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. 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 .

    • Kathy, you will never go back to the boiling cauldron of water after you have tried this method! (Just remember that anything with plastic will still need to be boiled.)

    • I tried the oven method of sterilizing the jars the other day for some crabapple jelly. Soooo much better and easier!!! Thanks for the tip!!

  3. http://Kristen says

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

  4. http://pj%20Brown says

    I put them in the dishwasher, use rinse cycle!

  5. http://pj%20Brown says

    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!

  6. http://Janet%20L%20Brooks 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. http://Kim%20Millholen 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. http://Grace says

    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. http://Susan%20Adam says

    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.

    • Yes, that is a very important distinction, Karla! Sterilizing is one thing, canning is very much another. Thanks for pointing that out.

  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. http://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!

  13. Side question: what kind and size baking pan is in the picture?

  14. My mom taught me the oven method..I;ve used for fruit cocktail, peaches, pears, tomatoes…

  15. http://Lisa says

    I grew up using this method and still use it today. Less chance of scalding yourself and it has never let me down.

  16. http://masharp says

    I have used the oven to sterilize jars for years. I do use hot water for the lids and rings. I also start my next batch of jars that go in the pressure canner by putting what i am canning in my oven sterilized and putting the filled jars back in the oven to expedite the process. By putting the hot jars from the oven into the hot canner it takes less time to bring up the pressure. Just make sure both the jars and water in the canner is hot as not to break the jars.

  17. I actually just read a post that said sterilization of jars is no longer thought of as necessary because they get sterilized enough in the processing, water bath or pressure cooker. That the only reason people still heat their jars is to prepare them to accept hot foods without breaking. I like to error on the side of caution and I will use your oven method for my jars and rings in the future. I had never heard of the oven method so thank you for sharing. I use to can when I was younger but with work, kids, life I just haven’t had the time and I am getting back into canning for the first time in 25 years. Hopefully I won’t kill my family with canning. Again Thank You!

    • That’s interesting information, Kristy, guidelines always seem to be changing don’t they! Like you, I would rather err on the side of caution, and this is so simple so also will conto do it. Happy Canning!

  18. http://Katrina says

    Jars, lids, rings only need to be washed in warm soapy water, jars heated to help prevent thermal shock (jars breaking) if processing in boiling water at for 10 minutes or more. Unless your air is also sterile sealed off clean room and you wear a hazmat your jars will never be sterile once removed from the boiling water or a hot oven.

    The other issue is the manufacturer of the jars specifically state not to put them into the oven they are not tempered for dry heat doing so your risking the jars prematurely breaking or even worse exploding and riddling you skin with hot glass shrapnel while removing from the oven. Lids do not need to be heated since before 1970s just washed with warm soapy water. Heating them up especially with boiling water can compromise it’s sealing ability both immediately after canning or at some point during the shelf life it could prematurely unseal.

    Mainly jams/jellies and juices have 5 minute processing time however you can safely bump that upto 10 minutes without any noticeable affect on the quality of the end product doing so removed the need to preboil the jars for the set 10 minutes and in turn take away the extra set simplifying canning while still remaining safe. For waterbath since you need to heat water anyways put jars in and bring to a simmer while cooking/prepping your product for canning proceed to fill jars matching hot product to hot jars and hot water or cold product to cold jars and warm water to avoid jars breaking

  19. http://Yasha says

    You do realize that the jars are NOT tempered for dry heat, right? Don’t believe me? Look at the box … says it right on it. Says it on the manufacturer’s website as well. Dry heat can cause cracks and/or small fissures in the glass resulting in jars shattering during processing or tiny slivers of glass to end up in your food.

    Heating the flats and rings? One, it weakens the seal on the flats. Manufacturer’s dont use the same materials they used to years ago when you had to boil lids. Now, heating the seal before putting them on the jars can cause seal failure.

    Please, please, PLEASE follow instructions and safety precautions! Your life and the lives of those you love are not worth risking to “save” a step or keep your kitchen “less messy” by following unsafe practices!

  20. http://Kathleen%20Hanford says

    I never understood why thoroughly washed jars have to be sterilized! You are putting them in boiling water or a pressure canner to thoroughly cook the food inside to kill bacteria, so why sterilize the jars first?


  1. […] 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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