Canning ground beef (taco)

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Assistant Cook
Aug 31, 2022
Hi - I saw a couple of videos about canning ground beef with taco seasoning added. The ground beef was mostly cooked, like the raw pack method, but no water was added to the jars in any of the videos I saw about this. Reading USDA about canning ground beef, you are supposed to add liquid to your cans. Is it necessary to add liquid? I do worry making the taco meat with all that liquid may not taste so good.....I know I shouldn't listen so much to videos but I have seen several (ones that I consider pretty experienced canners), so wondered if it was safe to omit the liquid with taco meat? I did read a chile con carne from the USDA that didn't have added liquid but the had 2 quarts of diced tomatoes in it...which does have "some" liquid but not enough to cover maybe "some" liquid would be the answer, but not to the one inch...Thoughts?
I would just add the liquid and play it safe. When it's time to use the taco meat, you can reduce the liquid and then you won't lose any of the flavours. You are supposed to boil home canned, low acid foods before using them in any case, for safety. So, just boil them as directed and simmer or boil until the liquid is evaporated.
If you did a raw pack with hamburger then the jar would have the juices and fat fill it once pressure canned. The fat can cause sealing problems and usually, they are removed before canning by adding water, refrigerating, then taking the solid fat out. The only way that canning works is if there is enough liquid to move the heat in the canner to the middle of each jar. This is a density issue, the solids not moving because there's not enough liquid, and the inside middle of each can won't reach the desired temperature.

I don't see adding spices being a problem but sometimes people say that the spices lose potency and are sometimes bitter.

When the hamburger with or without seasoning and some water is canned, it should cover the meat. 1/2 full with liquid is not enough for long term storage. 3/4ths full of liquid and above is okay for long term storage. I would and have canned with liquid at the 1 inch headspace mark.
Good luck though.
I personally wouldn't trust general internet sources for canning. County extension, USDA, Ball Blue book and other pro sorts of sources only.

It seems I weigh the risks differently than you.
Thank you. I do worry about the risks, that is why I'm asking the question here. I'm newer to canning and read that you can change up recipes as long as following the ingredients canning guidelines. Regarding the liquid in canning meats, this is very new to me. I just started to test the waters with canning meat. I'm actually overly paranoid. Many times after I eat my canned food, I go into panic mode that I forgot a step, etc and that I'm going to get my family sick by accident.
Thank you taxlady & Blissful. I think I'll stick with adding the water to the cans. I was leaning to feeling like I should add the water but the USDA chili con carne recipe made me question, thinking, well, maybe it's okay with no water, or maybe just a little. I will stick to adding water to the 1 inch headspace and keep it safe. Thank you for the tips in cooking the taco meat after I open the canned food. I really appreciate it.

I'm playing around with canning hot packed chicken and stew meat today :)

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