How to Sterilize Jars in the Oven

I love the fall, it is possibly my favourite seasons.  The hustle and bustle of summer travel, day trips, guests and non-stop entertaining has settled down.  After a carefree summer, we are now getting back into a routine and starting to prepare for the coming winter.  Like the autumn of the year, life seems to be slowing down.

For many, part of the winter preparation including preserving the fruits of our labour. In my case, it would be the fruits of someone else’s labour, that I was given or happily discovered at a local Farmer’s Market!

My dilemma is in the preparation of the canning jars and lids;  do I sterilize them in a pot of boiling water (messy & tedious) or in the oven (clean & easy)?

In the past I have sterilized my canning jars, lids, rings and related supplies in the oven.  But, I thought I read somewhere that method was not safe, so for the past few years I sterilized in the big, messy cauldron of boiling water!

This year, I couldn’t bear the thought of that boiling mess and the fishing out of dripping wet bottles, lids and accessories.  So, I Googled proper jar preparation for canning and found this!

It is from Kraft Foods, and although they are referring to jam, to me sterilization is sterilization.   I trust the information they have printed,  and this year I went back to the clean and easy oven method!


I have included directions for both methods, you choose which you prefer, for me it is now the oven every time!

Sterilization Methods:

It’s important to sterilize jars, lids and filling utensils to prevent mould.

Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse well. Then:

“You can pre-sterilize jars & lids by using one of two methods:

  1. Sterilize all jars, lids and filling equipment in a 225ºF oven for 10 minutes, then keep in the oven, with heat turned off, until needed so they stay warm.
  2. Sterilize all jars, lids and filling equipment in boiling water for 15 minutes and keep warm.

Use tempered glass jars with two-piece lids, not leftover pickle or baby food jars. For more than twenty years General Foods Kitchens, now Kraft Kitchens, have successfully pre-sterilized and hot-filled jars for a large number of cooked jams, jellies, relishes, chutneys, marmalades and conserves. Both methods are equally effective at preventing mould growth. (Sterilization Methods – Source:  Kraft Foods)”

(Remember, if any of your canning supplies are not oven safe they will  have to be sterilized using the boiling water method.)

Do you preserve foods and make pickles, relishes, jams, etc?

How do you sterilize your jars?

Do you trust the oven method?



  1. Like you, I used to go the Hot Water Route, but for the past few years have put my jars in the oven. I did however use the hot water for lids as I did not know if the rubber would be oven safe….. now I know. I am a full believer in “easy” and “safe”. Way to go!

  2. Oak Lawn Images says:

    I always did the messy boiling route, but that oven method looks so much more inviting. I still have a large bottle of fresh flowering crabapple juice to be made into jelly. Can’t wait to try this new method .

  3. So glad I found this! Thank you. Trying with my pepper jelly today!

  4. I put them in the dishwasher, use rinse cycle!

  5. Here is the link for the recipe where I got the tip. I assume it works, lol, how can you tell? Actually, I did a whole wash cycle since I had dirty dishes too. They were squeaky clean and Hot!

    • Now that was dumb, forgot the link.

  6. Janet L Brooks says:

    Laugh completely OUTLOUD!!!!! I am busy in my kitchen, needing to make some pickles and of course having to sterilize jars. I quickly went to Pintrest, clicked the method that looked the best , read the first part, and the method, and thought I love how this is presented. Then looked at the comments and thought a few names looked familiar!!!! So funny …… Thank you for making my day!!! I love you all and miss you. I must pay closer attention to my computer and all of your blogs!!! Janet

    • That is too funny Janet! What are the chances of you stumbling upon my post? We all miss you too and look forward to seeing you sometime soon! Have fun with your pickle making.


  7. Kim Millholen says:

    I need to make apple cider jelly for gifts and was intimidated by the boiling sterilization method, thank you for this much better tip. This is my first time making jelly, I can store these on the shelf in the pantry, correct?

    • It certainly is much easier than all the boiling paraphernalia! As long as the jelly is processed (not a freezer version) you should be able to store it in the pantry. It should also tell you in the recipe how to store the jelly. I have never made jelly, but would love to give it a try!

  8. OMG I have been canning for years and always done the boiling water and sometimes the dishwasher but the oven looks so much easier and less work..THANK YOU THANK YOU

  9. I’ve been doing oven sterilization for years! I love the ease and have never had a problem.

  10. I think this is a great idea. The big debate over oven vs boiling water is actually in the canning process itself, not the sterilization. Some people try to can their produce in the oven, which apparently isn’t safe. Just a little FYI.

  11. Sterilizing in the oven is the easiest thing ever. Because it is so easy, I am able to do several different things in one day. Today I made sweet pickle relish, strawberry jam, spicy red pepper jelly, and I am about to make some jalepeno jelly from a ton of jalapenos I have out in the front of the house in pots. Tomorrow after work, pickled beets. Love love love the convenience of oven sterilization.

    • Hi Mary, I apologize for my tardy response, I have been away on vacation. I love sterilizing jars in the oven, it is so simple…no muss, no fuss! Wow, you’re on on canning marathon and everything sounds so good, pickled beets are my favourite!

  12. Charlene says:

    Maybe if you’re not going to hot process, this would give an advantage…. but if you are going to hot process jars for shelf stability anyway, why is is such a big deal to also sterilize the jars in boiling water… you have a big pot of water going anyway.

    I just finished a jam-making party, and found that the way it worked out, we sterilized the jars in the boiling water in the same amount of time it took to cook the jam. We filled them and hot processed while we were getting together the next batch. I thought it all worked out just fine!


  1. Lessons in Canning 101 – Pickled Beets #FallHarvest with @DownshiftingPRO ~ DownshiftingPRO says:

    […] to share one with you if you don’t really like to boil the jars: from Older Mummy Still Yummy, sterilizes her jars in the OVEN.  Genius when you think about it and much […]

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