How to can ground beef

Canned ground beef is something that will always be on my shelf. It’s so convenient for making tacos, sloppy joes, casseroles, chili, creamed sauces, noodle dishes and so much more.

It’s convenient and shelf stable leaving prime real estate in your freezer.

The texture of canned ground beef is softer than when you just brown it and eat it. However, it’s still really good! It doesn’t fall apart and isn’t mushy at all. My husband loves the soft texture of it. My kids have never said anything about the meat tasting weird or an off texture.

With ground beef, I pressure can it. It’s recommended that with meat, you need to pressure can it. And since I have a pressure canner, I do.

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Supplies needed to can ground beef.

Luckily, there aren’t many supplies/ingredients needed to can ground beef. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Lean ground beef
  • Pressure canner
  • Funnel
  • Canning jars
  • Debubbler
  • Water/beef broth
  • Jar lifter

How to can ground beef.

You’ll want to get all your supplies out and ready to go. I like to get my jars warm either in hot water in my clean sink or in my canner as it warms up. I also have my lids in a bowl of warm water. You need to also have your liquid you’re putting in with your meat warming up.

You want to brown your ground beef, but I don’t cook it all the way through. I cook it so that enough fat releases so that I can drain it off. Some of my ground beef is still pink.

Once I’ve got the fat drained off my meat, I pack my meat loosely in my hot jars.

Then you’ll add your hot liquid into your jars and then debubble. You’ll want an inch of headspace.

Wipe your rims with a clean cloth that’s been dipped in hot water.

Add your lids and your rings so that they are fingertip tight.

Load your jars into your pressure canner. Make sure the water that is in your canner is also hot.

Hot jars. Hot food. Hot water.

Turn up the heat on your stove.

Once your canner has a steady stream of steam for 10 minutes, add your weight (check how much weight you need for your altitude. I need 15 lbs of pressure for where I live) and wait for the pressure to build.

Once your pressure is where it needs to be, start timing. Pints need to be processed for 75 minutes and quarts are processed for 90 minutes.

After the processing time is over and pressure has come down to zero (usually about an hour for me) let the canner sit for about 5 minutes. Then remove the canning lid, allowing the steam to leave the canner away from you so you don’t burn yourself. Leave the jars for an additional 10 minutes.

After that, you can remove your jars using the jar lifter. Leave the jars on your counter (I place my jars on a towel on my counter) for 12-24 hours before touching them. You’ll be tempted to touch the lid to see if they sealed, please don’t! You can cause a false seal. Leave them be.

Tips and notes

  • A pound of ground beef can typically fit into a pint size jar. However, if I have 8 pounds of ground beef, I can get 9 pints of canned ground beef. It all just fits better, and the lids tend to seal better if I don’t fit an entire pound inside.
  • You want to brown your meat a little first because if you don’t, the meat will clump together in your jars.
  • Canning meat is easier to get out of the jars if you use wide mouth jars.
  • Once your jars and food have cooled, you may have a small ring of fat at the top of the jar. This is ok! I promise it’s not as much fat as you think it is.
  • The meat may have a strange smell to it once you open it. If it doesn’t smell rancid it’s ok. Just like canned chicken has a different smell, so does canned ground beef. Once you warm it up the smell goes away, and it doesn’t taste like the smell at all!
  • Pressure canning can feel scary, but it’s so awesome all that you can with it! It’s a favorite of mine!


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