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Canning Potatoes for Emergencies and Convenience {plus how to use canned potatoes}

image of canning potatoes

I was an teenager before I saw canned potatoes. I was at a friend’s house and her mom was quickly making dinner and I saw her open a can of potatoes and dump them in a pot to heat up. Once they were heated up, she drained the water added salt, pepper, butter and a splash of cream and she had creamed potatoes in just minutes. I knew then that canning potatoes would be in my future.

Canning potatoes is a little more involved than canning other vegetables and it’s not something I do every year but it is a great option for storing your potatoes if you don’t have a root cellar. If you have a root cellar and can store potatoes in ideal conditions they will probably last many month.

Without humidity potatoes will dry out and shrivel up in a few months so long term storage isn’t an option for me since all my storage is indoors. The years that we grow potatoes I always can some for storing. When I get a really great deal on potatoes I’ll buy extra for canning and freezing (yes, you can freeze potatoes, here’s how). 

I use these worksheets for keeping track of all my preserved food. It’s so helpful to know how much I preserve and how much we actually use each year. You can get the food preservation worksheets emailed to you by filling out the form below.

Canning Potatoes

In order to can potatoes at home you have to use a  pressure canner. There’s no fudging on this. You can’t use a water bath canner to can potatoes and just boil them for hours. This is the pressure canner I have and I’ve it; there’s no gasket to replace and it’s made in the US.

If you’ve never used a pressure canner, it can be intimidating at first but after you’ve used it a few times you’ll be comfortable with it.Here are some tips for using a pressure canner.

Like all root vegetables, you need to peel potatoes before canning them. I realize some people don’t and the first time I canned potatoes I didn’t and we all survived. However, as I’ve learned more about canning and the risks of botulism I don’t believe its worth the risk to leave the peels on.

image of potatoes boiling to make canned potatoes

Twenty pounds of potatoes will fill approximately 7 quarts.

Wash and peel the potatoes. As you peel, have a bowl of water to put the peeled potatoes in to keep them from browning. You can put some lemon juice or fruit fresh in the water if you want to. I find that plain water is just fine as long as the potatoes are submerged.

Rinse the potatoes and chop them into 2 inch chunks. You can leave small potatoes (2 inches or under) whole. Put the chopped potatoes in a large pot of fresh water on the stove. 

Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes. They should not be all the way cooked.

Heat another pot of just plain fresh water – a large tea kettle works great for this.

While the potatoes are boiling, prepare canning jars and lids by washing in hot soapy water. There is no need to pre-steriilze the jars or lids. I like to use wide mouth quart size jars for canning potatoes but sometimes I have to use regular mouth canning jars.

After 10 minutes of boiling, pour off the water and fill the jars with potatoes and pour hot water over them. Leave a 1″ head space. I’ve found that I loose more water from the jar when canning potatoes than I do when I can other things. I think it’s because I put too many potatoes in the jar. So don’t cram as many potatoes as you can in the jars and then cover them with water. Stop filling the jar with potatoes before you reach the 1″ mark and then fill the jar with water to get a 1″ head space.

Add 1/4 tsp salt to each pint and 1/2 tsp salt to each quart if you want to. I think potatoes always need salt so I do but it’s just for flavoring so if you don’t want to you don’t have to.

Put the lids and rings on the jars and put them in the prepared pressure canner. Process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes at 10psi, adjusting for altitude. I like to use reusable canning lids for canning potatoes since I don’t give them as gifts.

Canning Potatoes for Emergencies and Convenience

Canning Potatoes for Emergencies and Convenience

Canning potatoes is a little more involved than canning other vegetables and it's not something I do every year but it is a great option for storing your potatoes if you don't have a root cellar. If you have a root cellar and can store potatoes in ideal conditions they will probably last many month.

Ingredients

  • potatoes
  • salt (optional)
  • water

Instructions

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. As you peel, have a bowl of water to put the peeled potatoes in to keep them from browning. You can put some lemon juice or fruit fresh in the water if you want to. I find that plain water is just fine as long as the potatoes are submerged.
  2. Rinse the potatoes and chop them into 2 inch chunks. You can leave small potatoes (2 inches or under) whole. Put the chopped potatoes in a large pot of fresh water on the stove.
  3. Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes. They should NOT be all the way cooked.
  4. Heat another pot of just plain fresh water - a large tea kettle works great for this.
  5. While the potatoes are boiling, prepare canning jars and lids by washing in hot soapy water. There is no need to pre-steriilze the jars or lids. I like to use wide mouth quart size jars for canning potatoes but sometimes I have to use regular mouth canning jars.
  6. After 10 minutes of boiling, pour off the water and fill the jars with potatoes and our hot water over them. Leave a 1" head space.
  7. Add 1/4 tsp salt to each pint and 1/2 tsp slat to each quart if you want to.
  8. Put the lids and rings on the jars and put them in the prepared pressure canner.
  9. Process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes at 10psi, adjusting for altitude.

Notes

Home canned potatoes can be used for a wide variety of things, they can be mashed, fried, added to soups or stews.

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How to Use Canned Potatoes

Our favorite way to use canned potatoes is to make smashed baked potatoes. Basically, you put the potatoes in a bowl and barely smash them. Then put spoonfuls of them on a greased baking sheet. Brush with oil and then add salt, pepper, chives, rosemary, or any other spice you like on your potatoes. Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper, potatoes need salt and pepper. I like to use bacon grease as my oil but olive oil is good too. Bake at 400°F until the edges are crispy.

You can also make creamed potatoes by heating the potatoes then draining the water. Add butter, salt, pepper and a splash of cream or milk and stir. You can add chives or rosemary too.

Mashing canned potatoes makes for a super fast shepherd’s pie, especially if you have some cooked meat in the freezer. It’s a super cheap meal if  you also have some home canned green beans and home canned corn on hand.

You can also pour off the water from the jar and then fry the canned potato chunks in a  bit of bacon grease or oil to use as an easy side dish or mix with eggs for breakfast tacos. Or bake with some onions – truly, the possibilities are endless.

image of The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables and jars of home preserved vegetables

The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables

If you you’re looking for more preserving inspiration, I know you’ll love The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables. In this book I share how to can, dehydrate, freeze and ferment almost every vegetable. I also share 100 favorite recipes for preserving the vegetables in fun way that will save you time and money later. Get your copy here. Get your copy here.

image of potatoes for canning and canned potatoes

Have you ever had canned potatoes? How do you use them?

Thanks for sharing with your friends!

richard gunther

Thursday 22nd of July 2021

Can you use store bought potatoes for canning and what kind

Angi Schneider

Saturday 24th of July 2021

Yes, absolutely you can. This tutorial is for any "Irish" or white potato (not sweet potatoes, they require a little different preparation). Starchy potatoes like russets will tend to fall apart more than less starchy potatoes such as Yukon Gold or Red potatoes. I have a whole chapter on preserving potatoes in my book The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables which has a lot of information on the various types of potatoes.

Janet

Saturday 15th of May 2021

I have found canning my own potatoes (and even store bought) to be very handy for fixing a quick meal at home. In addition to the normal frying or mashed,and just boiled potatoes they are great for making a quick potato salad. Use your canned potatoes for everything you would as if you just washed and peeled them

Angi Schneider

Sunday 16th of May 2021

Great tips! Thanks for sharing Janet!

Deb B

Friday 18th of September 2020

JSYK I have preserved potatoes by a water bath for years with great success. The starch falls out to the bottom of the quart jars and doesn’t look so pretty but the taste is there. I put smaller raw chunks of the spud in the quarts, 1/2 teaspoon of picking salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pickling vinegar (7%) and fill with very hot water. Seal a process for three hours. I do this on the side burner of my barbecue because it takes so long., always checking to make sure the water level stays over the lids. 😋

Angi Schneider

Saturday 19th of September 2020

Thanks for sharing, Deb. I've never seen a recommendation for canning potatoes like that. Because this method is not considered a safe method by the USDA, I cannot recommend it to my readers. Of course, people can do whatever they want in their kitchens, but I teach to follow the recommendations of those who are conducting studies on these things. Pressure canners are relatively inexpensive and ensure that low acid foods are canned properly.

Sandy

Monday 14th of September 2020

I canned 50 lbs of new red potatoes, did everything you are saying. Two weeks later they look like the water is all white. Is that starch and what should I do?

Angi Schneider

Saturday 19th of September 2020

It's just starch and it's fine. That will happen to high starch vegetables such as potatoes and corn.

Lori Idol

Monday 20th of July 2020

I would like to know if you can process Sweet Potatoes the same way. I have a bushel of Sweet Potatoes and would like to be sure to preserve them.

Angi Schneider

Monday 20th of July 2020

Yes, sweet potatoes can be canned at home but the process is a little different. They have to be boiled whole first for about 15-20 minutes and then peeled and canned. Be aware that after canning, sweet potatoes are VERY soft - like mushy soft. They can still be used for things like mashed sweet potatoes, pies or adding soups but they won't stay in chunks like regular potatoes do. One thing you might try doing is freezing them. They need to be cooked until almost tender first, though. There's a whole chapter on preserving sweet potatoes in my book, The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables, that will give you step by step instructions.

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