Canning onions is a great way to keep them for longer and use them in your recipes year round.
They’re nice to have on hand, and perfect to use in stews, soups, sauces, or any other recipe.
The canning process makes the onions slightly caramelized, which adds extra flavor and richness.
What I love most is how easy this process is. Follow along below as I walk you through step by step on how to can your very own onions at home.
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Can Onions Be Canned?
Yes, onions can be canned with minimal ingredients and tools you probably already have on hand.
It’s a great way to preserve them from your garden, and save yourself some time making recipes later on. Use them in any dish that calls for cooked onions.
Best Types Of Onions For Canning
When choosing what onions to can, there’s really no best type. Use any variety you have, red, white, yellow, and even pearl onions.
The most important factor is that they are firm and fresh with no soft spots or sprouts forming.
Related Post: How To Grow Onions At Home
Preparing Onions For Canning
Preparing onions for canning is easy, but does take a bit of time. First, cut both of the ends off, remove the outer skin, and rinse off any dirt.
Then cut them into 2 inch wedges or chunks before filling your jars. You can leave small onions whole, or cut them in half.
Methods For Canning Onions
There are two methods you could use for canning onions: hot or raw packing. Although there’s not a wrong method for this, I have found my preference and will share below.
With the hot packing method you flash-cook the onions in boiling water for 1 minute before filling your jars.
The benefits of hot packing include the reduction of extra air bubbles, and better color and flavor preservation.
The drawback is that it cooks the onions, which tends to cause them to become mushy after canning. So I recommend raw packing them instead.
Raw packing means that you simply fill the jars with uncooked pieces, and then pour the water over them.
I like this method the best because it’s faster, and helps the onions hold their texture better so they won’t turn to mush when you process the jars.
The only drawback is that you may have more air bubbles in your jars, but that is a very minor problem if you ask me.
Related Post: How To Grow Onions From Seed & When To Start
Pressure Canning Onions
Due to the low acidity of onions, the only safe way to process them is to use a pressure canner.
A boiling water bath will not be able to get them hot enough to kill off the potentially harmful bacteria, and therefore is not safe for home canning.
Tools & Equipment Needed
Below is a list of everything you’ll need to can your onions. You can see my full list of canning tools and supplies here.
- Pressure canner
- Pint canning jars
- OR Quart sized jars
- New jar lids
- Canning funnel
- Bubble remover tool
- Paring knife
- Kitchen or paper towels
- Cutting board
- Jar lifting tool
- Dissolvable labels
- OR Permanent marker
How To Store Canned Onions
Once the processed jars have cooled to room temperature and the lids have sealed, remove the bands before storing them.
Then store your canned onions in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as in a pantry or cupboard.
How Long Do Canned Onions Last?
Canned onions will last 6-8 months when stored properly. Test each lid before eating them to make sure it is still tightly sealed, and discard any that have popped.
How To Use Canned Onions
There are many uses for canned onions, and you can add them to any recipe that calls for cooked.
Some of my favorite ways to use mine are to make french onion soup or stews in the winter, or stirring them into my homemade pasta sauce.
I do recommend adding them as one of the last steps. Since they’re already cooked you really only need to warm them up.
Related Post: When & How To Harvest Onions
Below are answers to some of the most common questions on canning onions.
What’s the best way to can onions?
The best and only safe way to can onions is in a pressure canner, due to their naturally low acidity. I also recommend raw packing them into the jars for the best texture.
Do you have to cook onions before canning?
No, you do not have to cook onions before canning them. In fact, leaving them raw is better in my opinion. You certainly could flash-cook them first, but it tends to make them mushier.
Can I can raw onions?
You can can raw onions, and this is my preferred method as I’ve found that hot packing makes them mushier after processing.
Can onions be water bath canned?
No, onions cannot be water bath canned. They are a low acid food, so pressure canning is the only safe method. A boiling water bath doesn’t get hot enough to kill potential bacteria.
What do canned onions taste like?
Canned onions taste like they’re cooked and slightly caramelized, so they’re milder in flavor and softer in texture than raw. They’re best enjoyed in a recipe, such as a sauce, gravy, or soup.
Can I can whole onions?
You can can whole onions as long as they are 1″ in diameter or smaller, like pearl onions or immature bulbs that didn’t grow fully in the garden. But larger ones must be cut into 2” wedges or pieces.
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More Onion Recipes
More Food Canning Posts
- How To Can Rhubarb
- How To Can Asparagus
- How To Can Peas
- How To Can Corn
- How To Can Tomatillos
- How To Can Carrots
Share your tips for canning onions in the comments section below.