Canning on Glass Stovetops and Canners for Glass and
- updated for 2016
If you have a glass or ceramic stovetop, you may have heard that you
should use a flat-bottomed canner, but you have been unable to find one! Or,
you may have heard that you are not supposed to can on a glass or ceramic
stove top. Here's what I've found out from the manufacturers:
One of my suppliers asked a stove manufacturer as to why they were unable to
find one. The stove manufacturer told they that on a glass/ceramic stove
there is a sensor so that the heat (in the glass) cannot go above a certain
point thus breaking the top.
This sensor does not allow the burner to maintain an even temperature
high enough for certain canners (those without flat bottoms, or otherwise
not recommended by the manufacturer of the stove) to work safely. By
fluctuating the temperature the bacteria is not eliminated in the canning
process. Unfortunately this is not something the salesmen will tell the
customer when they are buying the stove and probably many of them are
unaware of this.
A flat-bottomed canner alone would not solve this problem
for all stovetops. If yours has the sensor, the heat will still
fluctuate and it won't get hot enough to get the big canner full of water to
a full boil. If can can confirm with your stove's maker or the store where
you bought it that a flat-bottomed canner is okay, there here's a great one,
made of stainless steel, so it should last a lifetime - it would also make a
great pot to cook applesauce.
Specific issues and tips:
- The pot must not be more than 1 inch wider that the heating
element. Another problem is that canners that exceed the burner
diameter by more than 1 inch can trap and reflect heat to surfaces of
the stove that are not intended to get that hot, and thus crack the
stove top. The damage can range from discoloration of white tops to
actual burner damage to cracking of the glass tops to fusion of the
metal to the glass top. FYI, the typical canner has a bottom diameter
of 12 inches.
- Avoid dragging. Scratching of the stove surface can
occur if the canner is slid or pulled across the cooktop. This often
happens with large, heavy filled canners, so people need to be careful.
- Auto-shutoffs prevent sufficient heating with
non-flat-bottomed pots and canners . As mentioned above, many
of these cooktops have automatic cut-offs on their burners when heat in
the glass gets excessive. If that option is built in, and the burner
under a canner shuts off during the process time, then the product will
be underprocessed and cannot be salvaged as a canned food. This is more
of a problem with pots that do not have flat bottoms. The process time
must be continuous at the intended temperature, or microorganisms may
survive. Also, if the pressure drops quickly, most likely liquid and
maybe even food will be lost from the jar (it will spill over from the
area of higher pressure inside the jar to the lower pressure now in the
canner around the jar).
- Use flat-bottomed canners. Even if boiling water
canning is approved by the manufacturer, it may be necessary to fashion
your own canner out of a very large flat-bottomed (smooth) stockpot with
a bottom rack inserted. Many canners do not have flat enough bottoms to
work well on a smooth cooktop to be able to maintain a full boil over
the tops of the jars. The pot used as a canner must also be large enough
to have lots of water boiling freely around the jars, and at least 1
inch over the tops of jars. If the canner is too small, then it starts
boiling faster than expected and the total required heat the jars
receive in the canner even before the process time begins can be too
- Check your stoves manual and directions - Each
manufacturer has different conditions for canning. It may be possible
on your stove, or it may void the warranty. See the
guidance specific to certain stoves!
In summary, some smooth cooktop manufacturers
say do not can on them, while others who say it is okay add stipulations on
the diameter of the canner compared to the diameter of the burner. Boiling
water or pressure canners may not be available that meet the maximum
diameter pot they allow. All agree that the canners must be flat bottomed.
If you have a ceramic or glass stovetop and still have the
manual, look it up there. If you will write me with the make, model
and and specific warnings in the manual about canning, I'll add that to the
bottom of this page, as a resource.
This smooth-bottomed canner (below) is recommended for many glass and
ceramic stovetops (click on the box to see the reviews on Amazon).
What to do?
Now, having said all this, not ALL glass and ceramic stoves are identical
in every respect, so it is always possible that yours is designed
differently or behaves differently from the description above. But there are
enough stories of cracked stovetops to suggest that regardless, an
alternative might be prudent, unless you're sure it is compatible with your
So, what can you do? Here is a simple solution: buy a simple and
inexpensive propane campstove, an electric burner (shown below) or use an
outdoor propane burner and you can use ANY canner with it. Plus, the
propane burners may come in handy when you have a lot of cooking to do,
during a power outage or when you need and extra burner! One big
advantage to using a gas stove outside, is: there's no mess to clean up!
I also just received this tip from a visitor: she puts a wire rack (like
a cookie rack) on the stove and sets her canner on that. That prevent
glass stovetop form heating up too much that it shuts itself off.
See this page
for more information.
How to choose an electric burner? I look for a robust design and the
highest wattage I can find. A single 1000 watt burner doesn't do it. A
canner holds around 16 quarts of water, so it takes a lot of heat to get
that boiling. I've found that one 1300 watt burner will get the
average canner boiling,
but it takes a while. So... to speed it
up, I got a second burner, put it on the counter, right next to the first
and put the canner on top, straddling both burns - and THAT worked like a
Gas grills, turkey fryers, large camping stoves all make excellent
outdoor alternatives. Of course there are two keys: make sure it has
enough oomph (measured in BTU's) and that it is stable and won't tip over.
I've found any turkey fryer, most gas grills and the camping stoves below
work fine. Of course, most of those must be use outside. On rainy days I use
the camping stove indoors (after taking precautions to open some windows,
locate it on a flameproof surface (granite counter top, away from anything
flammable, where children can't reach it, never leave it unattended, etc.)
The Camp Chef Explorer 2 (see photo at right and
Amazon box below) is nearly perfect! It produces plenty of heat, is
waist high, has two burners so you can run two canners or 1 canner and cook
on the other! I have one and use it for all my canning. It leaves my stove
in the kitchen free for cooking, so I can do twice as much canning in half
the time with two canners going. It produces SO much heat, that it can
easily keep two canners at a full boil in any weather. And here's how you
sell it to your hubby: The legs are removable, so you can easily put it in
the trunk of your car and use it for camping and tailgate parties before the
football game, or use it as a tabletop stove! And it is perfect for cooking
when there is a power outage! I've been using mine for 3 years now.
I've seen the 3 burner version is being sold in April - June in COstco.
See below for some camping stoves I've tried and used for canning.
Here's a summary of what definitely works, in my order of preference:
- The outdoor gas stove - great in nice weather, or in bad
weather, in an open,
but roofed area, like screen porch, open garage, etc.! Examples: Bayou Classic Single Gas Burner
(click here or scroll down the page)
Or the Camp Chef Explorer (click here
or see above) which has legs, so there is no bending over.
- The Coleman camping stove (Coleman 2 Burner Propane Grill /Stove,
is perfect for supervised indoor use! It can heat a canner in no time, and folds up neatly for
storage. The canner fits easily on the grill portion. This is, in my
opinion, the BEST solution. And, of course you can use it for camping
and tailgating parties! Scoll down the page to see it.
- A gas camping burner or countertop propane stoves
(click here) with a low,
stable profile can be a great spare high-power burner. But if you do a
lot of canning, the outdoor cooker (see #1 above) would be cheaper to operate, unless
you use the converter to hook up tp a 20 lb tank..
- One double burner unit.
Click here to see one. Lots of power, but it can be tricky
to get some canners (the tall narrow ones) to balance and be stable on
them) See examples further down the page.
- Two 1300 watt burners - if you want to stay indoors - two of
these, side by side will work!
Click here to see some!
- Two 1000 watt or greater burners, side by side - since you
can move them around it is both a plus and a negative - you can position
them to be stable, but perhaps not a close together as the double unit.
And you can find a wide variety of
water bath canners and other
canning supplies on this page
Comments from a visitor on July 16,
"My solution to canning on a ceramic stove top: I have a clad cuisinart
stock pot that heats well on the stove. I purchased a sheet of metal with a
design in it (so there are holes), cut it with tin snips to fit the pot,
lined the bottom of the stock put with canning rings (to give elevation) and
then placed the metal on the rings. This made a nice canning rack to use in
a pot I knew would boil on the range top. The only problem is I can only can
1/2 pints because the pot isn't not tall enough. I know you have to cover
jars with 1" of water, but to do you have to keep the lid on the "canner"
Canning stove alternatives
To find out more about a stove (with no obligation to buy), just click on
any of the links in the Amazon picture boxes below: