Canning Potatoes: How to Can Potatoes (Raw Pack Tutorial)

A step-by-step tutorial on how to pressure can potatoes. Whether you grow your potatoes or want to snatch up great deals from local growers or the grocery store, canning potatoes is a great way to preserve them and get them on your shelves.

Three jars of pressure canned potatoes, with a bowl of red potatoes, a dish towel, and a bowl of salt.

Why Pressure Can Potatoes?

Canning potatoes offers several benefits:

  • Convenience: Ready-to-eat potatoes are great for whipping up quick, easy meals. They can be added to soups, casseroles, and potato salad, and you can even enjoy them fried!
  • Extended Shelf-life: If you don’t have access to cold storage to extend your potato’s shelf-life, canning them can help solve that problem. Properly canned potatoes can last for years, reducing food waste.
  • Save Money: Purchase potatoes in bulk when they are in peak season and preserve them for future use.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Canned potatoes are a great addition to your emergency food storage preparations. They are fully cooked and ready to eat right out of the jar, making it easy to assemble quick meals in an emergency!

What are the two primary canning techniques?

Water Bath Canning: Water bath canning is suitable for high-acid food like fruits and pickled vegetables. This method uses boiling water to create a vacuum seal.

Pressure Canning: Necessary for low-acid foods like meats and vegetables. Pressure canning is required to reach between 240ºF and 250ºF in order to kill off any bacteria.

What is pressure canning?

According to the NCHFP (Nation Center for Home Food Preservation:)

“Canning is an important, safe method of food preservation if practiced properly. The canning process involves placing foods in jars or cans and heating them to a temperature that destroys microorganisms that could be a health hazard or cause the food to spoil. Canning also inactivates enzymes that could cause the food to spoil. Air is driven from the jar or can during heating and as it cools a vacuum seal is formed as it cools. This vacuum seal prevents air from getting back into the product bringing with it microorganisms to recontaminate the food.”

Pressure canner on a stove

Importance of Safe Canning Practices

  • You don’t want to get sick. Unsafe canning methods can result in spoiled food and botulism. A spoiled jar of home-canned food is generally easy to spot, but a jar that has grown botulism is not and can result in getting really sick or even death. (This is rare; don’t let it freak you out!)
  • Don’t waste your precious time. It’s normal to have a jar here and there that you find the seal has failed, but losing mass amounts of jars isn’t normal when using proper canning techniques. Canning is a lot of work upfront, and you don’t want to waste your time.

Why Pressure Canning is Vital for Canning Potatoes:

Pressure-canning potatoes is important because potatoes are a low-acid food. Low-acid foods need a higher temperature achieved with a pressure canner to make your potatoes shelf-stable and safe to eat. 

What are the Best Potatoes for Canning?

You can preserve different types of potatoes, and which ones are best to pressure can will largely depend on preference. Ask 100 different canners what kind of potatoes are best to can, and you’ll likely get a variety of answers.

Here are a few things to consider when you’re picking what type of potatoes to can:

  • Russets (my least favorite): Russet potatoes are a popular choice among canners because they are affordable. I have tried canning russets a few times, and we didn’t like the results each time. The high starch content of russets results in a more mealy potato that doesn’t hold up well and falls apart easily when used.
  • Thinner-skinned waxy boiling potatoes (my favorite) have a lower starch content. These include red-skinned potatoes and white potatoes. In our experience, these potatoes maintain their texture better and don’t have that mealy fall-apart texture as the russets.  

That being said, some canners love canning the russets. If you are a first-time canner of potatoes (or anything), I always encourage you to try a smaller batch to make sure you will like it. If you want to give russet potatoes a try, that’s great! You may find you don’t mind the results. I recommend letting the jars sit on your shelves for a few months and try them. This will help you determine if the texture is something you are ok with after they’ve had time to settle.

A Note on Raw Packing Potatoes:

I raw pack my potatoes for canning, which is the method I’ll show you here. It is the only method I’ve used. The NCFPS recommends blanching them for a couple of minutes before canning. I reached out to my local extension office to ensure I wasn’t doing anything unsafe. I asked if it was unsafe to raw pack them, and they responded with this:

Potatoes contain an enzyme that is removed with the blanching which improves the overall quality of the food. You can find additional information, as well as additional resources by going to the National Center for Home Food Preservation at https://nchfp.uga.edu/, there’s an additional section just on potatoes that can be found at https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can/canning-vegetables-and-vegetable-products/potatoes-white-cubed-or-whole/. Please let us know if you have any additional questions or need any additional resources.

As always, do your research and always follow canning practices you feel comfortable with.

Get Started Canning Potatoes:

Pressure canning potatoes ingredient shot. The image includes a bowl of water, salt, and potatoes.

What you’ll need to complete this recipe:

You will need these ingredients:

  • Potatoes: Preferably thin-skinned waxy varieties. The NCHFP recommends 20 pounds of potatoes for a full 7-quart batch.
  • Salt: canning salt is recommended. I love using Redmond sea salt. Salt is optional, but it does make it taste better right out of the can. Your salt needs to be free of caking agents.
  • Water or chicken broth/stock: You can use either liquid to can your potatoes. We love using broth; it makes super fast soups, and we love using water for potatoes we intend on frying.

You will need the following supplies:

  • Pressure canner: I use a 23-quart induction-compatible pressure canner. This is a great canner for beginners who need a more affordable option. It’s also lighter to use on smooth top glass stoves. It can also double as a water bath canner for high-acid foods. I have used a Presto canner for 20 years on a smooth glass stove top and have never had any issues. Note: Please read your instruction manual and decide for yourself if you’re comfortable using your pressure canner on your smooth glass-top stove. The All-American pressure canner is also a fantastic option, and most well-seasoned canners lean in this direction. I did not choose this option as it would be too heavy for my glass stove top.
  • Canning rack: Your pressure canner should come with a canning rack for the bottom of your canner. You never want to put your jars straight on the bottom of the canner. I like to have two racks, one for the bottom, and one for stacking jars.
  • Canning kit: This great canning kit should include a jar grabber, canning funnel, lid magnet, and bubble popper/headspace measurer.
  • Clean kitchen towel or bath towel for cooling hot processed jars.
  • Canning jars: I love using wide-mouth jars for canning meat. The wide opening makes it so easy; the meat slides right out. Regular-mouth jars will work, too; meat will just need a little help getting out with a fork.
  • Canning lids and rings: If you buy new jars, they will come with lids and rings. If you are using used jars, make sure you have enough lids and rings on hand. Save your rings; you can reuse them as long as they are in good condition (no dents, major rust, etc.). However, you need a new lid each time you preserve something new. You can, however, reuse old lids for vacuum-sealing jars or everyday use if they are free of dents. I love my For Jars lids! I have had a 100% seal rate and have used them for just under a year. (Code: YRP10 for 10% discount)

Before you start:

If you’re new to canning, familiarize yourself with your specific canner’s instruction guide for proper operating techniques.

GATHER ALL YOUR SUPPLIES

Nothing is worse than getting halfway into the process and realizing you’re missing something crucial. Go over everything you’ll need and make sure you have it.

Give yourself plenty of time! You don’t want to find yourself needing to leave to pick up kids from school but still have 30 minutes left on your pressure canner—a mistake I’ve made plenty of times. 

CLEAN YOUR SPACE

  • Clean your Space: Keeping your workspaces, tools, and hands clean during canning is important. We want to maintain the quality of the food by not introducing harmful bacteria to it or the jars. You don’t have to go crazy and bleach the whole house. Just maintain cleanliness, clean your work surfaces, wash your hands, and make sure your jars and tools are clean. Wipe down your workspace and clean up your workspace. Again, you don’t have to go crazy with bleach. Your favorite multi-purpose cleaner will do.

PREPARE YOUR JARS

  • Clean jars: Even if they are new! You don’t need to sterilize your jars. The NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation) states if jars are processed for 10 minutes or longer, they don’t need to be sterilized before canning. A hot cycle in the dishwasher or washing and rinsing in hot, soapy water will do. Once jars are clean, I keep them in a clean sink of hot water, take them out, and fill them with contents as I go. You don’t want to add hot contents to a cold jar; it could result in a cracked jar.
  • Check jars for nicks or cracks: While washing your jars or taking them out of the dishwasher, run your finger over the rims for chips or cracks. Don’t use jars with chips or cracks anywhere, as this will result in a failed seal or cracked jar, wasted time, and a mess to clean up.

WASH LIDS AND RINGS

Wash lids and rings in warm, soapy water.

Check the box your canning lids came in. Some canning lid manufacturers require you to pre-warm the lids in simmering water before putting them on jars. 

PREPARE YOUR CANNER

  • Clean the canner after every use and ensure it’s clean before using it again. Refer to your canner’s manual for full maintenance and care instructions.
  • Ensure the vent pipe in the lid is clear, as this is where the air escapes. Hold it up to a light to see through it. If you see an obstruction or can’t see light through it, try blowing into it to clear it.
  • Check the rubber seal underneath the lid if you’re using a Presto canner. If it has shrunk, become hard, or cracked, replace it.
  • Prepare the Canner: Place the canner on the stove burner and add the canning rack to the bottom. Pour in three quarts of hot tap water and turn the heat on low. If you’re adding hot-packed jars, heat the water to 180ºF. Hot tap water on low heat is sufficient for the raw pack method with this chicken. You need three quarts of water regardless of how many jars you are canning.

What size of canning jar do I need to can potatoes?

The size of the canning jar you need will depend on a few things:

  • How do you intend to use it?
  • How big is your family?

Are you frying them up? Using them in soups? Depending on how you plan to use them and how far they can stretch in the recipe will help you decide on pints or quarts. Depending on the soup, I typically use one quart in soups, and two if I’m frying them up.


We’re a family of four, (3 adults and 1 teenager) and we all eat adult-sized portions. Quart jars work best for us. If you are a smaller household and want more of a single serving size, pints might be worth trying. You could always do a batch of both and see what you find yourself reaching for more.

How to Can Potatoes (Raw Pack Method)

PREPARE POTATOES

Wash potatoes, peel, and dice into 1-2 inch cubes.

Soak potatoes in a large bowl of cold, clean water for 30 minutes. The goal is to get as much starch off of the potatoes as possible. Rinse off all the starch, add fresh water, and repeat a second time. I’ve repeated this up to four times to get more starch off the potatoes. This is the raw pack method I’m showing you, so we aren’t going to blanch potatoes first. Anytime I’ve blanched my potatoes first the potatoes felt over-processed in the end, we prefer the raw packing method.

A bowl of diced potatoes soaking in water.

FILL YOUR JARS

Heat your liquid in a large pot until it’s hot—it doesn’t need to boil. You can use broth or water. Add your canning funnel to your jar, and add salt (1 teaspoon for quarts, 1/2 teaspoon for pints) to the bottom of the jar.

Overhead pictures of salt that has been added to jar of potatoes.

Add raw potatoes to hot jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace, and then ladle liquid into jars again, leaving a 1-inch headspace. If using water, do not use the water potatoes were soaked or cooked in; we don’t want to add the starch back into the jar.

Image showing the correct 1-inch headspace in the jar of potatoes.

DEBUBBLE JARS

This simply means getting trapped air bubbles out of the jar to ensure proper headspace. You can use your headspace measuring tool or a wooden skewer to slide around the edge of the jar to help any trapped air bubbles escape. You may need to add more liquid or potatoes to adjust for proper headspace.

Headspace measuring tool being slid around in jar of potatoes to debubble jar.



ADD JARS TO PRESSURE CANNER

Wipe down the rim and threads of the jar, wiping clean of any food or debris so the lid can seal properly. Add lids and rings, tightening just finger tight. 

Once your canner is full of jars, add the pressure canner lid to the canner, for Presto canners line up the V’s, press down, and turn. The handles should line up when the lid is on properly. Leave the weight off the vent. Refer to your owner’s manual for full instructions on how to operate your canner.

PROCESSING JARS

On medium-high heat, begin the process of venting the canner; this just means getting all the air pushed out so the pressure canner can reach the proper temperature. When a steady stream of steam comes out of the vent pipe, time for 10 minutes. When 10 minutes is up, add your weight.

Start your timer for the required processing time once the canner has come to pressure.

Process pints for 35 minutes, and quarts for 40 minutes adjusting pounds of pressure (PSI) for elevation, see adjustments below.

ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT


POST-PROCESSING

Once your processing time is up, turn off the heat and let the pressure canner come down from pressure on its own. Do not try to speed this process up! Refer to your canner’s manual for details. Once the canner is depressurized, remove the weight and let it sit for 10 minutes. This allows jars to settle and helps prevent siphoning.

After 10 minutes, remove the canner’s lid. Be careful of the escaping steam when taking off the lid. Lift out jars with the jar grabber, as the jars will be hot. Carefully set jars on a clean kitchen towel, leaving space between each jar to allow for proper cooling. Leave on the counter unbothered for 12-24 hours.

Several jars of potatoes cooling on the kitchen counter.

FAQs

How to store jars of canned potatoes?

Store potatoes on a shelf in a cool, dark place for optimal storage. Storing jars of canned food in heat, or the light will lower the quality and shorten the shelf life.

What does it mean to tighten the ring just finger tight?

Tighten the ring just a notch past the point when you feel resistance. You need air to escape the jar to create the vacuum seal, if the ring is too tight air can’t escape and will lead to buckled lids and a false seal. If your ring is too loose it could wiggle too loose and won’t hold the lid in place properly, also resulting in a false seal.

Can potatoes be canned raw?

Yes, you can process potatoes raw; this is our preferred method. The NCHFP recommends blanching the cubed potatoes before canning; this simply helps remove more starch. We find that soaking the potatoes well, rinsing, and repeating a few times works great for eliminating starch when canning waxy potatoes. 

Can I use an instant pot instead of a pressure canner?

No, instant pots are not approved for pressure canning. Temperatures to reach 240ºF to safely can low-acid foods; instant pots do not have a way to regulate your PSI to adjust for your altitude to ensure you are reaching the correct temperature.

What is the best method for canning potatoes?

Potatoes are a low-acid food and need to be pressure-canned. A pressure canner is required to reach the temperatures needed to kill any bacteria and spores and make them shelf-stable and safe to eat. 

Is it worth it to can potatoes?

Determining if canning potatoes is worth it depends on your goals. We store both freeze-dried and canned potatoes in our food storage. Freeze-dried potatoes serve as our long-term food storage layer, while canned potatoes are part of our short-term layer and are included in our three-month emergency food supply. We use canned potatoes regularly in everyday cooking, ensuring they are consistently rotated. It’s a perfect way to stock up on potatoes when they are on sale and extend their shelf life.

Can I put the potatoes in the jar with the skins on?

No, peeling and dicing potatoes first is always a good idea. The potato’s skin is where most of the bacteria and spores will exist; it’s best to peel them and avoid any chances of dealing with botulism or spoiled food. Peeling and dicing also helps spot any rotten areas that need to be cut out.

Canning Potatoes

Preserve potatoes through pressure canning and have shelf-stable ready-to-eat potatoes at your finger tips.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Serving Size 7 quarts

Ingredients

  • 20 pounds potatoes (see notes)
  • 7 teaspoons salt (see notes)
  • water or broth

Instructions

  • Wash potatoes, peel, and dice into 1-2 inch cubes.
  • Soak potatoes in a large bowl of cold clean water for 30 minutes rinse potatoes, and several times until my water is looking more clear and less cloudy.
    The goal is to get as much starch from the potatoes as possible. I’ve repeated this up to four times to get more starch off the potatoes. This is the raw pack method I’m showing you, so we aren’t going to blanch potatoes first. Anytime I’ve blanched my potatoes first, the potatoes felt over-processed in the end. We prefer the raw packing method.
  • Heat up your liquid in a large pot until it’s hot, it doesn’t need to boil. You can use broth or water. Add your canning funnel to your jar,  and add salt (1 teaspoon for quarts, 1/2 teaspoon for pints) to the bottom of the jar.
  • Then add raw potatoes to hot jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Ladle liquid into jars, leaving a 1-inch headspace. If using water, do not use the water the potatoes were soaked or cooked in; you don't want to add the starch back into the jar.
  • De-bubble jars. This simply means getting trapped air bubbles out of the jar to ensure proper headspace. You can use your headspace measuring tool or a wooden skewer to slide around the edge of the jar to help any trapped air bubbles escape. You may need to add more liquid or potatoes to adjust for proper headspace.
  • Wipe down the rim and threads of the jar, wiping clean of any food or debris so the lid can seal properly. Add lids and rings, tightening just finger tight. 
  • Once your canner is full of jars, add the pressure canner lid to the canner, for Presto canners line up the V’s, press down, and turn. The handles should line up when the lid is on properly. Leave the weight off the weight off the vent. Refer to your owner’s manual for full instructions on how to operate your canner.
  • On medium-high heat, begin the process of venting the canner, this just means getting all the air pushed out so the pressure canner can reach the proper temperature. When there is a steady stream of steam coming out of the vent pipe, time for 10 minutes. When 10 minutes is up, add your weight.
    Start your timer for the required processing time once the canner has come to pressure. Process pints for 35 minutes, and quarts for 40 minutes, adjusting pounds of pressure (PSI).
  • Once your processing time is up, turn off the heat and let the pressure canner come down from pressure on its own. Do not try to speed this process up! Refer to your canner’s manual for details. Once the canner is depressurized, remove weight and let the canner sit for 10 minutes, this allows jars to settle and helps prevent siphoning.
    After 10 minutes, remove the canner’s lid, Be careful of the escaping steam when taking off the lid. Lift out jars with the jar grabber as the jars will be hot. Carefully set jars on a clean kitchen towel leaving space in between each jar to allow for proper cooling. Leave on the counter unbothered for 12-24 hours.

Notes

  • According to the NCHFP. about 20 pounds of potatoes is needed for a full 7-quart bath.
  • Canning salt is recommended, you can also use non-iodized salt. I love using Redmond sea salt. Salt is optional, but it does make it taste better right out of the can.

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