Equipment Needed for Water Bath Canning | Complete List

Jelly Making Tool Kit

For canning jelly, fruit, or tomatoes using the boiling water bath canning method, here is the list of equipment that will be required. I’ll provide Amazon links to some of the key products, just in case you don’t have them:


A boiling water bath canner or any large pot that holds at least 21 quarts of water and has a canning rack capable of accommodating 7-quart or 9-pint jars. While owning a pot that was made and marketed as a boiling water bath canner is ideal if you are an avid canner, a large stock pot does a fantastic job of filling in as a canner.

Canning Rack- 

If you have a boiling water bath canner, it likely came with a canning rack. But, if using a stock pot for the boiling water bath, you will need to purchase a canning rack or use a substitute. This canning rack will fit any stock pot larger than 12 inchs in diameter. But, if you are unable to get a rack in time, you can use one of the following items:

  • A layer of used jar rings to cover the bottom of the pot.
  • A rack from another pot or cooker that fits inside the pot.
  • A cake cooling rack.
  • A metal trivet.
  • A folded kitchen towel.

Canning Tools 

If you do not already have a canning funnel, canning tongs, measurer, and lid lifter, you can buy a set of canning tools that includes all four items:

  • Bubble Tool/Measurer- A measurer is a special tool for measuring the amount of headspace at the top of your canned food.
  • Funnel A large mouth funnel or funnels are needed to pour food into the jars and help avoid spills.
  • Lid Lifter- A magnetic wand for pulling the lids from boiling water. A fork can be used to lift lids out of the water, but a lid lifter is much more efficient and safer to use.
  • Tongs- Special tongs are made for lifting and moving jars safely.


Always keep a stack of clean dishcloths handy to wipe up spills, and keep your stove and work area clean to avoid contaminating your canned food and to make cleaning up faster and easier. To prevent contamination, you will also need a separate clean dishcloth used solely for wiping the jar rims before putting the lids on.


Good canning jars are necessary for canning.

  • Quarts (32 oz) are the best size jars for fruit and tomatoes, depending on your family’s size and how much you usually cook at one time.
  • Pints (16 oz) are the most flexible size because they can be used for anything like jelly, fruit, and tomatoes. They are also perfect for vegetables, meat, soups, stock, etc., but those foods cannot safely be water bathed canned and that is the type of canning we are discussing in this article.
  • 3/4 pints (12 oz) are also very flexible because they can be used for anything that needs to be canned. They also make great gift items because they look impressive with a bit of holiday decoration.
  • Jelly Jars (8 oz) are also flexible if you normally cook small amounts, but this size along with pints and 4-ounce jars are the perfect sizes for jam and jelly. Pouring jelly into a jar larger than 16 oz greatly reduces its ability to gel properly.
  • Jelly Jars (4 oz) are perfect for jelly or salsa for folks who use less of these items, and they sit for long periods in the refrigerator.

Knife and Cutting Board- 

A sharp knife and cutting board are needed to cut up the tomatoes before cooking or preparing fruit for canning and for jam and jelly.


New jars come with lids and rings, but you can buy new lids and new lid and ring combos from Amazon and most grocery, dollar, or variety stores to use when recycling jars. Jars and rings can be recycled, but lids cannot be. There is no guarantee that recycled lids will reseal and remain sealed.


A Sharpie is handy for labeling jars with contents and the date prepared. It is convenient to write on the jar lids, but for selling or gifting, labels dress up the jars and make them more visually appealing.

Pot Holders- 

Several thick pot holders are required to handle large hot pots while canning.


  • For Sterilizing Jars- A pot or pan suitable to sterilize jars while the food is cooking. Ensure the pan is deep enough to hold at least an inch of water to boil the jars.
  • For Sterilizing Jar Lids- Use a saucepan or baking pan large enough to boil water to cover the jar lids.
  • Jam/Jelly Pot- It is necessary to use a pot made from stainless steel, coated aluminum, copper, or coated cast iron. I recommend this one from Amazon.
The new jam pot that I was gifted!


Like jars, rings can be recycled. When reusing jars, lids and rings can be bought by the dozen.


  • Slotted Spoon– A slotted spoon is needed for removing tomatoes from the boiling water when peeling.
  • Stainless Steel or Wooden Spoon- A stainless steel or wooden spoon with a long handle is required to stir the tomatoes, fruit, or jam/jelly while cooking.


A timer is a valuable tool to ensure accurate processing times.

Towel or Mat

Jelly Small Batch

Use a thick towel or mat to protect the countertop or tabletop from the hot jars of canned food while they are cooling. This creates a prepared area to allow jars to sit undisturbed for 24 hours while cooling and sealing.

Final Thoughts

This list seems like a lot, but many of these are standard items used daily in your kitchen and are not specific to canning. The good news is that the same tools are used no matter what you are canning. After you gather them for the first time canning, you can store them away until the next time you are going to do some canning.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

Anne James

Anne James has a wealth of experience in a wide array of interests and is an expert in quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, mixing drinks (bartending), and making jelly. Anne has a professional canning business, has been featured in the local newspaper as well as on the Hershey website, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is. With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass. Amazingly, she doesn’t need to reference many resources due to her vast wealth of experience. She IS the source. Anne wants nothing more than to pass on her extensive knowledge to the next generations, whether that be family or anyone visiting her website, her YouTube channel, or

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