How to Sterilize Jars for Canning

by Megan Coates

A quick guide to get you started!


  • 1 Large pot
  • Glass canning jars w/lids & rings
  • Soap and water
  • Tongs
  • 2 Clean kitchen towels
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    Proper sterilization of your jars, lids, and rings is the first step to successful canning of fruits, veggies, and homemade jams, jellies, and preserves.

    Step 2

    For a newbie, the whole process can be overwhelming! Never fear, this guide will have you on the road to canning in no time!

    Step 3

    These are Mason jars. They come in various sizes. Pictured above are 8 oz., 12 oz., and 32 oz. jars. You can also find smaller (4 oz.) jars.

    Step 4

    First, wash your jars, rings, and lids in hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly also in hot water.

    Step 5

    All clean!

    Step 6

    Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place several jars, rings, or lids in the pot making sure they are completely submerged in the boiling water.

    Step 7

    Try to have at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water covering the jars while they boil.

    Step 8

    Allow your jars and their accessories to boil for at least 10 minutes.

    Step 9

    Using tongs, CAREFULLY remove your very hot jars, lids, or rings from the water. Special tongs with rubberized grips or a basket can be purchased to do this, but plain tongs work, too.

    Step 10

    Place your jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel to allow any water to drain out. Lay lids and rings out to dry individually.

    Step 11

    Repeat steps 6-10 if needed to sterilize all your jars. Otherwise, you're done and well on your way to canning!