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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Meat and Fish > Canning fish

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Meat and Fish

Canning fish

William Schafer

Meat, poultry and fish are low acid foods. They must be processed in a pressure canner to assure safety. Use the processing time and pressure (PSI) that is specified for each type of game.

Note: Individuals using a weighted-gauge canner at altitudes less than 1000 feet may use 10 PSI instead of 15 PSI for the canner pressure. This will improve nutrient and quality retention. Check with your local county extension office or Soil Conservation District for altitude information.

Canning meat and poultry

The following are some general guidelines for canning meat or poultry:

Broth may be prepared by placing bony pieces in a saucepan and covering with cold water. Simmer until meat is tender. Discard fat. Add boiling broth to containers packed with precooked meat or poultry.

Canning fish recipe

Blue, mackerel, salmon, steelhead, trout, and other fatty fish except tuna

Clean and gut fish within 2 hours after catching. Keep cleaned fish on ice until ready to can.

Note: Glass-like crystals of magnesium ammonium phosphate sometimes form in canned salmon. There is no way for the home canner to prevent these crystals from forming, but they usually dissolve when heated and are safe to eat.


  1. Remove head, tail, fins and scales. Wash and remove all blood. Split fish lengthwise, if desired.
  2. Cut cleaned fish into 3-1/2 inch lengths.
  3. Fill pint jars, skin side next to glass, leaving 1 inch headspace.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per pint, if desired. Do not add liquids.
  5. Adjust lids and process.

Recommended processes

Dial-gauge pressure canner

Pints — 100 minutes at 11 PSI
Quarts — 160 minutes at 11 PSI

Weighted-gauge pressure canner

Pints — 100 minutes at 15 PSI
Quarts — 160 minutes at 15 PSI


Canning fish in quart jars. May 2004. University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

Selecting, Preparing and Canning Meat: Fish. 2009. USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

Related resources

Revised by Suzanne Driessen 2017

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