I am wondering if it's possible to pressure can low-acid foods in my Instant Pot. Now hear me out. I know it's not recommended because the highest pressure that can be guaranteed on it is 10.2 PSI, and many low-acid foods require 15 PSI for a certain amount of time to reach the proper temperature (240-250 degrees fahrenheit, I believe). However, I have also read that killing spores is a function of temperature and time. So my question is, does anyone know if a lower temperature (possibly attainable by my Instant Pot) for a longer period of time would do? Does anyone know of a table that lists various times and temperatures a food must be held at to kill botulism spores (not bacteria)?

Additional information: I live at 4564 feet above sea level. I am most interested in canning chicken and beans. Here are the links I have found helpful in my search thus far.


In all good conscience, the only recommendations I could follow would be USDA or an equally authoritative source, and they only recommend pressure canning at a minimum of 240F. At 4000-6000 feet, that requires 13 lbs pressure for dial or 15 for weighted (as the weights are normally only 10 or 15 lbs). They make no allowances for increasing time as you can for most cooking as they will not accept killing below that temperature. Are they being overly cautious? Possibly, but they are the ones which for years have done the scientific tests.

Now, I cannot find the articles, but I do recall that a couple years ago the USDA ordered a recall of a pressure canner built similar to an instant pot. That canner was only rated to 2500 feet, and had a misleading label stating it was USDA compliant or some similar wording. It was order recalled because the USDA statements were to the effect that it had never been approved, or even submitted for testing, and further, if it had been it would have failed. That the USDA would not approve that low of a power supply as being able to maintain a consistent pressure and temperature to match what a heavy pressure canner on a stove burner can do, nor did it have a high enough heat reserve to meet those requirements.

I own both a pressure canner and an instant pot, not not for a minute would I personally think the instant pot could do the job I am afraid, and I also would not want to put that much strain on its heating element. And frankly, except for the space it takes up, my pressure canner was cheaper so would not risk the more expensive tool that is not up to the job.


According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, low-acid foods should be sterilized at temperatures of 240° to 250°F, attainable with pressure canners, operated at 10 to 15 pounds per square inch, as measured by a gauge, to destroy botulinum spores. At temperatures of 240° to 250°F, the time needed to destroy bacteria in low-acid canned food ranges from 20 to 100 minutes. The amount of time depends on the type of food, the size of the jars, and how it is packed into them. I don't have an instant pot, but I would want to be pretty certain of the exact temperature and the exact pressure if I were going to pursue pressure canning. You might find the link above helpful.

As far as I can tell, you can't do pressure canning in the instant pot. There is a product called the Instant Pot Max that comes with a home canning setting. However, both the manufacturer and the USDA have cause for concern. You can read this for more information. Basically, further testing needs to be done for them to be comfortable that it will eliminate botulinum spores.

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