This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.

Altitude Adjustments for Canning (Includes Printable Chart)

Altitude adjustments for canning depend on your elevation and the type of canning. The charts below make the adjustments easy.

If you live at an altitude of over 1,000 feet above sea level (305 meters), then you need to adjust processing times or pounds of pressure for safe home canning.

Altitude Adjustments for Canning - Hot Water Bath and Pressure Canning

The instructions for canning altitude adjustments on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website are about as clear as mud. These charts are from the Ball Blue Book folks and South Dakota State University, so I figure they know what they're doing.

Why do we need altitude adjustments for canning?

We need altitude adjustments for canning because of atmospheric pressure. Higher altitudes have less of it because there's less atmosphere pressing down on them.

Once you go above 1000 feet, water boils at temperatures lower than 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

To compensate for this, we add either extra time or extra pressure to kill off the botulism spores and other microbes.

Pressure Canning Altitude Chart

If you are canning at an altitude higher than 1,000 feet above sea level, adjust pressure canner pounds as indicated below.

You don't need to increase the processing time, only the amount of pressure used.

Altitude Feet                      Weighted Gauge                         Dial Gauge

  • 0 –  1,000                                    10                                             11
  • 1,001 – 2,000                              15                                             11
  • 2,001 – 4,000                              15                                             12
  • 4,001 – 6,000                              15                                             13
  • 6,001 – 8,000                              15                                             14
  • 8,001 – 10,000                            15                                             15

For example, if the instructions said to process at 11 pounds of pressure in a dial gauge canner at sea level, I should increase the pressure to 13 pounds of pressure if I live at 5000 feet.

Hot Water Bath Canning at High Altitude

High acid foods like fruits, jams, jellies, and pickles use hot water bath canning.

The altitude adjustment for canning in a water bath canner simply involves extra processing time.

Altitude Feet                     Increase Processing Time

  • 1,001-  3,000                           5 minutes
  • 3,001-  6,000                         10 minutes
  • 6,001-  8,000                         15 minutes
  • 8,001-10,000                         20 minutes

Grab a printable pdf of the altitude adjustment charts for canning here.

How to Find Your Altitude

Start by searching “elevation of (your town, your state)” in your favorite online search engine.

For example, searching on “elevation of Green Bay, Wisconsin” gives me an answer of 581′ above sea level.

If you can't find your town, pick a larger nearby metropolitan area.

Alternatively, you should also be able to find your altitude from local information sources, such as your local planning commission or zoning office.

There are also online tools such as the National Map from USGS and What's my Elevation.

More Food Preservation Tips

We have dozens of articles on home food preservation and many different preserving recipes, all listed on the Recipes and Kitchen Tips index page.

They include:

Home Food Preservation – 10 Ways to Preserve Food at Home

How to Can Food at Home – Quick Guide to Safe Home Canning

Home Freeze Drying – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It makes a HUGE difference when you share our articles. Thank you so much!

Similar Posts


  1. I live in Chicago my elevation is 594 what should my canner dial or weighted be, I get confused with it and always use the 15 on weighted

  2. I live at 980 ft. -1000 ft. Should I adjust a little since I am so close to 1000 ft? Meaning if I use a dial gauge at 12 psi is that better than 11psi for under 1001? I have no problem being “better safe than sorry” and use 15 dial or weighted, but I don’t want it all over cooked.

    1. If you have a dial gauge canner, you stay at 11 pounds of pressure up to 2000 feet, so you would process at 11 pounds of pressure.

      If you have a weighted gauge canner, water is going to boil at a slightly lower temp at your altitude, but the 10 pound weight should be okay because you’re under 1000 feet. If you want to be extra safe, go ahead and jump up to the 15 pound.

  3. So if I have a digital pressure canner that doesn’t let me change the pressure, do I use the times associated with a water bath to extend the processing times?

    1. You’d need to check with the manufacturer on that one.

      By default, I’d say that’s not going to provide the same level of safety, because you need to increase the pressure, not just the time, to compensate for the altitude.

  4. If I’m at 800 ft elevation doing canning then move all these jars to 8,000 ft, which do I can to? The 800 ft or 8,000 ft?

    1. Use the altitude where the processing is done. If you are processing at 800 ft, that’s the altitude you use.

      The altitude adjustments compensate for change in boiling point of water during processing. Where the final product is stored does not change the processing time or pressure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.