Beef meatballs are delicious, quick additions to pasta meals, or soups.
Freeze the broth from the jar; it’s great for soups.
See also: Canning pork meatballs, Canning meatballs in tomato juice, Canning homemade spaghetti sauces
Quantities of ground beef needed
On average, as a very rough guideline, expect to need about 500 g (1 lb) of ground beef per half-litre (US pint) jar of canned beef meatballs.
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)
Processing method: Pressure canning only
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 meatballs
- ground beef
- herbs (and dry seasoning to taste)
- Mix ground beef with dried herbs and seasonings of your choice such as oregano, marjoram, parsley, ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt or salt sub, etc.
- Form into meatballs anywhere up to 7 ½ to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) in size.
- Spray a skillet with cooking spray or heat a small amount of fat or oil in it.
- Brown the meatballs in the skillet in batches; transfer the browned meatballs to a covered bowl or pot to keep hot.
- Pack meatballs loosely into heated half- litre (1 US pint) OR heated 1 litre (1 US quart) jars.
- Leave 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
- Top jars up with a boiling liquid (water from a kettle, stock, or tomato juice) maintaining 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
- Debubble; adjust headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- 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-litre (US pint) jars for 75 minutes OR 1 litre (US quart) jars for 90 minutes.
Processing guidelines below are for weighted-gauge pressure canners. See also if applicable: Dial-gauge pressures.
|Jar Size||Time||0 to 300 m (0 - 1000 feet) pressure||Above 300 m (1000 ft) pressure|
|½ litre (1 US pint)||75 mins||10 lbs||15 lb|
|1 litre (1 US quart)||90 mins||10 lbs||15 lb|
How to pressure can.
When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.
More information on canning meat.
What is the shelf life of home canned goods?
- Do not add any breadcrumbs, flour, or any starch to the meatballs. Do not add any egg or cheese, or any dairy.
- You don’t need to thoroughly cook the meatballs in the skillet; just brown them so they won’t clump and form a huge solid dense mass in the jar that would interfere with safe heat transfer.
- You could also bake them in the oven until they are brown on the outside but still rare on the inside.
- You may use a microwave to bring to a boil any canning liquid such as stock or tomato juice — be careful when moving heated liquid from a microwave.
- In talking about seasoning for meat patties or balls, the Ball Blue Book says, “Spice it up three ways! For mild seasoning, add salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and basil. Give it the Italian touch with basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Add some heat for zesty, using garlic powder, paprika, anise seed, fennel seed, dried red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.” Blue Book, 37th Edition, 2014, page 99.
This recipe comes from the USDA Complete Guide (2015).
- 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.
Nutritional information based on extra-lean ground beef being used.
Serving size: 100 g (3.5 oz), drained (about one-fifth of a half-litre / US pint jar, if 500 g / 1 lb went into the jar.)
- 180 calories, 65 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 4 points
- Weight Watchers SmartPoints®: 5 points
* Nutrition info provided by MyFitnessPal.com
* PointsPlus™ and SmartPoints™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® and SmartPoints®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 essentially free, fat-free and added-salt free beef stock to freeze for use in soups, stocks, gravies etc.
|↑1||Blue Book, 37th Edition, 2014, page 99|
I saw a video where dehydrated and powdered mushrooms were used in the meat as a seasoning. Is that ok?
I have found some great tasting pre-cooked meatballs at my grocery store. They are frozen. Can I just place them in water, boil them and can them with their broth from boiling? I have no freezer space left is why I am asking.
No. The research-tested processing times and directions are intended only for the recipe given. Best not to buy them until you have the freezer space for them.
Can you add chopped and sautéed onion and garlic to the meat before forming into balls?
You want to ask the National Center or an Extension Agent for their thoughts on that. But what you could do is add onion powder or salt, and garlic powder or salt, and achieve the flavouring that way. Dry seasonings are always fine to add to recipes.
I’m doing keto and have a recipe I like for meatballs that has some Parmesan cheese in it. Is the cheese safe to can at the 90 min/ 10# pressure? I’d like to can some of the meatballs if it is possible.
It is recommended against home canning by any technique anything with cheese in it. Freeze them instead.
There is a Bernardin recipe “Quebec Pork Meatballs” with fresh onions and garlic, so that should be allowed.
Maura E Ayala
Can I substitute turkey for the beef in this recipe?
There are only one or two home canning recipes for which ground poultry is currently recommended, and this isn’t one of them, sadly. They just aren’t sure if ground poultry can be heat processed in the same way as other ground meats, and haven’t had the funding to test it. You could freeze the meatballs.
Could you use this recipe for other meats like venison or lamb?
The ground meats authorized are: Bear, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Sausage, Veal, Venison
These are excellent. What do you have to say to all the recipes out there using breadcrumbs and dairy products that people swear they have been doing for years without harming themselves or others? I have seen many pressure canning recipes for Swedish Meatballs that go against all the advice given here. Naturally I won’t risk them but publishers of those recipes state they know it is ill advised by the USDA to use the ingredients but they have had years of success. It seems totally irresponsible to me but then the success they haves confusing….Thoughts please.
Lots of people can have a run of luck. There are chain smokers who have lived to a hundred years old. It’s the stats you watch, and you see a lot of people whose luck runs out when you follow the cases reported. I personally can’t see what thrill it gives them to live dangerously and gamble with food poisoning. Life has enough gambles already.
Famous last words. It is all fun and games until someone gets sick.