Canning mangoes at home is a great way to preserve an otherwise expensive fruit for cooking all year round. When you can mangoes at home, you can use as much or as little sugar as you’d like, meaning that they’re much more versatile than store-bought.
Most of the year, mangoes are unbelievably expensive, especially in the Northeast.
Once mangoes come in season in mid-summer, the grocery stores are almost giving them away. They sell for as little as 50 cents a piece, down from $3 or more each. When that happens, it’s time to get canning!
So here it is, early July, and we’re in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave. I’m combing the aisles of the grocery store, planning on living on nothing but fruit for the next week.
Then there it is, a truly beautiful sight to behold. Mangoes stacked high in cases half way to the ceiling, and at 2 for $1. I brought home 2 cases without any sort of plan.
I’d just bottled up a small batch of mango wine made from mango nectar. Mangoes are never quite cheap enough around here to justify making wine with fresh mangoes. As soon as I break down and make a batch, they go on sale.
It figures. Nonetheless, I’ve got mango wine in the bottle. What else can I make?
Next up was fresh mango lassi and Thai sticky rice with mango. Both delicious, but I’ve still got piles of cheap mango left and the clock is ticking. Time to get canning.
Is it Safe to Can Mangoes?
So here’s the tricky part. Mangoes seem acidic just like any other fruit, but their ph can on occasion be slightly above the safe level for canning.
Fruits need to be below a pH of 4.5 for water bath canning on their own, and mangoes range between 3.4 and 4.8. That means it’s possible that any given mango might not be quite acidic enough for safe canning.
Since mangoes aren’t exactly the most popular canning fruit, the USDA has not developed specific canning recommendations. There are a number of studies that have studied the safety of adding acid to canned mangoes. The USDA has developed canning recommendations for other low acid fruits, such as papaya.
Papaya is much less acidic than mangoes, ranging from a pH of 5.2 to 6.0. The USDA recommends adding 1/4 cup of lemon juice to each quart of papaya to allow for safe water bath canning.
Following that same direction should be more than adequate for a much more acidic fruit like mangoes.
That said, this recipe has not specifically been tested by the USDA. Canning is always “at your own risk” but that’s especially so when using untested canning recipes. Use your best judgment here, and realize you are responsible for your own safety when using untested canning recipes.
How to Can Mangoes
Canning mango is about as simple as putting any other sort of fruit. It’s naturally high sugar but often don’t have quite enough acid for water bath canning on their own.
They’ll need a bit of acid added to the canning liquid to ensure that their pH is below 4.5. Mangoes will need 1/4 cup of lemon juice added to each quart, or 2 Tablespoons added to each pint.
Sliced or chopped mango is canned in a sugar syrup. Anywhere from very light syrup, which mimics the natural sugar content of the fruit, all the way up to very heavy syrup which basically makes a candied mango.
I’m canning this mango in very light syrup because mangoes are sweet enough as it is, but since there’s so much added lemon juice you may want to add slightly more sugar depending on your tastes. I just want enough sugar in the syrup so that the flavor of the mango doesn’t get washed out into the water, but not so much that it makes the mangoes any sweeter.
Very light syrup uses 3/4 cups of sugar for every 6 1/2 cups of water. That’ll make enough for a canner batch of 9 pints. I’ve used quite a few of my mangoes already, and I only have enough left for 3 pints.
A tiny batch of very light syrup can be approximated at 1/4 cup of sugar to 2 cups of water. That’s actually slightly more sugar in the ratio, but it doesn’t need to be exact.
Extra heavy syrup, in case you’re wondering, has a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar and water. So anywhere between a 1:8 and 1:1 sugar to water ratio works. Adjust to your own tastes.
Peel and seed the mango, leaving the chunks however you’d like. A quart jar can hold approximately 5 mangoes, or more accurately 10 mango halves. I bottled up one quart with large chunks, leaving the pieces as large as I could while still removing the seed.
You can fit slightly more mango into a jar if they’re diced, and I packed 3 diced mangoes into a wide mouth pint jar.
Mango should be packed relatively tightly in the jars because the fruit will shrink in the canner during processing. This is the same for any raw packed fruit.
Once you’ve decided how to slice them, pack the mangoes into a pint or quart mason jar. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to each quart or 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to each pint jar. Set the jars aside while you make a syrup.
Add water and sugar to a saucepan and stir to dissolve. Heat the syrup in a saucepan, and once it’s boiling, pour it over the top of the mangoes leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
The process times for canned mangoes are the same as home canned pineapple. Process pints and half pints in a water bath canner for 15 minutes, and quarts for 20 minutes.
Take any fresh or frozen mango and turn it into shelf-stable home canned mango.
- 8 or 9 mangoes, peeled and seeded
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- lemon juice * See Note Below
Slice the peeled and seeded mango into chunks or leave them in large halves. Pack the mango into mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to each quart or 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to each pint to ensure proper acidity. Set the jars aside and while you make a canning syrup.
Bring sugar and water to a boil on the stovetop. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Pour the boiling syrup over the mangoes in canning jars. Remove air bubbles with a plastic utensil. Seal the jars with 2 part lids.
Process in a water bath canner. Process times are 15 minutes for pints and half-pints, and 20 minutes for quarts.
Pint jars hold 3 diced mangoes, and a quart will hold either 6 diced mangoes or 5 halved mangoes.
This recipe yields enough syrup and mango for 3 pints, or 1 quart and 1 pint. Double or triple this recipe as needed to deal with larger volumes of mango.
Add the lemon juice directly to the jars before packing mangoes. Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to quarts, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to pints.
This recipe has not specifically been tested by the USDA. Canning is always "at your own risk" but that's especially so when using untested canning recipes. Use your best judgment here, and realize you are responsible for your own safety when using untested canning recipes.
How to Use Canned Mango
Now that you have shelf-stable mango all canned up in the pantry, how do you use it? Canned mango is almost as versatile as fresh mango, and in many cases, you can barely tell it’s cooked. Try using home-canned mango in any of these recipes:
- Mango Lassi
- Mango Lassi with Kefir
- Mango Mousse
- Kale Salad with Mango, Avocado and Feta
- Roasted Mangoes with Blueberries and Walnuts
- Almond Butter Mango Overnight Oats
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
Thanks so much for including my overnight oats! I really should can mangoes more often!
Cynthia | What A Girl Eats
I love mango! i’ve never thought to can it! Thanks for the great tips!
Thank you so much for this awesome recipe to preserve mangos. I just have one stupid question: What does: “Process in a water bath canner.” mean?
Water bath canning is mostly used in the US as a way to put up food in mason jars, using specific two-part canning lids. You place the jar (with sealed lid) into a pot of boiling water, ensuring that the water covers the whole jar by at least an inch (so you need a deep pot). You then boil the jar in the water for the specified amount of time, which pasteurizes the contents and creates a vacuum seal. If you’re interested in learning the basics of canning for food preservation, I’d recommend this course called Canning With Confidence.
instead of all that artificial sugar how about substituting it with watermelon juice ?
I’ve never canned with watermelon juice, but I’ve heard the flavor changes when cooked (in jellies, etc). I’m not sure how it would do as a canning liquid. Canning in other fruit juices (pear, grape, and apple) is a widely accepted practice and a way to add natural sugar. I see no reason why watermelon wouldn’t work, only that I’m not sure how the flavor would be impacted.
Have you tried adding some spices to the mangos? My thoughts are drifting to ginger but what are some recommendations you would make?
I haven’t added spices to them, but a tiny bit of fresh ginger would be lovely I bet. Be careful, spices tend to get stronger in with the canning process, and some (like cinnamon) can turn bitter when canned. Experiment with small batches first. Good luck!
Lisa C Evans
Thank you, our Mango tree was very productive this year, and we found that we needed other storage options than freezing. This answers so many questions, and is very direct about how to do it.
Do the have to be ripe?
Yes, otherwise they won’t ripen after they’re canned.
Does the texture change much during the canning process? For example, if I canned diced mangoes would they still be firm enough to make a mango salsa when I opened the can down the road? Also I’m suuuuuper excited about the prospect of mango wine. Thanks for the idea!
Mangoes hold up pretty well, and they come out the jars quite firm, perfect for salsa.
Hi The National Center for Home Food Preservation has this information. Hope it helps
How ling would the mangos be pressure canned and at what pressure?
We don’t recommend pressure canning the mangoes.
Hi, this is the very first time I have seen a mango canning instruction other than for green mangoes. I have tried many times to can mangos but they usually pop before I get to eat them and wasn’t sure why. I have done heaps of canning. Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely try this next time so I won’t waste 4 trays of beautiful mangos. I used to freeze them but I need freezer room for other things.
Hi, I tried to waterbath my pickled mangoes but they become soggy and mushy. What can you recommend? Thanks
What’s the recipe you used to pickle them?
Carol H Nason
My mangos are VERY juicey!! So I left room for my 1/4 cup of lemon juice but there is no room for sugar water…the juice took up that room. I’m assuming it’s ok to can mangos in their own juice?
I don’t see why not.
I have an entire box about 18 mangoes to can. How ripe do they need to be. Is it like peaches where you press and if there is an indent then they are ready. We bought the mangoes partially green. It has been only 2 days and they are now yellow. They are the yellow variety of mangoes.
Thanks for your recipe.
Will be using it.
You want them to be ripe enough to eat. Judging the ripeness is similar to the of a peach. You want the flesh to give a little when squeezed.
THank you, canning Tues
Can ripe mangoes be canned in a steam canner? Also, can they be canned without added sugar?
It is possible to can mangos without sugar. If you use water, it can wash out the flavor of the mangos. Many people substitute unsweetened fruit juice to help with this. It seems as if you should be able to use the steam canner as long as they are acidic enough and follow the guidelines for using steam canners. Here is a link for an article done by the National Center for Home Food Preservations that might give you some more detailed information. https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/steam_canners.html
Thank you for your previous answers. I have another question: What do you think about using apple juice instead of syrup for canning mangoes?
Apple juice should work fine.
What would you think of blending the mangoes and lemon juice to make a mango sauce to can? Are there concerns you can see with that idea?
It depends on the thickness of the sauce. It’s possible that if it is too dense, the heat will not be able to penetrate the contents of the jar properly.
The first time I made this mango recipe, the jars did not seal. Still can’t figure that one out! All was well because It turned out that I forgot to put the lemon juice in them and that was a very smelly problem in my pantry.
I remade it again with the lemon juice and kept one jar that I put in the fridge for ourselves. It was delicious!
Today I just made several jars and just processed them. I love this easy recipe and mangoes are so well received as gifts to my peeps..
Living near the border of Az. and Mexico has it’s benefits for such fruit like mangoes.
Thank you for publishing this recipe for us all.
That’s great! Thanks for sharing. We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe.
Thanks for the great info on canning mangoes. I live in Australia and love them, and am about to can two boxes!