The 8 Best Pressure Canners For Beginners

You’re not alone if you regularly throw out wilted greens or spoiled fruits. If you enjoy gardening but hate dumping overripe produce because you don’t have the time to cook it all, consider buying a pressure canner.

A quality pressure canner will extend the life of your vegetables and other low-acid foods like fish and meat. This appliance uses pressurized steam, which heats up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit to kill microorganisms in food.

Read on to select the best pressure canner to preserve your fresh produce.

The Best Pressure Canners For Beginners

Top ProductsRatingCapacity
1. Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker4.823-Quart 
2. All American 915 Canner Pressure Cooker4.915.5-Quart
3. NESCO NPC-9 Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker4.79.5-Quart
4. T-fal Pressure Canner with Pressure Control4.622-Quart
5. Presto 01755 16-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker4.716-Quart
6. Granite Ware Pressure Canner and Cooker/Steamer4.620-Quart
7. Mirro 92122A Polished Aluminum Pressure Canner4.622-Quart
8. Nesco Carey Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker4.79.5-Quart

1. Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker

Presto is a popular manufacturer of pressure canners, and this model has plenty of features to make it ideal for beginners. A sleek dial gauge and pop-up pressure indicator provide an accurate measurement. Also, the lid locks down during canning for added safety. It is useful for weeknight dinners and helps prepare healthy meals. It can act as a boiling water canner for acidic foods such as pickles and fruits and help preserve them.

The pressure canner features heavy-gauge aluminum construction and weighs 12-pounds. It is compatible with regular and smooth-top cooking ranges and comes with an extended 12-year warranty. It also comes with a recipe booklet and a cooling rack.

2. All American 915 Canner Pressure Cooker

This pressure canner features a unique metal sealing system and eliminates the need for gaskets. The lid has clamping wing-nuts for secure opening and closing. For additional safety, it has venting features, including a safety control valve and an overpressure plug.

This canner has plenty of room for canning and holds approximately ten regular pint jars. The hand-cast aluminum body makes it durable for long-term use. A stay-cool handle makes it easy to move the canner and remove the cover. It weighs 17-pounds and is a great choice for beginners.

3. NESCO NPC-9 Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker

This versatile appliance is suitable for canning, steam cooking, pressure cooking, and slow cooking. It has a removable nonstick aluminum inner pot, which is dishwasher-safe and can hold five pint-size jars. It also comes with a canning rack, a steam rack, and an easy-to-remove condensation catcher. The simple digital display features temperature controls and a timer.

The lid features a safety lock and a pressure valve for added convenience. The canner has 10- and 15-psi valves for different altitudes. It’s a great appliance for both beginner and experienced canners.

4. T-fal Pressure Canner with Pressure Control

This 22-quart pressure canner comes with a deluxe pressure gauge dial and can handle bigger batches. It’s a durable and rustproof appliance featuring a polished aluminum body. A vent tube on the lid helps remove excess steam. Plus, the canner includes a built-in pressure monitoring device and a locking lid for added safety.

This canner doubles as a pressure cooker for preparing tasty meals. It comes with a cooking rack and recipe booklet for beginners.

5. Presto 01755 16-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker

This classic pressure canner is suitable for regular and smooth-top cooking ranges. It can hold up to ten pint-sized jars and can also hold seven quart-sized jars. It doubles as a water canner for preserving pickles, fruits, jams, jellies, and salsas.

This aluminum pressure canner and cooker works on gas, electric, and glass ranges. The deluxe dial pressure gauge helps you adjust the pressure for safe canning at high altitudes. Also, it features a comprehensive instruction manual and recipe booklet for beginners.

6. Granite Ware Pressure Canner and Cooker/Steamer

This multipurpose canner can work as a pressure steamer and a pressure cooker. If you want to cook nutritious and healthy meals, the Granite Ware Pressure Canner is all you need. It has unique features to ensure safe and effective use.  

This pressure canner features a hard-ionized body, stainless steel lid, and stay-cool handles. A pop-up pressure indicator secures the lid in place and prevents kitchen accidents and injuries. If the vent pipe becomes blocked, an additional safety valve will release pressure and make a whistling alarm. All these safety features make it perfect for beginners.

7. Mirro 92122A Polished Aluminum Pressure Canner

If you’re a beginner who thinks a weighted gauge may fit your needs, consider this large-capacity canner. It can hold seven quart-sized jars or sixteen stacked pint-sized jars. A tight-fitting lid locks in flavor and moisture so that meals taste like they have been simmering all day long! It doubles as a pressure cooker so you can prepare short ribs, soups, steamed vegetables, stews, and more.

Mirro’s pressure canner features concave bottoms, so it isn’t suitable for flat-top surfaces. The 22-quart pressure canner comes with two jar racks, one for the canner’s bottom and one for stacking pint-sized jars. It also features ergonomic handles and a reusable overpressure plug to prevent excess pressure build-up.  

8. Nesco Carey Smart Pressure Canner and Cooker

If you’re looking for a pressure canner for daily use, consider the Nesco Carey pressure canner. It has a multifunctional design suitable for cooking, canning, steaming, and slow cooking.  

This pressure canner has built-in safety features for beginners. These unique features regulate pressure continuously and help preserve fruits, pickles, jams, and salsas. 

Also, the lid locking mechanism helps keep the flavor intact. The canner has a digital timer for precise monitoring and a pressure valve to release excess pressure. Additional accessories include a canning rack and a removable condensation catcher for easy cleanup.

Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider When Choosing the Best Pressure Canner

The best pressure canners are both safe and effective. You’ll want to consider the canner’s size, weight, and operational mechanism when you’re shopping.

Look for these features so you can make the best choice for beginners:

Capacity

The most common canners feature a 16- to 23-quart capacity. However, you can also find compact canners with a capacity of about 10 to 12 quarts. These smaller canners will hold a minimum of four glass jars, while a 20-quart canner will hold about seven glass jars. Some models can accommodate jars stacked on top of one another for higher capacity. Choose the size according to how much food you want to preserve.

Material

Pressure canners have stainless steel or polished aluminum bodies. Aluminum options are lightweight and inexpensive and also great at conducting heat. They may stain over time, so you can find tips for cleaning aluminum here. Keep in mind that aluminum pressure canners don’t work on induction ranges because they lack the magnetic properties needed for effective heating.

Stainless steel pressure canners are heavier and more expensive. However, they are durable and have long-lasting shine.

Weight

The weight varies depending on the material, with steel canners being heavier than aluminum ones—the canners on this list range from as light as 10-pounds to as heavy as 20-pounds. When reviewing your canner’s weight, consider your cooktop. A glass range may not be able to hold excessive weight, so you may want to choose a lighter option.

Pressure Gauges

All pressure canners have a gauge to give you a reading of the inside pressure. The two most common types are weighted gauge and dial pressure gauge.

Beginner-friendly Features

Pressure canners need to have beginner-friendly features to work properly and safely. One of the most important features is a vent pipe, which helps release excess heat and steam. An overpressure plug is also crucial. It’s a piece of rubber that will pop up to indicate if the vent pipe is obstructed.

Your pressure canner should also have racks for the bottom of the pot. To ensure proper circulation and heating, the rack separates your glass jars from the heat source. Some canners will also double as pressure cookers. If you are looking for added functionality, some canners will also feature a steamer insert.

Lid and Handles

Most pressure canners have a twist-locking mechanism to secure the lid. A rubber gasket helps lock in the steam and moisture during operation. Look for a manufacturer that sells gasket replacements. That’s because you may need to replace the gasket over the years due to heat damage.

Pressure canners can be very heavy, so it’s important to choose one with handles on both sides. The handles should be heat-resistant for added safety.

Benefits of Pressure Canning

Save Time with a Pressure Canner

If you want to can and preserve fresh produce or other foods, buy a pressure canner and ensure that it has a dial gauge if you want to safely preserve low acid foods, meats, or fish.

Preserve Fresh Produce

Canning is a must-have if you have a large garden. It helps you preserve fresh produce for the entire year, so there’s no waste. Canning will allow you to preserve tomatoes, corn, zucchini, corn, and other fruits and vegetables that can begin to rot if not stored promptly.

Prevent Food Contamination

Canning can change the pH and the moisture levels to prevent mold, bacteria, and microbes from contaminating food.

Save Money

Canned food can last up to two years. It’s a great option if your family is on a tight budget. Additionally, you can buy seasonal fruits and vegetables in bulk to save money.

Send Gifts

Canned food makes the perfect gift if you have a big family and plenty of friends. Most people love receiving canned foods such as applesauce and pickles. You can get creative and make customized gift baskets this holiday season.

How to Use A Pressure Canner

You can use a pressure canner to preserve unpickled vegetables, beans, soup stocks, or non-acidic foods. Each brand of pressure canners is unique, and you want to read the user manual before using one for the first time. 

Here are the general instructions for pressure canning. Hopefully, they will simplify the process for you.

Place Rack in Canner and Add Water

Pressure canners feature a removable rack. Make sure this rack is in the canner before you load the jars and add water. Add the amount of water recommended in the user manual. Alternatively, you can go for a four-inch depth of water. You can add more water if you’re processing food longer than forty minutes. 

Turn On Heat If Hot Packing Jars

If you’re processing hot food, consider heating the water inside the canner. Do not turn the heat on if you’re packing cold food into the jars. That’s because cold jars could crack when placed in hot water.

Placing Filled Jars in Pressure Canner

Fill clean canning jars and leave up to 1-inch headspace. Screw on the canning lids and place the jars into your canner. Hold the jars upright so that their contents don’t get on the adhesive ring inside the lids. 

Close Canner and Vent Steam for Ten Minutes

Turn the heat on and leave the vent pipe open. Allow the steam to escape from the vent pipe for about ten minutes. 

Raise Pressure and Process the Food Jars

The pressure will start to go up once you put the weighted gauge on the vent. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain optimal pressure for the entire processing time. If you notice reduced pressure reading on the dial gauge, you have to raise the temperature to bring the pressure back up. 

Depressurize Your Canner Before Opening

When you have processed the food according to your recipe’s instructions, turn off the heat and let the pressure canner cool down for five minutes. This will also help depressurize your canner. 

Open Pressure Canner and Remove Jars

Open the pressure canner lid, remove the jars and be careful not to tilt them. You can also use a jar lifter for added safety. Place the jars on a heat-resistant surface until they are completely cooled. After cooling, label and store your food jars away from direct light and heat. 

Safety Tips

Keep these safety tips in mind:

Avoid older models

You should never buy a pressure canner at a flea market or auction. Bargain pressure canners or second-hand models might have cracked gaskets or lids that don’t provide a tight seal and cause accidental injuries.

Protect the gasket

Replace the gasket if it looks cracked or broken. You can easily order the gasket online if you can’t find it at your local store. Use gaskets that come from the pressure canner’s manufacturer to ensure a proper seal.

Inspect the dial gauge

If your pressure canner features a dial gauge, inspect it to make sure it gives accurate readings. You can also try out the gauge testing services offered by manufacturers.

Follow the instructions

Read the instruction manual several times before canning foods.

Keep it clean

Remove the gasket, pot, and lid and wash them separately. Clean the valve with a toothpick and store the canner with the lid upside-down on the pot.

Don’t overfill the canner

Canners can hold your jars and two or three inches of water. Avoid fitting more than the recommended number of jars in your pressure canner.  

These tips will help you can foods in your pressure canner with safety and success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read on for the answers to commonly asked questions about pressure canners.

What is the difference between a pressure canner and a pressure cooker?

A pressure cooker is designed to prepare foods for meals in a fast manner. A pressure canner is specifically designed to preserve and store fresh produce and other low-acid foods in glass canning jars.

Can I use a pressure cooker for canning?

You cannot use a pressure cooker to can foods unless it has a dual purpose. Standard pressure cookers are not large enough and do not reach high temperatures to kill bacteria. Pressure cookers also don’t feature the accurate pressure readings needed for the canning process.

How can I maintain my pressure canner?

Use mild soap and water to clean your pressure canner after use. Wipe down the pressure gauge instead of submerging it. Keep the lid clean and free from stuck particles. Check the gasket for any damage, and check the dial gauge for accuracy. 

How long does a pressure canner or cooker last?

A pressure canner pot should last many years, but the rubber gasket that helps seal the lid may become worn and damaged. Many manufacturers sell replacements for these to extend the longevity of your pressure canner.

When should I use a pressure canner?

You can use pressure canners to ensure food safety and preserve low-acid food items at their natural pH levels. This includes poultry, seafood, meat, and vegetables.

Low-acid foods have a pH higher than 4.5. You could also use pressure canning for high-acid foods, but it is more time-consuming than if you chose water-bath canning.

Is there a difference between pickling and pressure canning?

Pickling is a great alternative to pressure canning for low-acid foods. Adding vinegar to low-acid foods like cabbage can raise the pH levels to preserve them safely. Without that extra vinegar, you need the combination of ultra-high temperature and pressure to kill microorganisms.

If you want canned cabbage that mimics fresh flavor, choose pressure canning. If you want fresh cabbage that maintains crispness but has a tangy taste, consider pickling it.

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