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How to Can Tuna at Home

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Home-canned tuna

Home-canned tuna

Canned Tuna Overview

Learning how to can tuna is an important skill to have if you enjoy fishing in the ocean, love to DIY in the kitchen, or are very health conscious about the food you eat. Many popular diets such as Paleo, Whole 30, Pescatarian, and others highlight the benefits of fish and seafood. However, many of the sources of canned tuna at the local supermarket are less appetizing. You don't have to settle for waterlogged, twice-cooked, shredded tuna that likely isn't even albacore. Buy a whole fish, or cleaned loins, and learn how to can tuna the do-it-yourself way.

The following step-by-step instructions will ensure that you make the perfect jar of tuna that will last all year long.

Pint and half pint, with label and date, ready to store

Pint and half pint, with label and date, ready to store

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

2 hours

2 hours 30 min

Approximately 20 pints


  • 4 loins albacore tuna, sliced into medallions
  • 3 cups olive oil
  • Sea salt (optional)


  • 2 cases pint glass jars
  • Very large pressure cooker


  1. Sterilize the glass jars, lids, and bands with boiling water.
  2. Cut the tuna loins into medallions about 1 inch thick.
  3. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil in each jar.
  4. Fill each jar with tuna. Leave 1/4" from top of the jar to avoid spillage. Wipe jar lid clean to create a proper seal
  5. Optional: Add a pinch of sea salt and/or other flavorings.
  6. Place the lids and bands on jars. Lightly tighten the lids.
  7. Put full jars into the pressure cooker. Make sure to have a canning rack at the bottom of pressure cooker to avoid breaking the glass due to heat.
  8. Screw on the lid of pressure cooker and turn up the heat.
  9. Reach 11 pounds of pressure on the cooker reading and reduce heat to maintain pressure.
  10. Allow the cooker to stay at the desired level of pressure for 90 minutes.
  11. Remove from heat and allow pressure to dissipate before opening the cooker.
  12. Remove jars and allow to cool naturally. The olive oil and oil from the fish will still be boiling in the jars, so be careful and allow them to seal.
  13. Once cooled, screw the lids on tightly and place in your cupboard.


If you have the opportunity to process several albacore tuna into home-canned tuna, you can take advantage of a large number of cans and experiment with different flavors. There are many popular recipes that you can try to kick up your chicken of the sea in a glass jar.

These are a few of the more popular varieties:

  • Jalapeño Pepper: Simply cut a large jalapeño into four strips lengthwise. Clean out the seeds and wash the outside really well in the sink. Place one piece or more if desired into each jar. Cut it in half if you are using half-pints instead of pints. Use a stronger pepper if you want more heat in your finished product.
  • Garlic & Herb: Add a single clove of garlic to the jar and any of your favorite herbs that you want to infuse the tuna with. A personal favorite is garlic and rosemary. This is excellent for using in tuna casseroles and tuna salads.
  • Sriracha: Add a squeeze of the popular hot sauce sriracha into the jar prior to canning and it will leave a delicious sweet and spicy flavor throughout the fish. Perfect for using in a spicy tuna wrap.
  • Smoked: A popular way to eat fresh tuna is to smoke it in a smoker. However if you intend to make a smoked canned version only smoke the tuna for about 45 minutes to an hour and then remove from the smoker and place in the jars, if you go too long, the tuna will not can properly. This is perfect for using as a spread with crackers and cheese.

These recipes will ensure you have a wide range of flavors to enjoy during the year. Once you learn how to can tuna you will never go back to the typical metal canned variety in the supermarket.

Video Tutorial of Tuna Canning

Easy Meals With Canned Tuna

The best part of canning tuna is that is in your pantry ready for a quick and healthy meal at a moment's notice.

Pop the lid and drain the liquids and it is ready to be used for a tasty lunch or dinner.

The most popular way to eat canned tuna is simply in a sandwich. Use two slices of bread, toast them if you prefer. Place the tuna in a bowl, add a spoonful of mayonnaise, and a little pickle relish if you prefer and smash with a fork to mix the ingredients. Spread the contents on a piece of bread and place the other on top, cut in half and enjoy. It can be served with lettuce and a tomato or simply by itself.

There are countless recipes from tuna salad, pizza, soup, burgers, and more. If you have taken the time to make this homemade specialty then enjoy it and be creative with how you incorporate more dishes into your weekly and monthly routine, instead of just eating more sandwiches.

A whole fresh albacore tuna at the fish market

A whole fresh albacore tuna at the fish market

Rod and Reel Albacore Canned Tuna

Albacore tuna are plentiful and recognized as a sustainable fishery making them the perfect choice for eating regularly. The canning process is fairly straightforward and easy to follow, if you have done any pressure cooker-based preserving then the steps will sound very familiar. After you master the basics, be ready to whip up your own favorite secret recipe.

Anglers fishing with rod and reels generally take great care to ensure a high-grade tuna by properly bleeding the fish and quickly placing them on ice. This ensures the meat is in better condition than some of the large commercial operations. The finished product from small boat operators is much better than the typical "chicken of the sea" canned varieties in the local supermarket. If you do not want to go out into the ocean and catch fish yourself, it is possible to buy whole fish or loins straight off the boat from most ports along the west coast.

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