Canning ground beef

canning ground beef 003

Home canned ground beef is great to have on hand to make tacos from or to add to stir-fried rice, casseroles, creamed sauces, noodle dishes, chili, etc.

Freeze the broth from the jar; it’s essentially pure beef stock and is great for soups.

See also: canning ground pork.

Please note: dry-canning any ground meat is expressly recommended against by the National Center for Home Food preservation for safety reasons.

Quantities of ground beef needed

On average, as a very rough guideline, expect to need about 500 g (1 lb) of ground beef per 1/2 litre (US pint) jar of canned ground beef.

The recipe

Jar size choices: Either 1/2 litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)

Processing method: Pressure canning only

Yield: varies

Headspace: 3 cm (1 inch)

Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet)

Processing time: Half-litres (pints) 75 minutes; litres (quarts) 90 minutes

Pressure canning ground beef

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Yield: varies

Serving size: 100 g (3.5 oz)

Calories: 143

Fat: 3.5 g

  • Ground beef
  • Water
  1. Spray a skillet with cooking spray or heat a small amount of fat or oil in it.
  2. Brown the ground meat in the skillet in batches; transfer the browned meat to a covered bowl or pot to keep hot.
  3. Pack meat loosely into ½ litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart) jars.
  4. Leave 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
  5. Top jars up with a boiling liquid (water from a kettle, meat, stock, or tomato juice) maintaining 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
  6. Debubble; adjust headspace.
  7. Wipe jar rims.
  8. Put lids on.
  9. Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.)
  10. Processing time: ½ litre (US pint) jars for 75 minutes OR 1 litre (US quart) jars for 90 minutes.
If you have a lot of ground meat to brown, you could spread it out in roasting pans / trays and sear in a hot oven until brown on the outside but still rare on the inside. Take out of oven a few times to break up any large clumps. A lot of fat will accumulate so be careful when lifting out of oven. Use a high-sided baking pan / tray, and drain well afterward.

The purpose of browning the meat first is so that it won't clump and form a huge solid dense mass in the year. You must brown it first; there's no option for raw packing it owing to the risk of it clumping.

Processing guidelines below are for weighted-gauge pressure canners. See also if applicable: Dial-gauge pressures.

Jar SizeTime0 to 300 m (0 - 1000 feet) pressureAbove 300 m (1000 ft) pressure 
1/2 litre (1 US pint)75 mins10 lbs15 lb
1 litre (1 US quart)90 mins10 lbs15 lb


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Reference information

How to pressure can.

When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.

More information on canning meat.

More information about Salt-Free Canning in general.

This ground beef is sufficient browned so that it won't clump together in the jar. Browning it any further would in the skillet would just toughen it, and waste cooking fuel as it will get thoroughly cooked during the canning process, anyway.

This ground beef is sufficiently browned so that it won’t clump together in the jar. Browning it any further in the skillet would just toughen it, and waste cooking fuel as it will get thoroughly cooked during the canning process, anyway.

Recipe source

This recipe comes from the USDA Complete Guide.

  • Ground or Chopped Meat. In: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Page 5- 6.



Serving size: 100 g (3.5 oz), drained (about one-fifth of a 1/2 litre / US pint jar, if 500 g went into the jar.)

Nutritional information based on extra-lean ground beef being used.

extra lean ground beef nutrition

Per 100 g: 124 calories, 62 mg sodium

Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 100 g (3.5 oz) = 3 points

* Nutrition info provided by

* PointsPlus™ calculated by Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.

Do you have to use liquid in the jar?

Regardless of what you may see elsewhere on the Internet, there is no dry-pack option that is guaranteed to be safe. The recommendations were developed with a liquid in the jar to ensure a safe and even distribution of heat.

But it’s the work of seconds to drain the jar when opening it, and you get what is fat-free and added-salt free beef stock to freeze for use in soups, stocks, gravies etc.


Enhancing the taste

Some people say that adding beef bouillon to their jars of ground beef enhances the flavour greatly. Suggested proportions of powdered beef bouillon are between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon per 1/2 litre (pint) jar, and 1/2 teaspoon and 1 teaspoon per litre (quart) jar. You’ll want to ensure this is mixed up before adding to the jars, to avoid density issues with clumps.

Doing so is absolutely fine safety-wise. The USDA directions allow the canning liquid to be “meat broth, tomato juice, or water.”


Usage notes

If you store your jars of canned food in a cool place, when you go to use a jar of ground beef there can appear to be no water in the jar because it has solidified. Yet, you know there is water in there, because you put it in for canning. Just open the jar, tip into a microwave-safe bowl or jug, and zap in microwave for 1 minute to free up the water, then drain through a sieve. That beef broth can be added to a tub and frozen for soups, etc.  (No need to drain the jar at all of course if you are using your jar of ground beef for a recipe where you would want the added liquid.)

Here’s information in detail on how to do that: Using home canned ground beef.

Cooking from canning recipes

Beef Dip

Minnesota Mix Macaroni Hotdish

Taco Skillet


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  1. Csrol says

    I was told that you should wait 2 weeks before trying a newly canned item. Is that true? I recently canned some meatloaf and I need to check it and make sure it tastes good before I can more.

    • Randal Oulton says

      Hi there, there’s no approved safe way to can meatloaf, as there could be density issues which prevent heat from penetrating the jar thoroughly to kill any botulism spores present. Ground meat can only be safely canned with a loosepack as per USDA guidelines.

      That aside, the “sit and mellow” advice applies to canned pickled items such as relishes, chutneys, pickles, etc.

      Hope that helps.

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