This post will explain whether or not you can use an instant pot for canning, and why, using scientific information you can trust from the USDA. Read on for the scoop on using an instant pot for canning!
Instant pots are the modernized version of a pressure cooker. My Gram used to use a pressure cooker to cook inexpensive (read: tough) cuts of meat that were inexpensive till they were tender.
Instant pots can be used preparing all kinds of things- (easy chicken and corn chowder, berry cobbler, or carnitas, for example!)
But can you use an instant pot for canning?
Watch the video version of this blog post here!
Water bath canning works because the inside of the jar reaches over 212 degrees fahrenheit. The USDA tests recipes to ensure that the inside of your salsa, or raspberry jam gets to this temperature, which is hot enough to kill spoilers in a high acid environment.
Instant pots are not tested for canning- we have no idea how hot, for how long it is inside your tomato sauce if you tried to can it in an instant pot. Therefore, we’d have no idea for how long to process any particular recipe to kill spoilers.
If you’re a dyed in the wool rule breaker, consider this. An instant pot is designed to do a very different job than canning. It doesn’t create steady heat- it builds pressure very, very quickly, and it is designed to cook foods with pressure, as fast as possible. That’s a very different job than what a steam canner or water bath canner does.
If you’ve tried it and your jar sealed let me tell you that it takes very little heat to seal a jar. Jars that have sat around a hot store shelf for long enough seal. The seal is only ONE part of the very important trifecta of elements that works to ensure water bath canning is safe.
Canning works by putting a high acid recipe (strawberry jam, tomato sauce, pickled pearl onions) in a jar and submerging the jar in heat. The heat kills the spoilers present in the jar and forces the oxygen OUT of the jar, creating a vacuum which causes the lid to suck inward and seal. A sealed lid alone is NOT enough to create a safe canning situation.
You can read more about acid and canning in this post– there’s even a free pH chart of all the foods you may can that you can download for free!
The bottom line is you cannot use an instant pot for canning.
If you wanted to use an instant pot for canning, you surely wanted to in order to save time. The FASTEST way to can is to use a steam canner– they save 25 minutes per batch, every batch. Read this post about them!
Want to learn more about canning in general? Sign up for the Free Canning Basics Course and get a few easy, STEP BY STEP lessons right in your inbox that will help you master the basics!
I am new to pressure canning. I have a pressure canner that was passed down to me from my mother. And am not sure how to use it. The seals look good. Although I’m not opposed to get new ones.
Jenny Gomes says
Hi Jennifer, I would look for the manual online. Also, if it has been stored in a garage or attic, anywhere where there are temp fluctuations, I would definitely get it checked by your cooperative extension.