Plenty of people prefer to preserve certain foods at home rather than buy them at the store. Fruits, vegetables, jellies, jams, and fermented products like pickles are the most common foods for home canning. There are several pieces of equipment used for canning food at home, including canning racks. A canning rack is a shallow rack that lifts canning jars slightly off the bottom of the pot during the process. This keeps the jars from coming into direct contact with the heated stovetop. It also ensures that the boiling water circles around and below the jar to increase heat penetration without any actually getting into the jar. If you’re looking to buy a new canning rack or two, here are a few we recommend.
What Should You Consider in Canning Racks?
Here are a few things to think about before buying a canning rack:
- Size: Canning racks come in several different sizes, usually measured in diameter since they’ll all be at least somewhat circular in shape. A diameter of 10 to 12 inches is pretty standard for a lot of canning racks. Obviously, if your canning pot is small, you’ll want a smaller canning rack to ensure it fits inside. The bigger the jars you use, the bigger the canning rack you’ll want to buy as well. Larger canning racks will obviously also hold multiple jars at once, which is especially handy if you tend to can food in large quantities. Keep in mind that the number of jars a canning rack will hold depends on the jars’ size.
- Material: Stainless steel, aluminum, plastic, silicone, and nylon are the most common materials for canning racks. Stainless steel is probably the most prevalent of these, as it’s extremely durable and doesn’t rust, so it will last for a long time. Aluminum is also quite strong and reliable as well as affordable. Plastic isn’t quite as tough as either of the metals, but it tends to be dishwasher safe and offers many interesting designs. Silicone racks are nonstick, non-cumbersome, and easy to clean either by wiping them down or putting them in the dishwasher. Nylon holds up well under high temperatures, is gentle against the canning jars, and is also easy to clean.
- Design: Even though canning racks are relatively simple items, there are a few design aspects you can look for while shopping. Handles obviously make it much easier and safer to remove canning jars from the pot, but a handle-less option can be reversible or even allow you to create multiple layers so that you can make bigger batches of canned food at once. It’s also worth considering a flat rack versus one with jar dividers. A flat rack is equally compatible with small and large jars, which is convenient if you tend to switch between the two. Meanwhile, a model with jar dividers will keep jars from bumping into each other during processing and cracking.
Best Pair: Impresa Products Two-Pack Canner Rack
If you’re someone who likes to can in very large quantities at a time, these metal canning racks will be an excellent addition to your home canning equipment. Since they’re made of tough, durable stainless steel, these racks won’t rust and are designed with dozens of small holes to prevent the moisture from building up. They’re perfect for keeping jars and cans off the bottom of pressure cookers and pressure canners alike. And since they’re a set of two, you can create multiple layers of jars or cans to can bigger batches at once and speed up the process. Both racks are 11 inches in diameter, large enough to support multiple cans and jars of most sizes, and compatible with almost all large pressure cookers and canners.
2-Pack 11-Inch Pressure Cooker Canner Rack / Canning Rack for Pressure Canner - Stainless Steel - Compatible with Presto, All-American and More - By Impresa Products
A pair of durable stainless steel canning racks for creating multiple layers of jars and cans to speed up the canning process.
Most Versatile: Roots & Branches Flat Canning Rack
This canning rack has a versatile design that is suitable for different kinds of jars and cans. The base’s flat design fits small and large jars and cans alike since there aren’t any dividers to limit the container sizes that can fit in it. Eight pint-sized or seven quart-sized jars will fit perfectly on this rack. The two handles let you lift and set down the rack in safety. Each handle is curved in one spot so that you can rest the rack on the edges of the canner or pot during the canning process. The diameter is 12 inches, and the material is stainless steel so that you don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion. A similar model with built-in jar dividers is also available for purchase.
Kitchen Crop Stainless Steel Flat Canning Rack VKP1056
A flat-bottomed, stainless steel rack with curved handles for easy lifting.
Most Compact: Progressive International Reversible Canning Rack
This round, compact canning rack won’t take up too much room in storage or in the canner, yet it still provides good support. The rack’s diameter is just over 10 inches with a 2-inch height, which means it can fit in an average 16-quart (or larger) pot or canner. The dividers are designed in a flower shape that can hold up to six jars or cans at once without them touching during the canning process, plus you could even stack another rack on top of those jars and add more. Made of anti-rust stainless steel, this rack is also reversible. One side is suitable for four quart-sized jars, and you can just flip it over to fit seven half-pint or pint jars. This model is also dishwasher safe for your convenience.
Prepworks by Progressive Reversible Stainless Steel Canning Rack
A round and reversible canning rack with a flower design in a conveniently compact size.
Best Non-Metal Option: Farm to Table Dual Canning Rack
If you prefer a canning rack made of a softer material than metal, consider this nylon model. Unlike metal racks, you’ll never have to worry about the nylon material growing too hot to the touch or having to use oven mitts to lift it out. It also won’t ever rust, is BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and heat resistant. With an 11.5-inch diameter and 2 inches tall, this rack will fit in most large stockpots. It has slots for up to seven jars, which will not only elevate the jars or cans off the bottom of the cooker but prevent glass jars from banging together and breaking. This rack can securely hold four quart-sized or seven pint-sized jars.
Farm to Table Dual Canning Rack, Nylon, Quart or Pint Sizes
A BPA-free, dishwasher-safe nylon canning rack that won't grow hot to the touch like metal models.