prep jars like you would for water bath canning. Place them in a cold oven and heat to 250° while prepping potatoes
- Boil a pot of water to use for covering potatoes in jars. Also, fill pressure canner with 3-4 inches of water and place on medium-low heat.
- Wash, peel, and cut potatoes. I like to cut them in 2 inch chunks, but you can make them smaller, if desired.Note: Smaller potato pieces may be more mushy than you like, you'll just have to try a few that way and see what you think!
- Add 1 tsp salt to each quart jar (or 1/2 tsp per quart jar).Fill jars with potatoes and pour boiling water on top. Leave a 1″ headspace. Use a canning knife to remove all bubbles from the jars. Add additional potatoes or water as needed to reach 1" headspace.
- Wipe the rims of each jar with a clean towel, dipped in boiling water to ensure a proper seal. Fit and adjust 2-piece lids and rings to finger tightness (don't torque down on lids too much).
- Place jars in pressure canner and fit lid securely according to how your pressure canner seals. Bring canner to 10lbs pressure*. Process quarts for 40 minutes, pints for 35 minutes.
- Once timer goes off for processing time, turn the heat off completely and allow the pressure canner to naturally reduce to zero pounds pressure. Remove canning weight and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing the lid.Be careful, the lid will be VERY hot!
- Remove jars and place them on a folded kitchen towel. Allow the jars to cool fully before moving again, usually 12-24 hours. Store in a cool dry place.