Canning Bone Broth at home is so simple that once you learn how you’ll never buy it again. Bone broth was a staple of our ancestors and the perfect way to extract every last bit of nutrition out of the animal.
While most people assume that bone broth is rich in minerals, that’s actually not the case. The minerals in animal bones are bound tightly and don’t break down easily even with a long slow simmer. Some people add vinegar to help acidify the liquid in the hopes that they’ll be able to extract more minerals, but a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a 5-gallon batch doesn’t do much.
Though it lacks minerals, believe it or not, bone broth is full of protein. That protein boost is one of the reasons health food advocates are suggesting sipping a cup of warm bone broth in place of your morning coffee.
Why Can Bone Broth?
With so many “artisanal” bone broth makers, why bother making your own?
Cost – Bone broth is supposed to be a way to make use of things you’d normally discard: bones. It’s supposed to be free, or close to it. Why then, are retailers slapping on the tag of “artisanal” and charging nearly a dollar an ounce?
We can about 200 quarts of bone broth a year, or about $3000 dollars worth if you chose to pay “artisanal” prices. All it cost was an initial investment in our super sexy All-American Pressure Canner.
Quality – When you make your own, you manage the quality. Especially if you’re raising your own animals, you know the history of all the ingredients. Want all organic, grass-fed, free-range and snuggled daily? You’re choosing the inputs.
Selection – Want to make something special? Perhaps with fresh thyme and mushrooms to use later for a fancy date night in? Go right ahead.
Low salt? No salt? Skip the beef? Whatever your requirements, they’re easy to meet when you make your own.
Self Reliance – Canning your own food, especially protein-rich nourishing bone broth, means taking charge of your own wellbeing. I’m in charge of making sure my family eats well all year round, and those 200 quarts of bone broth canned in my basement make a huge difference.
Equipment for Canning Bone Broth
So what do you need to can bone broth at home?
Pressure Canner – Unlike jams and jellies which are high acid, meat products, and vegetables need to be pressure canned to be shelf-stable. We use a 30 quart All-American Pressure Canner which can hold 19 one-pint mason jars or 14 one-quart mason jars.
If I had to do it again, I’d go even bigger. The 41.5 Quart Model is only a bit more expensive, and it can hold 32 pints or 19 quarts. With how much bone broth costs to buy in a store, you make up the difference in your first home-canned batch.
Mason Jars – Most home canners have a ready stock of mason jars around. Bone broth can be canned in pints or quarts (not half gallons). Though I generally prefer wide-mouth pint mason jars for most of my home canning, I use narrow-mouth for pressure canning.
Why? With wide mouth pints you can only fit 14 in the canner, but narrow-mouth is a bit smaller and you can fit the full 19 pints. More often than not, I can bone broth in quart mason jars because that’s how my family tends to use it.
Mason Jar Lids and Rings – While you can reuse the jars and rings over and over again, the lids themselves are only good to seal once. They’re the biggest ongoing cost of canning.
We buy our mason jar lids by the flat because when you buy 16 dozen at a time you get a significant discount. The rings are also available in bulk, and a single bulk pack should last you a lifetime as you reuse them.
Canning Jar Lifter – A canning jar lifter allows you to move the jars while they’re hot, and is essential for both pressure canning and water bath canning.
Canning Funnel – If you spill on the jar lips they might not seal correctly. Always use a funnel to keep things clean. I really love this one because it has headspace measurements built-in, but you can use just about any wide mouth jar funnel.
How to Make Bone Broth
Start by making bone broth using your favorite recipe. We save bones in our freezer until we have enough to fill our 5-gallon stockpot about halfway. A good measure of this is 2 to 3 one-gallon Ziploc storage bags filled.
Since the bones come from dinner, they’re generally already roasted. If you’ve boned your meat raw, roast them in the oven before starting your stock for a richer flavor.
Add in aromatic vegetables, such as carrots, onions, garlic, shallots or leeks. We generally use 2-3 onions and 4 to 5 carrots per batch as a minimum.
Cover everything with water, filling the pot within 2 inches of the top.
Bring to a low boil, and then simmer on the stovetop for at least 4 hours. Often, we’ll let ours simmer overnight.
Strain the bone broth to remove all solids. We put it through a colander first, then a fine-mesh strainer.
If your bone broth is excessively fatty, you can allow it to cool and skim the fat. This is not strictly necessary, but it’ll give you a cleaner finished product.
We don’t skim our broth, and the extra fat adds to the richness of finished foods later on. Generally, it only amounts to about a millimeter at the top of each jar, so it’s not much to fuss over.
How to Can Bone Broth
Method: Pressure Canning
Pressure: 10 pounds under 1,000 feet (11lbs with a dial gauge canner)
Headspace: 1 inch
Time: 25 minutes
Prepare the pressure canner by adding about 2 inches of water to the bottom. Insert the bottom rack, and bring the water to a boil.
Your bone broth should also be boiling on a separate burner. Ladle the hot bone broth into canning jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
Add new canning lids and tighten the canning lids to finger tight. Use a jar lifter to place the canning jars into the canner on top of the bottom rack (never directly in contact with the bottom of the pressure canner). If you have a double-decker canner like our 30-quart All American canner, insert the divider and fill the second rack.
Secure the pressure canner lid, and tighten the bolts down all the way. Allow the steam to escape from the pressure valve for a full 10 minutes before adding the canning weight at 10 pounds of pressure for under 1,000 feet of elevation.
Leave the stove on high until the canner comes up to temp, and the canning weight “jiggles” for the first time to allow pressure to escape. Once the canner is up to pressure, begin timing. Filtered bone broth without meat takes 25 minutes to can at 10 pounds of pressure.
Turn the heat down on the stove. The canning weight should jiggle at least once per minute, to tell you that pressure has been maintained. Make sure you turn it down enough that it’s not continuously jiggling, as that releases too much water.
That can be an issue if you’re canning something with a long can time, like sweet potatoes, which take 90 minutes to pressure can. If the weight is jiggling constantly and releasing steam then the canner might run dry.
With a shorter canning time, like the 25 minutes required for bone broth, it’s less of an issue. Still, it’s a good practice to learn the right stove setting to keep your canner at the right temperature.
On my stove, it’s halfway between 2 and 3 (out of 10) on the front power burner. That equates to “medium-low”. You’ll need to experiment with your own stove.
When 25 minutes have passed, turn off the heat and allow the pressure canner to come back to room temperature naturally. DO NOT REMOVE THE CANNING WEIGHT until the canner is back to room temperature. Rapid depressurization can cause jars to break and is no fun for anyone.
The canner will take at least an hour to cool before the dial gauge reads “0” pounds pressure. Then remove the weight, and allow any remaining steam to escape before opening the canner and removing the jars.
Remove the jars. Once they’re completely cool, remove the canning rings for storage. Moisture trapped in the rings can cause them to rust shut, and then you won’t be able to open the jars.
The lids are vacuum sealed on, and the rings are no longer necessary. Wipe down the jars to clean off any spilled stock, and store them in a cool dark place.
Ball canning says they’ll keep for at least 18 months. If the seal is not broken, they should be good for years.
Thank you so much, I’ll try that soon when I receive my pressure canner 😋 I was just wondering, does the bone broth still gelled after the canning process or more watery?
In our experience, it still gells. The instructions in our pressure canner tell you to cook the stock to the gelling point before canning it, so that it’s concentrated enough to gel. It doesn’t gel in the canning jar, but if you take it out and bring it to a boil on the stovetop, when it cools it will be normal thick gelled stock.
Angela L Kirby
Thank you!!! I’ve been going absolutely crazy trying to find an answer to this. I’ve been pressure canning broth for years, but not all of it was ever meant to gel. If i’m breaking down chicken quarters, sometimes as cheap as 50 cents a lb, even in these hard times, i don’t expect to get gel. but i was wondering if my canning was breaking the gelatin. then i started to wonder, because when i pressure cook a gel broth, it gels just fine. Thanks for clarifying this pesky issue for me.
You’re very welcome. We’re so glad we could help.
Thanks for your post. Have you ever had your broth or stock look great in the jar, smell fine upon opening, but then darken within a few hours? We’ve been pressure canning for years and just had this happen. Super sad. It’s like something oxidized when breaking the seal. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks much.
That’s interesting, I’ve never had that happen. If it is oxidization when you open the seal somehow, then adding more onion to the stock might help. Onions, especially onion peels, are rich in vitamin C. I save up the peels in the freezer and there’s always a bunch in my stock batches. Gives it good color, and I haven’t had any darkening issues (that I’ve noticed at least…)
I have an instapot that has a canning feature for pressure cooking. I bought it when I realized I can’t use a regular pressure cooker on a glass top stove (next time I won’t by glass top). I can process meat in it but never have canned bone broth. I figure its worth a try. What do you think?
I have an instant pot, and to the best of my knowledge you cannot can in one (other than water bath canning without the pressure lid). The pressure doesn’t get to a dependable psi, and they won’t guarantee it for canning. I’ve never heard of one with a “canning” feature?
You CAN can in these if you are UNDER 2000 ft sea level… I have 2 power pressure cooker/canners and absolutely love them for canning! I also have a glass top and could no longer use my old traditional canners so the hubs bought me these as we have 2 huge gardens and I put up meat and veggies all the time! Only downfall is I can only use pints… but for just the two of us now (5 kids grown and gone), pints are perfect!! Just put up 6 pints green beans, 14 pints beef, 6 pints chicken and 1 of pork… unexpected canning day today as my freezer went out yesterday… ugh…
NO – Testing has been done and it has been PROVEN that these devices do not reach and maintain the required pressures to effectively kill the botulism pathogens. In their own user manuals the manufacturers say the “average” pressure at the “hi” setting is between 6.5 and 11 psi. If it does not attain and sustain a pressure of 10-11 PSI for the entire time then it has not killed the pathogens.
Around 2021 or early 2022, Instantpot released a new model that has the ability to reach 14 PSI, making it safe for canning anything. You just have to be sure and find the model suitable for pressure canning and not the older model only suitable for water bath canning.
I use my canner on my glasstop and I am canning at least once a week.
Just found your site. Had a question about canning Bone Broth, and your site came up. So many people told me you cannot can it. Stands to reason you should be able to. Have been caning chicken stock for years. Doing my first canning of Bone Broth as I write this. Thank you so much for your terrific page. Will stop back again. So much helpful information.
Wonderful Janet, I’m glad it was helpful to you!
After canning chicken with the bone left in and using that chicken, can u use the bones again for broth?
Yes, you should be able to re-use the bones to make a second batch of broth. We cook the bones in our bone broth twice, the first time to make a very clean broth for use in soups. We filter that out and can it, and then we cook the bones a second time and make another batch with the same bones. The second batch is cloudy and much less refined, but it works great for rice or places where you don’t need perfect clear stock but still want some flavor and nutrition.
I would imagine making bone broth from the bones pulled from home canned chicken meat would be about the same as our second stock run.
Can you tell me when the stock gets to the gelling point?
The best way to tell is to turn it off and allow it to cool completely, and then put it into the refrigerator to gel. It doesn’t have to get to the gelling point to can, and that’s not specifically required. It all depends on how much cartilage and connective material goes into the pot. A single pigs foot, or a few chicken wings or feet will make a stock gel easily, but if it’s all bone then it’ll have to be very concentrated to gel.
I did not skim off the fat from my bone broth when I pressured canned them. Is it safe to use? I did not realize that you were not supposed to. Should I throw it out?
I often forget to skim and I’ve never had an issue. The broth comes out clearer if you skim and filter it, but the main reason to skim is that as the jars process, extra oil can bubble up into the seal and prevent the jars from sealing. If the jars are all sealed (centers popped down) then they’re all fine to store and use. Even not skimming, I rarely have an unsealed jar, so it’s not really that big a deal and there’s no reason to throw out the stock you canned.
Two things I would recommend though, double check all the seals, and remove the canning rings/bands. Anything that did bubble out will gunk up the bands and make it hard to open the jars later on. If they’re properly sealed, the stock jars don’t need the bands once they’re completely cool. The lid should be vacuumed on there tight, and they’ll store cleaner without the rings.
I just loosen the rings rather than remove them. I have had mice get in and bite the edges of the lids off of the jars! Leaving the rings on loosely will prevent them from getting at the edges to do their dirty work and because the rings are loosened, they are not going to get stuck or cause any other issues.
Oh my goodness! That’s a problem that I’d never even thought of, I can’t believe those little beasties actually bit the jars. Now I’ve heard everything! That’s a really good reason to leave the rings on though.
Hi, I just canned my first batch of pressure canned bone broth that I made. I’m new to canning, and did a lot of research on types of canners, how to can low acid foods, watched videos, and was very careful in the process. But I read a few scary articles on the risk of botulism that made me worry about everything !!! How to tell if they are sealed right, I was nervous after removing the rings I did find a little sticky residue around the rim, which freaked me out… now I’m scared to use them 😔 I’m such a hypochondriac lol… any advice would be soooo appreciated!!
So a couple of things…
They’re supposed to have sticky residue around them. When a liquid gets to pressure canner temps it’s really moving in there, and some of it splashes out. That’s normal. As they cool, the lid sucks down to seal.
Botulism requires a no oxygen environment to live, so if the jars didn’t seal then there’s oxygen and they’d just spoil normally (and smell horrible within a week or so). Check for seals, and wash off the outside of the jars (once they’re cool) so that they’re clean and the spilled stock doesn’t spoil on the outside. If the jars are sealed and you processed the correct pressure/amount of time then they were processed in a way that kills everything and prevents anything from getting in. Just make sure you do the right time/temp and that the jars sealed and you’re fine.
Some people choose to water bath can meat products and low acid foods (instead of pressure can) and that’s where things get squirrel-y. If you pressure canned them appropreately I wouldn’t worry about it.
I live on the Gulf Coast of Alabama so I don’t live above much sea level elevation. So how do I know how long to pressurize at low elevation?
The times for pressure canning assume you’re at 0 to 1000 feet elevation. Use the regular time in the recipe, you only need to change it if you’re at higher elevations.
Can you use som instant pot for canning
No. The instant pot does not get to a dependable pressure and it’s not approved for canning. You can make the stock in the instant pot, but the actual canning needs to happen in a real pressure canner.
I have a glass top stove and my presto canner has a totally flat bottom so it can be used on this stove. Presto gives you tips on cleaning the stove top and bottom of the canner carefully, plus lets you know not to move (drag) it across the glass because it might scratch the surface. I couldn’t use my water bath canner on this stove because its indented on the bottom so it took for ever to heat and was even harder to regulate. Now I just usemy pressure canner for water bath when needed.
When the canning time is finished you only need to wait until the PRESSURE goes all the way down before opening. If you wait until the whole thing is at room temperature you will wait a very long time.
I often just leave it overnight, but yes, just leaving it until it’s down to zero is sufficient. Good point and thanks for mentioning it!
Hello, I am wondering why you cannot can bone broth in 1/2 gallon jars?
There are only two things tested and approved by the National Center for Food Preservation for canning in half-gallon jars. That is grape juice and apple juice, and both of those are high acid water bath can projects. There are no pressure canning instructions or timetables for anything in half-gallon jars, simply because it has never been tested.
Is it theoretically possible to safely can stock in half-gallon jars? Probably.
But the thing is, without a recipe that’s been really thoroughly tested for safety, there’s some risk of serious issues (botulism, etc).
We can a lot of stock, literally hundreds of jars a year, and I wish there were a half-gallon recipe. Sadly not, so I can in quarts.
To can in half-gallon jars, just increase your processing time of quarts for that item by 20%. I consistently and successfully can in half-gallon jars for my family of 9 as my big Presto can hold 4 half-gallons at a time. It’s too bad that people have gotten into the mindset regarding canning, to borrow a phrase from the totalitarian era of the Romans, “What is not expressly commanded (or, in our case, approved) is forbidden.”
BTW, I reuse my canning lids and some of them are on their 5th and 6th goes.
Can I can beef stock in a water bath? I do beef for 3 hours but can I just do a broth ? For how long would I need to boil it?
All meat and meat products such as broth are not acidic and should always be pressure canned. Water bath canning is not considered safe for meat or for broth.
It is not considered safe simply because it has not be recently tested. However, people for generations, and some sections of society still today, exclusively waterbath with no harm to themselves and their families.
I canned my first batch of chicken bone broth but the recipe varies from the Ball recipe. I used a little vinegar and my own assortment of veggies. Processed it according to this post (and Ball instructions). Now I’m scared to use it because the recipe wasn’t exactly the same as the tested Ball recipe. How do you know it’s safe to consume? If botulism did grow, can I kill it with heat upon opening to make sure it’s safe to consume?
Adding vinegar wouldn’t affect the safety, and neither would the assortment of veggies (at least for a pressure canned stock recipe). If you followed the canning pressure and time suggested on their tested stock recipe there shouldn’t be an issue. Stock is quite flexible, and it doesn’t really matter what veggies/bones you use. The only cause to worry is if for some reason the jars didn’t seal, or you didn’t process them for the approved times/pressure.
My mom and I did a lot of canning while I was growing up.
She would transfer the strained broth into a metal tea kettle and bring it back to a boil, then pour it into her sterilized jars. No ladle, no funnel, no mess ……easy peasey!
I still do it this way and I can’t imagine why everyone doesn’t.
This is a great tip! Thanks for sharing.
I’ve saved many bones from past meals. Some of the chicken was cooked in sauce that had heavy cream and asiago cheese. Can I use these bones for the bone broth to be canned or should I separate them and only use plain bones for canning?
I have never done it that way before but it would definitely be worth a try.
I have used my All American pressure canner on my glass top stove for a few years now and have had no problem whatsoever.
It’s good that you haven’t had any issues but it is possible to damage your stove in the process. It is advised to check with the manufacturer of your stove to see what their guidelines are. Here is an article from the National Center for Home Food Preservation with more information. https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/smoothtops.html
Hello, is 25 mins the time for pints and quarts?
You would only need to process for minutes for pints.
I have considerable experience pressure canning bone broth. At the end of the last batch of chicken, the contents of the jars separated. Clear liquid on top, white, fatty looking stuff on the bottom of the jar. I have never seen this before and I have no clue why. I jarred 70 one quart jars and the last 25 looked like this. Any suggestions?
I’ve had that happen from time to time, and my best guess is that it’s proteins coagulating in the jar. I usually do it in 14 one quart jars (a single batch in my pressure canner) so I’ve never had it happen in just part of a big batch like that. When it happens, it’s all 14 jars or none.
My best guess is that it’s caused by cooking the broth too hot. They say if you make bone broth and let it boil hard, like really hard, during the process then it’ll never clear. I’ve found that to be the case and I try not to boil it hard. I have found that when occasionally it does by accident, the broth is cloudy as expected, but it also tends to have white fatty/slimy “stuff” at the bottom of the jars (and sometimes floating at the top). I believe, though I do not know for sure, that it is something about how the proteins are extracted from the bones/meat during cooking.
My best guess is that if it only happened at the very end of your last batch, then the stock got too hot near the end of the simmering extraction. That is to say, before canning but when the bones/meat are in the pot. Once it’s strained out it can boil hard, and does obviously when you can it. The main problem is just if it boils really hard with everything in there.
Hope this helps, it’s my best guess.
Does any bone broth recipe work for this? I like to add Apple Cider Vinegar and lots of chicken feet to make it super gelatinous. Do I still fill the jars to 1″ and is it still safe to pressure can with these instructions?
Yes, this process should work with any broth recipe.
Second time trying to pressure can bone broth (beef first, then turkey) and both times 3 of my 8 never sealed.
What am I doing wrong, and can I re-can what didn’t seal?
New to pressure canning.
Yes, you can reprocess them. If they didn’t seal, it may not be anything that you did wrong. Did you clean the rims of the jars well before putting the lids on? It’s possible that it could be the lids. Try a different brand and see if you get different results.
Thank you! I did reprocess. I think it was the fat causing it not to seal. I almost always use ball lids, but I do have some Walmart brand ones too. Maybe I accidentally used them.
I have canned since about 1976. I have used all kinds of lids, foreign and USA manufacture. I bought some at auction in the 80ies that were price tagged .49 cents for a dozen. They were white and said red magic button on them. They were old then and I used them for several years till I ran out of them. No problems with them. Recently I have used lids that I purchased on eBay. I think some were made in China. I have done more than 400 jars of things this season and no failure from lids of any make. eBay lids average about .10 cents each now, much more reasonable than Wal-Mart or anywhere else I can find them.