How to Can Ground Beef

Home canned meat is incredibly convenient. There's no need to defrost it, you don't have to worry about the electricity going out, and when you open the can, it's already cooked and ready to go.

One of my favorite winter canning projects is ground beef (or hamburger, as my mother would call it). I purchase the beef when it's on sale, or I purchase small amounts and freeze it, then thaw it and can it all in one day. You can use this ground beef in any recipe you'd use freshly cooked ground beef in; I like to dump it into a pan and crisp it up a bit first.

(Before you begin, you may wish to review the general instructions for pressure canning.)

What You Need:
Ground beef*

Pressure Canner
Canning jars, rings, and lids
Jar lifter
Plastic slotted spoon
Cooling rack or bath towel

1. Brown the beef, cooking it until it's no longer pink. I like to use at least two large skillets to do this, since it makes the cooking go faster.
2. Remove the browned beef from the skillet using the slotted spoon. Allow each spoonful to totally drain before dumping it into a large bowl. Be sure to drain off the excess fat before adding more beef to the pan to brown.

3. Pack the cooked beef into a clean jar, pressing down firmly until a 1 inch headspace is achieved.

4. Pour boiling water, beef stock, or tomato juice over the meat, maintaining the 1 inch headspace. Remove bubbles with the plastic handle of the spoon.

5. Wipe down the rim of the jar and place a lid and screwband on it. Place the jar in the water-filled canner.

6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 until the canner is full or the beef is used up.

7. Process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 min. in a pressure canner, using 10 lbs. pressure.**

* Note 1: 1 pint equals about 2 cups of ground hamburger. About 1 lb. raw of ground beef will fill 1 pint jar.

** NOTE 2: If you live at a high altitude, read this important information about adjusting canning times.


  1. Oh! This brings back good memories! Yay!

    Unfortunately, ground beef/chuck makes our daughter very sick, so it hasn't appeared on our table in months.

  2. I wonder why it makes her sick, Loretta? FYI, you can can any kind of meat - all cuts of beef, chicken, venison, name it!

  3. Does this get slimy? Or does the texture get weird at all?

  4. It's not at all slimy, Anonymous. In fact, it's *just* like freshly cooked ground beef - except if you usually cook it until crispy, it's not crispy. I like it a little crispy, so I just pour it out of the jar and into the frying pan to cook for a minute or two. I have very picky eaters in my house, and nobody can tell if I'm using canned ground beef or fresh!

  5. We're not sure, Kristina. We've had to teach her how to keep a food journal and discovered ground beef or ground chuck, no matter how it's cooked, make her sick. And restaurant pizza will make her sick but she can keep homemade pizza down. Weird, huh?

  6. I just got a pressure canner for Christmas and I can't wait to try this!

  7. So do you need to drain off the water before you reheat the ground beef? Does adding water take away any flavor? Thanks for the blog, I just got my Pressure Canner for Christmas, canned some Chili but 3 out of the 4 jars didn't seal. Ready for round 2 to hopefully figure out what I did wrong!

  8. April, no; you don't need to drain it and it's not watery. I recommend dumping it into a skillet to melt any fat and give the meat a crispier texture.