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Canning Meatballs Recipe: Pressure Canning and Storage

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Growing up, my mother made some of the most incredible meatballs I have had in my whole life.

These meatballs were giant and fluffy. I only wish I knew the process of canning meatballs back in those days.

Those incredible meatballs were made of ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, and Italian seasoning. On top of that, she simmered them in a delicious homemade sauce with floating lengths of hot Italian sausage.

My mother could make such incredible Italian food, and we loved it! Do you enjoy meatballs?

They are not that hard to make and canning them is not that much of a hassle. Of course, you are going to want to pressure can these meatballs. You are also going to want a good canned meatball recipe.

We will provide you with all of that!

Pressure-Canning Meatballs

complete guide to canning meatballs

You might be asking yourself why canning meatballs or canning spaghetti and meatballs is important. Well, a popular food for your preparedness pantry is canned Spaghetti O’s or something like that style of canned pasta.

How much of last week’s spaghetti leftovers hit the trash can? Wouldn’t it have been nice if you were canning meatballs at the time?

My mother used to make delicious salmon spaghetti with salmon meatballs. The lemon-cream sauce was delicious. Of course, we didn’t have food then, but now I know how to make canned salmon meatballs. These canned salmon meatballs are a fish-based option.

The idea behind storing canned meatballs is both about storing food and convenience. From a prepper’s standpoint, it’s great to have canned or dehydrated food stored up in case of calamity or a disaster.

Canning meatballs is also about convenience because you have meals that are ready to eat. That means anyone can pop open a can of meatballs and heat them. You can boil up some pasta or rice and you will have a healthy meal for the whole family.

Making meatballs and pressure canning them is all pretty simple. If you have the right equipment, you will have success.

Well, now is the time to get started.

canning meatballs recipe

Pressure Canned Meatballs Recipe

Yield: 3 quarts of canned meatballs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

A simple and delicious recipe for making meatballs from scratch and canning them!


  • 2 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic salt


  1. Whip your egg and add bread crumbs and seasonings.
  2. Add mixture to ground beef/turkey.
    ground beef, 1 egg and seasoning for canned meatballs
  3. Heat a skillet with oil over medium heat.
  4. While skillet is heating, form your ground beef or turkey into 3-4" diameter meatballs.
    raw meatballs being cooked in a skillet
  5. Brown the meatballs on both sides and set them aside on a plate.

Canning Instructions

  1. Fill sterilized jars with 3 to 4 meatballs
  2. Fill jars with boiling liquid of your choice.
  3. Be sure to leave at least an inch of space between the meatballs and the rim of your jar.
  4. Wipe the rim of your jar and put the lids on, but don’t screw them tight.
  5. Add about 2 inches of water in the bottom of your canner and place the jars of meatballs into the pressure cooker.
  6. Secure the lid on your pressure cooker and set it on medium heat. You are going to adjust so your gauge is at 10 lbs of pressure.
  7. At 10 lbs of pressure, cook the canned meatballs for 90 minutes.


Don’t forget to let the pressure cooker cool completely before removing the lid. I know you are going to be excited to see your finished product!

Storage Tips for Canned Meatballs

shelves of canned and dehydrated goods

Canning meatballs is a great way to put up meat for the long term. Having fresh meat on hand in the survival food pantry will assure you that you have access to nutrition as well as food everyone likes!

The beauty of these meatballs is that you can make canned beef meatballs, canned pork meatballs, or even canned salmon meatballs, as mentioned. There are tons of options when it comes to canning meatballs.

Canning in a pressure cooker gives you the best results, and it is also the safest method of canning. Your meatballs will be canned in a pressure cooker, which will extend their shelf life.

To understand the shelf life of your canned meatballs, you need to understand fat and rancidity. Whether you are canning spaghetti sauce or meatballs.

Fat is the enemy in these projects. Fat goes rancid, and that is what will spoil your project of canning meatballs. Low-fat meats are going to be your best option when it comes to canning meats.

Lean canned meatballs in tomato sauce are going to be a great, low-fat option for long-term storage.

However, you must understand that you are going to lose these meatballs eventually if they are not eaten. Canning meat is not the same as freeze-drying it and storing it for up to 20 years.

After about a year on the shelf at room temperature, you are going to have to crack a jar of your canned meatballs open and give them a smell. Rancid fat has a very distinct smell, and you will know it.

You can store homemade canned meatballs in the refrigerator. That is an option that will allow you to keep canned meats longer.

Custom labels are one of the most useful ways to make your cans more unique and your meatballs more premium for relatives and friends as a gift or even to sell.
I ordered some custom labels on Customstickers. They have the best waterproof, antifouling, and scratch-resistant custom labels at a low price.
Not just cans, custom labels are also suitable for plastic, metal, or wood containers. With how well they work, we know everyone will appreciate them.

Benefits of Pressure Canning

One of your main concerns when it comes to canning food safely is botulism. While botulism itself can die from boiling temperatures, botulism spores do not die at temperatures of 212 degrees or boiling.

In a pressure cooker, you will create temperatures that are much higher than that. This will kill botulism and its spores. This way, you will be safe.

Your pressure cooker uses pressure to increase temperature. Understanding how to use your pressure cooker is priority number one. You must read the directions completely so you know how to manage things like steam and pressure.

Another important tip is to allow your pressure cooker and its contents to cool completely before taking off the lid. This can save you from potential injury.

Pressure Canning vs Water Bath Canning

When you start canning foods you have two options to consider.

Water Bath Canning

Foods are canned in a water bath or hot water simmering in a pot. This method is great because you don’t need any fancy tools. As long as you have a big pot with a lid, you are in business.

Pressure Canning

Then there is pressure canning, which uses pressurized heat to can. You will need a pressure cooker to pressure can. These are not very expensive but can be an investment for some.

You can only safely make canned meatballs in gravy using the pressure canning method. Water bath canning is not safe when it comes to canning things like meat.

It has to do with acidity. When you can make things like tomato sauce and jams, you are canning highly acidic foods. This keeps the growth of botulism under control.

If the environment is not acidic enough, it can harbor dangerous bacteria, and that is what we are trying to avoid.

Learning how to can meatballs comes down to knowing how to pressure can. It’s not a big learning curve and it’s the safest and most effective way.

Canning Meatballs in Broth or Tomato Sauce

To have success in canning meatballs, you first need a stellar meatball recipe.

What the meatballs are made of will assure that you have a tasty treat when you open up that can. However, the meatballs are not the only thing going in that can.

You are going to need to decide what kind of liquid is going to go in the jar along with your meatballs. The two best options will be a beef broth or a light tomato sauce.

Beef Broth

This option leaves your meatballs open to more recipes when you put a lid on them to eat them. You can put them in soups and stews or make the centerpiece of a meal.

Canning Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

This is the more popular option because we are so accustomed to meatballs in some sort of tomato or marinara sauce.

This liquid will need to be brought to a boil and poured over your meatballs, whether you are canning them in tomato sauce, broth, or gravy.

Both liquids have many benefits. Canned meatballs in tomato sauce can be dumped right onto some noodles or pasta and that is a meal. They can also eat all by themselves!

You can use these meatballs in a variety of ways after they have been canned. Let’s look at a simple but tasty meatball recipe.


With the right canner and canning kit, you are going to be canning meatballs regularly. This is great news for you and your family because they are going to have access to delicious homemade foods.

By simply popping the lid, your family will be able to enjoy pressure-caned meatballs with all the flavor of fresh, homemade meatballs. If you have a great recipe for canning meatballs, then you will have some consistency.

Don’t forget to invest in some canning jars as they will hold all of these meatballs. You will also need a quality pressure cooker.

Of course, this pressure cooker can be used for more than just canning. Pressure cooking is a great way to cook tough, inexpensive cuts of meat.

To keep your family safe, you are going to use a pressure cooker to kill off all the spores of botulism, which can be potentially fatal. Pressure canning is the safest method and the only method you can use for non-acidic canning.

The liquid you can put your meatballs in is also an important consideration. You might want to can meatballs in tomato sauce or gravy. The choice is yours.

While you can store these meatballs on the shelf for a long time, you have to be wary of rancidity. The fat in your meatballs could go bad, and you will not be able to eat them anymore.

Canning meatballs is a great way to pad your food storage pantry. Meat is king when it comes to nutrition. Having canned meats is going to make all the difference in how you feed your family in lean times.

Canning meatballs is a great way to store meat for the long term, proving access to needed nutrition in your survival food pantry.
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