Grandma’s Method of Canning Sausage

***DISCLAIMER*** Let me start by saying – No book will tell you to can sausage this way, but an 80 yr old Grandma in Southern VA will gladly show you “how her Mama done it”….  And if you post a picture on social media (in certain groups) be prepared for the backlash of – you can’t do that!!!  All I can say, is my family has done this for generations and no one has gotten sick or anything else from canning sausage.  I’m well aware of  the health cautions/concerns and that this may not be a USDA approved method….but….This is how we do it, it works, if done as instructed it’s safe and if I had one ounce of doubt, I wouldn’t dare do it….

There is no secret – but there is a key – you MUST cook your sausage completely done before canning.

Turn the oven on 200 degrees and place the jars in the oven for heating.

Roll out the raw sausage into patties and “do the math”.   Ask yourself – How many patties will my crowd eat at one sitting?  That’s how many you want to put in one jar.  And that’s the number you want to use while cooking to make sure you cook enough each time to evenly fill your jars.  At my house, the magic number is 5 and 5 fits nicely in a pint jar.  I prefer pints, I don’t see any reason why you can’t use quarts.  You’ll notice in the picture below we have 15 patties cooking which means I have a minimum of 3 jars in the oven and 3 lids boiling.  I boil my lids as I go since all of the patties don’t get done at the same time.


One pound of sausage will average 1-2 pint jars, depending on how many patties you add per jar and how big you make the patties, etc.

Fry the sausage thoroughly like you’re going to eat it – right then.  Pack your magic number (serving size) into a HOT, wide-mouth, pint jar and pour the grease over the sausage.  Usually an inch or so of grease will do, there’s no magic measurement, we just use the grease from the pan and it always seems to be enough.

Wipe the rim of the jars really good!  Place a hot lid and ring on top, tighten down the lid and carefully flip it over.  Be sure to use an oven mitt, because these babies are hot!


Now – cover with a towel and let them sit.  This is known as “Upside Down Sealing” and is often used with cured meats, jams and jellies.   The grease from the sausage will harden and help the jar seal.  The below picture is the morning after.  I store mine upside down, rings on them just like pictured.  When I’m ready to heat and serve, I pop the seal, toss the lid and heat the glass jar in the microwave for 1 minute to dissolve the grease.  Then we heat the sausage up in a cast iron pan for just a few minutes.  This makes breakfast a snap! Add the hubby’s homemade biscuits and I think I’ve taken a trip down memory lane! YUM!


Many have asked what’s the shelf life for sausage – good question.  We try to can enough sausage for one year.  I have growing boys so this takes 50-60 lbs and we average running out right before “hog season”.  My grandma kept it a couple of years.  This is where you need to use your own judgment.  Enjoy and happy canning!

57 thoughts on “Grandma’s Method of Canning Sausage

  1. Larry Cobb February 24, 2017 at 8:30 am Reply

    When I was a child mother canned sausage the same way,i saw her keep some for 3 years and were still good

    Liked by 1 person

  2. umstetter May 30, 2017 at 2:00 am Reply

    Can on Rebel Canners!! It’s amazing how much you can can if you throw away “UDSA approval” and follow EXACTLY how the old folks do it. If canning is so “dangerous”, why aren’t the millions of grandmas, Amish and Mennonite families dead? If those canning practices were “unsafe”, the USDA would have shut them down by now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Beadle March 18, 2020 at 10:01 am Reply

      I appreciate this information so much. I preserve most of the foods we eat. My Grandma canned sausage balls this way.
      Sadly, her daughter moved into the homestead. Canning not her life. She was clearing things out. Came to Grandma’s cookbook drawer. Those cookbooks were dirty to her and she THREW THEM ALL AWAY. 😳😳😳
      As a family we were devastated.
      Doing this method today. Thank you so much!!!


  3. Anne July 1, 2017 at 12:31 pm Reply

    Do you think this would work with hamburger patties?


    • Preserving the Good Life July 5, 2017 at 5:49 pm Reply

      No, the salt in the sausage helps preserve it. You don’t have that salt in the ground beef. I would try canning the patties like we do the ground beef.


  4. umstetter July 17, 2017 at 11:13 am Reply

    I raw, dry pack my hamburger – that is I pack it into pint jars, leaving 1 1/2″ headroom. Wipe rim with vinegar on paper towel, slap a hot lid on it and PC for 75 mins at 11lbs pressure (I’m under 2000ft, but over 1000ft) adjust for your altitude. A pint will usually hold about 1lb of meat. I don’t use salt or other seasoning in the meat, just straight from the package to the jar. When I’m ready to eat it, I remove the lid, warm the jar in the microwave to melt the fat, drain the fat and meat juices from the jar into another container that I keep for meat drippings for broth (freezer). I can then do whatever I want with the meat – tacos, chili, sloppy joes, etc or slice into 4 hamburgers, and put on buns. It only takes a few minutes to heat the meat up in a pan or microwave.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sheri December 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm Reply

    This is how we can our sausage as well.
    And we are also in Southern VA…
    Have not had an issue yet…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Deidre J Sowerby May 20, 2018 at 10:05 am Reply

    I am SO happy to see this!!! Lord I catch more flack from this lol


  7. Beth Durham June 4, 2018 at 10:20 am Reply

    My Middle Tennessee Grandma taught me the same thing. I hadn’t had any in years and a fella at church shared a jar with me a few months ago so I was just sharing the story on my history blog ( and saw your recipe while researching whether you could can it without a self-sealing lid. Have you ever tried that? You know, like in the old crocks?


    • Preserving the Good Life June 8, 2018 at 11:34 am Reply

      I’ve never tried canning it that way….you’ve given me something to research and think about.


  8. Carla H July 19, 2018 at 9:15 am Reply

    Do you know if this would wotk using frozen sausage (cooked) and lard? Don’t currently make my own sausage as just two of us.


  9. Robert September 22, 2018 at 10:26 pm Reply

    I’m so thankful I found this way to can sausage, I do canning and I know my mother used to do it that way too, she raised 8 kids none of us got sick from eating sausage canned this way. Thank You again for sharing.Robert M.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Judy Morgan December 22, 2018 at 2:18 pm Reply

    Thank you. That is the way we had it growing up and I am 73 years old.


  11. Linda June 7, 2019 at 11:32 am Reply

    My mother served can sausage with chunks of potatoes and a white sauce. It was delicious.


  12. Patricia Miller August 22, 2019 at 9:33 am Reply

    My mom has said her mom used to can sausage and that it was the best. She would make sausage gravy with it. She never told me how she canned it,but I figure she done it this way. Thanks so much!


  13. Patty Dubree September 14, 2019 at 9:03 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing. My aunt always canned their sausage patties this way and no one ever got sick.


  14. Richard November 20, 2019 at 10:11 pm Reply

    My family has been canning Italian sausage like this for generations. We still place 5 day dried sausage & seasoned eggplant in crocs & cover with lard. Clean living


  15. Michelle Whits November 24, 2019 at 7:53 am Reply

    What do I do if I run out of grease? Add more? What kind?


    • Preserving the Good Life January 13, 2020 at 8:05 am Reply

      I typically cook enough for 1 jar in 1 pan so I can use that grease for that jar. If you continue to run out of grease, you may need to try a sausage with more fat so it will make more grease.


  16. Teresa Oakes December 18, 2019 at 2:45 pm Reply

    My dad says he thinks this is the way his mom did it to


  17. karen Carroll February 29, 2020 at 10:13 am Reply

    It is important to turn the jars upside down when canning.
    This is known as “Upside Down Sealing” and is often used with cured meats, jams and jellies. The grease from the sausage will harden and help the jar seal. The below picture is the morning after.


    • Twylla Francis September 11, 2020 at 10:20 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing. I have done this before years ago with my uncle giving me instruction. He is gone now and I couldn’t remember all the details. Thanks again.


  18. terry helton April 25, 2020 at 11:55 am Reply

    I remember my parents canning sausage this way, but they would take some out of the jar and out the lid back on and eat the rest later. Is this safe or not?


  19. Brenda Thomas May 14, 2020 at 3:13 pm Reply

    Can you can crumbled sausage like this for gravy?


  20. Darren May 20, 2020 at 11:35 am Reply

    Back to my childhood…You have taken me back to a place that I thought was gone. My childhood. Thanks, we will be trying this.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Cheryl Bailey July 17, 2020 at 6:07 pm Reply

    Doing this again, just wanted to let you know THIS IS A LIFE SAVER!! I always have ready to go sauage on hand, no matter who is hungry or what the hour. Thank you for sharing a family speical.


  22. donna August 4, 2020 at 8:42 pm Reply

    so glad too find this recipe for my dad he will be 76 this sunday he wanted this recipe like grandma used to make and he said she also put it in a crock in the cellar. Thanks


  23. Peggy Slagle August 13, 2020 at 3:47 pm Reply

    This was the way I was taught. Never got sick. Will still do it this way. Thank you for sharing. I do love the old ways.


  24. Rita Nicklas August 31, 2020 at 10:21 am Reply

    I used to can it this way in the early 70’s and it stayed delicious for a long time. Certainly not as long as it could because we ate it up quickly.

    I am going back to this method but alas the sausage my brother gives us is very lean, thus not enough to pour over sausage to seal the jar. Can I use clean bacon grease or good lard to pour over and seal?


    • Preserving the Good Life August 31, 2020 at 10:23 am Reply

      I would try Lard. I’m afraid if you used Bacon it would change the flavor of the Sausage.


      • Cathy Selby June 8, 2022 at 6:33 pm

        I’d think bacon would change the flavor, for the enhancement! 😉


  25. Rita Nicklas August 31, 2020 at 11:21 am Reply

    Thank you. Was thinking that may he the case. Now to get the ‘good’ lard


  26. Sharon Garlitz October 17, 2020 at 12:04 am Reply

    My Mother & Grandma both canned sausage this way & I continue to can it this way! I’m still here to tell about it.


  27. ziggy110266 October 22, 2020 at 7:57 am Reply

    SO glad I found this!!!! I’m 53 years old and my grandmother and my aunt done this with casing sausage the same way when I was a little boy. I never paid any attention back then but have grown to regret it. My grandmother and my aunt always called it fried down sausage. And also done this with shredded beef from our home canning and slaughtering. The message of canning was called upside down canning by them. Thank you so much for this I am definitely gonna try it. I know that they kept this for a year or 2 and nobody ever got sick.


  28. ziggy110266 October 22, 2020 at 8:04 am Reply

    Oops…..mention method NOT message….dang talk to text…lol


  29. ziggy110266 October 22, 2020 at 8:06 am Reply

    Dang I ment to say MENT not MENTION….ARRRRRRGGGGG


  30. Cynthia Morgan December 28, 2020 at 3:28 pm Reply

    I’m thinking this would work with generously salted ground beef as well. It can always be used in a recipe with other ingredients to lessen the salty taste. I often do that with my salt-fermented vegetables.


  31. Edith Barrett January 21, 2021 at 7:05 am Reply

    Growing up in SW Virginia, this is the way my granny taught me. Now I live in Maryland and everyone looked at me like I was insane when I mentioned this method. Thank you for the “proof” I needed to show my memories weren’t just the the result of too much Mad Dog 20/20 during my teenage years 😜


  32. Bob Plants February 12, 2021 at 3:12 pm Reply

    You can use lard if you have lean sausage and not enough grease. In fact, I usually just melt lard in a crock pot on high and ladle it into jar before flipping. Learned this method growing up in West Virginia. Only way to can sausage and have it taste as good as the day it was fried! This is the only other place I have ever seen it written down, most do think its crazy!


  33. Virgie B May 18, 2021 at 8:58 am Reply

    My Mom told me that my Great Aunt canned her sausage this way. She said it was delicious. I have been canning for a few years and I am trying to find new canning recipes. I will be trying this, since my husband and I eat a lot of sausage patties. We use a lot of crumbled sausage for gravy, also. Love the old ways. People don’t use common sense. They just listen to the people that think they all about canning. Our pioneer relatives didn’t have REFRIGERATORS & FREEZERS years ago, so they had to know how to preserve the food they hunted, raised or grew. They knew how to preserve just about anything they eat, including dairy, meat, etc. Wish I know more of the old ways to Pressure Can. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. The-Brennans July 9, 2021 at 1:07 pm Reply

    Thank you for this. Could I do this with sausage links? And do i need to use the 2 part lids if not pressure canning, those 2 part lids are very expensive in Europe!


    • Preserving the Good Life July 18, 2021 at 6:08 pm Reply

      I have never done it with sausage links, I’d be afraid that there wouldn’t be enough grease to make it seal.


  35. Ocean babe August 11, 2021 at 8:06 am Reply

    Can you store this in pantry or refrigerator? Newbie to canning and books dont show this method and grandma lost her mind to dementia.


  36. Odella Blair September 4, 2021 at 10:37 pm Reply

    I didn’t have enough grease and added Crisco oil but it hasn’t hardened . Is this safe? What should I do ? Reheat and add lard? Help!


    • Preserving the Good Life September 7, 2021 at 7:45 am Reply

      I have never substituted Crisco Oil so I would be afraid to say that it was safe. My grandmother did add lard to her sausage when cooking it if it was too lean to produce enough grease.


  37. Hugh lewis October 22, 2021 at 11:56 am Reply

    Do you thank if sausage has been frozen you can thaw it out and can it the way you’re grandma did in jars it raw never been cooked thanks


  38. Diane Sheehy January 7, 2022 at 12:22 pm Reply

    I know I’m late to the responses.But I have to thank you for this canning tip! My past didn’t include a canning Grandma. The last question answered my problem with the grease-less sausage meat. Again thank you!!!


  39. Maureen June 9, 2022 at 1:21 pm Reply

    wonder if there would be any way to preserve bacon slices with this method? I have a freezer full of processed, sliced bacon. I would love to know the best way to preserve it this way. Is it possible?


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