How To Can Cheese And Butter

I came across the coolest articles the other day. Have you ever heard of canning butter or cheese? I’d never even thought about it, but what a great idea!

FDA doesn’t approve of these methods, so use at your own risk (usually if something isn’t approved it just means that it hasn’t been tested by the FDA). Though you know, I don’t understand why you can buy canned butter or cheese from a grocer, but it’s not safe to do it yourself.

canning cheese

Although there is no scientific evidence that canning dairy is unsafe, there is a body of knowledge as well as some people deeming this unsafe for this very reason: there is no study showing the safety of canning things like milk, butter and cheese.

You can read such an opinion here, however keep in mind milk is given as an example of a low acidic food in their latest guidelines. I’d also like to point you out to this study which studied three botulism outbreaks, and concluded that the home canners didn’t use pressure cookers and/or didn’t follow the canning recipes to the letter.

Anyways… as I was saying…

Here is how to can butter, from End Times Report:

1.   Use any butter that is on sale. (Salted is better; don’t use margarine.) Lesser quality butter requires more shaking (see #5 below), but the results are the same as with the expensive brands.

2.   Heat pint jars in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes, without rings or seals. One pound of butter slightly more than fills one pint jar, so if you melt 11 pounds of butter, heat 12 pint jars. A roasting pan works well for holding the pint jars while in the oven.

3.  While the jars are heating, melt butter slowly until it comes to a slow boil. Using a large spatula, stir the bottom of the pot often to keep the butter from scorching. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes at least: a good simmer time will lessen the amount of shaking required (see #5 below). Place the lids in a small pot and bring to a boil, leaving the lids in simmering water until needed.

4.   Stirring the melted butter from the bottom to the top with a soup ladle or small pot with a handle, pour the melted butter carefully into heated jars through a canning jar funnel. Leave 3/4″ of head space in the jar, which allows room for the shaking process.

5.   Carefully wipe off the top of the jars, then get a hot lid from the simmering water, add the lid and ring and tighten securely. Lids will seal as they cool. Once a few lids “ping,” shake while the jars are still warm, but cool enough to handle easily, because the butter will separate and become foamy on top and white on the bottom. In a few minutes, shake again, and repeat until the butter retains the same consistency throughout the jar.

6.   At this point, while still slightly warm, put the jars into a refrigerator. While cooling and hardening, shake again, and the melted butter will then look like butter and become firm. This final shaking is very important! Check every 5 minutes and give the jars a little shake until they are hardened in the jar! Leave in the refrigerator for an hour.

7.   Canned butter should store for 3 years or longer on a cool, dark shelf. [It does last a long time.  We have just used up the last of the butter we canned in 1999, and it was fine after 5 years.] Canned butter does not “melt” again when opened, so it does not need to be refrigerated upon opening, provided it is used within a reasonable length of time.

A lovely glow seems to emanate from every jar. You will also be glowing with grateful satisfaction while placing this “sunshine in a jar” on your pantry shelves.

We have canned over 75 pints of butter in the past year. Miles loves it and will open a jar when I’m not looking! I buy butter on sale, then keep it frozen until I have enough for canning 2 or 3 batches of a dozen jars each.

Here is a recipe for canning soft cheese, also from End Times Report (.com):

Home canned “soft cheese” has better cooking properties than store bought bottled cheese meant for snack food. It contains no preservatives and is more economical than commercial products for cooking purposes. These instructions yield a product that is similar to “Cheese Whiz”, yet better tasting for a recipe of macaroni and cheese. This simple to do recipe for home canned cheese will keep for 2 years plus.


* 1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
* 1 T. vinegar
* ½ tsp. salt
* 1 lb. Velveeta cheese or any processed cheese
* ½ tsp. dry mustard

Melt milk and cheese in double boiler. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Fill pint jars about 3/4 full and seal. Place in Boiling Water bath for 10 minutes.

Here’s another recipe for canned cheese, from Jenny at Frontier Freedom :

Jenny shares that she has used this recipe to can Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, Colby Jack, and Cream Cheese! Please check out her post { link to removed – site is gone } to read the entire article.

1. I sterilize wide mouth pint jars (wide mouth half-pint jars may be used) in a 250 degree oven for at least 20 minutes. Since it’s harder to regulate a woodburning cookstove oven to that low a temperature, mine is usually hotter. Since you’ll process the cheese in a boiling water bath for awhile, this probably isn’t necessary, but I think it’s safer, so it’s what I do.

2. Sterilize new canning lids according to package instructions. I let them simmer in water about 5 minutes, then keep them in hot water until I need them.

3. Now I either cut up the cheese, or if it’s frozen I crumble it and pack it into clean, dry pint jars. Then I place the jars (without lids) on a rack in my boiling water bath canner, to which I have already added some water. Do not put the lid on the canner while the cheese is melting. You want the water to come about halfway up the jars. Any higher and it bubbles into the jars if it gets to boiling. Then, as the cheese melts, I add more cheese until the cheese fills the jars to within about ½ inch of the top.

4. When all melted, I remove the jars from the canner, wipe the rims, and seal the jars. Then I proceed with the boiling water bath for 40 minutes. (I use the Extension Service method of doing a boiling water bath.) When ready, remove jars from water with a jar lifter. Leave undisturbed until completely cooled. Check to make sure all the lids have sealed before labeling and storing.

As with butter, 11 pounds will fill about 12 1/2 pint jars — or just over 3/4 pound per pint jar. We keep ours in the cache year round. We’ve eaten cheese that I canned like this several years earlier and it was delicious. It tends to get a little sharper, which I like. It doesn’t melt as good as fresh cheese, but when you’re in the bush and don’t have fresh cheese, it’s more than acceptable any way you’d use fresh cheese! During the winter, we usually keep cheese stored in buckets outside so it stays frozen. But, like meat, come springtime with the warmer temperatures, I start canning.

To remove the cheese from the jar, there are basically two ways. You could place the jar in a pan of water (loosen the lid a bit first), and then place that pan in another pan of boiling (or hot) water. This melts the outside of the cheese and will help it slip out of the jar. But, it also heats the cheese, which may or may not be desirable. I usually just run a knife between the cheese and the jar. Sometimes the cheese will slide right out, but usually I have to sort of cut and pull it out in chunks.

I usually can butter in regular mouth jars because I don’t try to take it out of the jar all in one piece. That would be hard with cheese.

Here’s what Jackie Clay from Backwoods Home said about how to can cheese:

You won’t find this one in a canning manual, but I experimented around and found something that works for me. One day I was canning tomatoes while whacking a chunk of cheddar cheese for “lunch.” Mmmm, I wondered. Tomatoes are acid. Cheese is acid. So I cut up cubes of cheese, sitting a wide-mouthed pint jar in a pan of water, on the wood stove. Slowly cubes of cheese melted and I added more until the jar was full to within half an inch of the top. Then I put a hot, previously boiled lid on the jar, screwed down the ring firmly tight and added the cheese to a batch of jars in the boiling water bath canner to process. It sealed on removal, right along with the jars of tomatoes. Two years later, I opened it and it was great. Perhaps a little sharper than before, but great. So I started canning cheese of all types (but not soft cheeses) and, so far, they’ve all been successful. To take the cheeses out of the jar, dip the jar in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes, then take a knife and go around the jar, gently prying the cheese out. Store it in a plastic zip lock bag.

— Jackie

There are also a few discussion threads about canning butter and canning cheese, if you wanna read more about what others are saying. You can also see how Cocoa at Chocolate On My Cranium canned her own butter using the method mentioned above.

Have you ever tried canning butter or cheese? I’d love to know if you have, and what you think of it!

34 thoughts on “How To Can Cheese And Butter”

  1. Hello and thank you.
    I just made the Cheeze Whiz out of Velveeta and it turned out amazingly good.
    I started canning cheese when I found about 80 lbs of it spread out over four or five months.
    I opened a jar of my Mozzarella last month and it was, …. good. I used it for my home made French Onion Soup and it performed great. Nice and stretchy, … lol and mare important, tasty.
    I’m a full time resident of the Gulag of Poverty. I figure why fight the inevitable?
    Everyone I know is a slave to someone else’s idea of a good time, some one else’s privately owned “for profit” fiat currency that they are “allowed” to use to facilitate their affairs with in the community, and the poor daft buggers don’t have the brains or the balls to do anything about their pitiless “position” …. Right Ben Dover?
    I may be poor, but every second of the day is MINE to do as I please, and Massa ain’t too happy about it.
    Of course, in the great win/lose paradigm that silly humans use to structure every aspect of their lives, that makes me a loser too!
    OK, enough natter, natter, doesn’t matter.
    Have a great one.

  2. I canned butter for the first time yesterday, only one jar “set” all the others are still liquid…. what happened & can I fix it somehow???

    • I tried that because I thought that’s what had to done. It ruined the cheese, too hot. It came out a brown solid chunk of rubber.

  3. I canned butter following YouTube instructions and when it finished there was brown stuff floating in it. I didn’t make,ghee and I did process half pints at 10 pounds for 60 minutes. What did I do wrong?

  4. I canned butter for the first time today. Everything went well until I took the jars out to cool. I noticed inside the neck of each jar were little brown spots. There were no brown spots on the fresh butter, but in every jar. What happened? Is it safe?

  5. I have had canned goat cheese cubes many times purchased at craft shows etc and would go through a jar practicLly before i got it home. It was packed in oil. It was pressure sealed. I am wondering how to go about this, should i try my ha d at making goat cheese, I have a pressure canner and have canned green chili, beans and ham and made jam as well and hot water bath can ed it. What oil would you use as most oils would break down at the high temperatures it takes to can low acid foods. We are also at 7000 ft elevation so usually pressure can at 15lbs of pressure.

    Thanks for any help.

      • Im a cheese maker I often store my goat milk feta is long as the cheese is dry not super creamy the feta will last for months in Extra virgin olive oil or any other you like< one must be sure to keep the cheese under the oil level or it will mold.

    • As a scientific minded and trained person that has worked in food production, my guess to mimic oil cheese canning would involve the high setting of a pressure cooker. This would work especially well for high salt low moisture cheese like feta, for example. I would pour flavored high temp unfiltered organic neutral oil like grapeseed (flavor it myself previously) and drop chunks of feta into the oil to within the one inch mark. The jar should be hot and the oil I would start with a pour of one inch, adding as I go. You could also have the oil heated to a low simmer to start your testing of this method. Seal and follow cheese canning directions except I would do it at the high pressure canning method and allow natural release. If you are canning with a pressure cooker, remember that quick release can pop the lids. This is my recommendation to be ultimately safe, but you could obviously try to adapt one of these boil canning methods at your own risk. I may play around with that and will post if I do.

  6. I understand why you would add milk to the velvetta but WHY add the vinegar & ESPECIALLY the mustard?!!
    Would that not change the taste of the velvetta drastically?

    • I would add a bit of vinegar to any of these recipes to be sure it is acidic. I never thought of canning cheese… thank all of you for good instructions! I am going for cheese whiz, cheddar, and Chile con queso for a start since I have those ingredients right now. Once I have made a batch I will never forget!

      i clarify my butter into ghee before canning. It is beautiful and stays good even after you open it. Just me so I can in 1 cup jars. Will do the same with cheese.

    • Mustard and vinegar change both the taste and the pH. In other words the pH lowers to an acidic safe level. The person who developed the recipe finds this works for them. You could probably omit the milk and mustard, but I would keep a little acid added to ensure safety. So I probably wouldn’t omit the vinegar but add more milk, etc when I actually go to use the product. It’s hard to alter a recipe when canning and takes a lot of trial. Theoretically, something like Velveta is vacuum packed and sealed to be shelf stable, so you could try to melt it and can it by itself. It does have preservatives after all.

      • I buy 2 lb. block of velveta and cut it in half, wrap each half with plastic wrap then put it in a vacuum seal bag. Then I vacuum seal it and put it back in the box put that days date on it and put a expiration date of 5 years on it. I have done this for many years with no problem, As long as you keep it in a dark dry place it will last a very long time. Hope this helps you all.

    • It doesnt changed the taste at all. Your using the velveeta to make cheese spread. Ive use the recipe but also with eggs to make like a custard and then and the cheese.

  7. Mary Dew, thank you for your comments. I agree with you. I can butter the same way that you do and have never had a problem. Blessings!

  8. I noticed in that UGA article that they referred to sterilizing the jars in the oven. No problem, sterilize in water, then dry thoroughly and place on cookie sheet in low oven to keep warm. The article is also refering to making butter instead of clarified/ghee butter.

    If you make ghee instead, there is less of a chance of botulism, and it will store indefinately. You remove the froth while the butter is boiling, and then only use the pure clear buttery part, and place the white substance at the bottom of the pan somewhere else to use in other things instead of storing.

    There are 2 YouTubes on canning butter. Just go to the site, the type in how to can butter.

  9. Erin, thanks for the link. There is a lot of good information there. However, it is important to note that their standard answer for many things including butter and cheese is “it hasn’t been tested by US yet so we can’t recommend it.” It is interesting that all of their data IS from the USDA which has taken a highly critical stance on canning just about anything at home.

    I do agree with this part though: “2. The butter is not really being ‘canned’; it is simply being melted and put in canning jars, and covered with lids. Due to some heat present from the hot melted butters and preheated jars, some degree of vacuum is pulled on the lids to develop a seal. It rarely is as strong a vacuum as you obtain in jars sealed through heat processing. The practice in these ‘canned’ butter directions is referred to as ‘open-kettle’ canning in our terminology, which is really no canning at all, since the jar (with product in it) is not being heat processed before storage.”

    I am looking into canning butter myself for long term storage “just in case.” I wonder what would prevent someone from pressure canning the butter as you would other low acid foods like meat? You could still shake the bottles after they seal as they start to cool to help remix the contents or for that matter, just let them stay separated and remix when you get ready to use it… I notice that the answer to the question was very carefully worded to reference only the most popular web sites that come up when you google.

    • Clarify it into ghee first. I saw this on you tube and mine is still good 4 years later. I am buying butter on sale… not much sale lately. My freezer is a small chest type and I mostly keep meat and ice cream in it. I also turn chicken carcasses into heavy chicken broth and pressure can. I love the beautiful glass jars full of food.

    • I just did 4 jars of ghee and i also used jelly jars. I guess i am over cautious to a degree. But also feel if many have done this and they lived to tell about it then to me they know what they are talking about. If the Food and Drug does not even test it then how can they say it is bad. So anyway i put the ghee in the jars and i pc it for 60 minutes just to be safe. Have not used it and nor should you use me as an example. Just want to say i did like Katzcradle think thats her name she pc her half pints for 60 minutes.
      I am new to this and canning still scares me yet. Getting better tho. I do not take just one persons word for it. I research it.

  10. I don’t know that I’d ever try canning butter or cheeses. I generally freeze extra butter & cheese, and I’ve kept some of those for 1-2 years and they’ve still been quite edible. Velveeta or the generic versions keep for so long at room temp if they’re sealed, I wouldn’t think canning would be saving much if anything.

  11. Thanks Erin for the link to U of G. Canning butter is extremely dangerous and NOT a political statement from the USDA! Botulism grows in a non-acid, oxygen free enviroment….so butter with a vacuum seal! It is odorless, colorless and tasteless….and deadly! If you want to kill your family….can butter!

  12. Wow, this is such an interesting concept! I love this! I recently made buttermilk cheese from a recipe I found in Country Living Magazine and it was so simple! It called for whole milk, buttermilk and sea salt and consisted of cooking it for 8 minutes until the curds seperated from the whey. It tasted great!! (You can find the quantities on CL website) Anyway, I realized that we don’t even know simple skills like making milk into cheese these days! Now to find out cheese and butter can be “canned”! I love all this information on simple ways to preserve food and also the advice on being thrifty, thank you so much!

  13. Hey I loved this post! One question though, I make my own honey cinnamon butter, could you can that the same way?

  14. I think I would tend to lean towards canning ghee (clarified butter with milk solids removed) rather than whole butter. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about mixing it, for another it has been time tested in India as a safe way to preserve an otherwise highly perishable dairy product.

    As for USDA/FDA rules, I asked why things that were safe back in the day supposedly are no longer and got a pretty convincing answer.

    Today we have far more virulent strains of micro-organisms in the air and environment than we used to have before antibiotics became so widely used. (Most people don’t realize that there are now strains of pneumonia that there is no cure for, that was not the case even a few years ago.) These new “superbugs” are tougher and more resistant to the things that used to kill their predecessors. Also as we have bred plants and genetically altered them to have qualities we find pleasing,(like lower acid tomatoes), we have inadvertently changed some of the properties that made them safer or longer lasting using old fashioned methods of preservation. Commercial methods are far more stringent and fast. The fast is the big deal that prevents bacterial growth and preserves quality. Some bacteria double in population every few minutes! 15 second flash freezing often gives a better product than when it takes 2 or more hours to freeze. In that two hours, there will be bacterial activity that may of may not be negative, depending on the product. (Aging meat is a positive use.)

    Completely healthy people will be less effected by possible bacteria than compromised people- but there are so many things that can compromise even a normally healthy person- a case of hives or poison ivy, lack of sleep even can weaken your immune system for the day.

    Last question- why would you want to eat velveeta even “fresh”? It keeps for months unrefrigerated as it is, no need to waste energy canning it!


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