How You Can Score Some Free Canning Jars

Looking to make your own fruits and veggies this summer? Well, look no further, because I have a hack for scoring some free canning jars! All you need is a little bit of creativity and some online searching skills.

Read on to find out how you can get started.

sanitizing canning jars in dishwasher
sanitizing canning jars in dishwasher

What to Look For in Canning Jars

When you are canning your own fruits and vegetables, it is important to use high-quality canning jars.

The last thing you want is for your jars to break in the middle of the canning process. Make sure to inspect each jar carefully before using it.

Free of Cracks, Chips, and Nicks

When choosing canning jars, it is important to select ones that are free of cracks, chips, and nicks. These imperfections can create weak spots in the jar that may cause the jars to break during the canning process.

In addition, cracks and chips can also provide entry points for bacteria, which could contaminate the food. To avoid these problems, carefully inspect each jar before purchasing it. If you find any imperfections, choose a different jar.

No Bubbles or Thin Spots in the Glass

Look for any bubbles or thin spots in the glass. These areas are more likely to break during the canning process.

Actual Canning Jars Meant for Canning (Not Crafts)

When stocking your kitchen for canning season, it’s important to choose the right type of jar.

While regular old jars from Hobby Lobby might seem like a cheap and easy option, they’re actually not meant for canning. Instead, look for jars that are specifically designed for canning.

Canning jars have thicker walls and a reinforced lip, which helps to create a secure seal. They also have a wide mouth, making them easier to fill. In addition, canning jars are heat-resistant, so they won’t shatter when exposed to boiling water.

While craft jars might be tempting, remember that they’re not meant for canning. Choose actual canning jars instead, and your preserves will taste all the better for it.

Where to Find Canning Jars for Free or Cheap

Canning jars are one of the most versatile items in the kitchen. They can be used for everything from storing pantry staples to preserving homemade jams and jellies.

However, canning jars can also be expensive, especially if you need a large quantity. Luckily, there are a few ways to get canning jars for free or cheap.


If you’re looking for free canning jars, Craigslist is a great place to start. Here are a few tips to help you find what you’re looking for:

  • Check the “free” section. This is the most obvious place to look, but it’s also the most likely to have what you’re looking for.
  • Search for specific keywords. Instead of just searching for “canning jars,” try searching for terms like ” Ball jars,” ” Mason jars,” or ” canning supplies.”
  • Set up alerts. Many Craigslist users set up alerts for specific keywords so they’ll be notified whenever a new listing is posted. This can be a great way to make sure you don’t miss anything.
  • Check other sections. If you’re not having any luck in the “free” section, try looking in other sections such as “for sale” or ” wanted.” You might be surprised at what you find.

Canning Swaps

One place to find free canning jars is at a local canning Swap. Canning Swaps are events where people who preserve food come together to trade jars, lids, and other canning supplies.

Facebook Marketplace

Canning season is upon us, and if you’re looking for some free canning jars, Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start. Here are a few tips to help you find the best deals:

  • First, search for canning jars in the “For Sale” section of Facebook Marketplace. You’ll likely find a number of listings from people who are looking to get rid of their jars.
  • Next, take a look at the prices that sellers are asking. You should be able to find some jars for free, or for very low prices.
  • Once you’ve found a few listings that look promising, contact the seller and arrange to pick up the jars. Be sure to communicate clearly about when and where you’ll be picking up the jars.
  • Finally, don’t forget to inspect the jars before you take them home. Make sure that they’re clean and in good condition, so that you can use them for canning.


Freecycle is a global organization that connects people who want to get rid of unwanted items with people who are in need of those items.

By signing up for a local Freecycle group, individuals can often find canning jars that have been donated by others. In addition, many freecycle groups also host regular events where members can trade or exchange items with each other.

One note – it is important to be careful when reusing store bought sauce and jelly jars for canning. These jars are not designed for canning and may not seal properly, which could lead to food spoilage.

In addition, the jars may not be heat-treated, which means they could break when exposed to high temperatures.

If you do choose to reuse store bought jars for canning, make sure to inspect them carefully for cracks or chips and only use jars that are in good condition.

Garage Sales and Thrift Stores

If you’re willing to pay a little bit for your jars, yard sales and thrift stores are excellent sources for cheap canning jars. You should inspect the jars carefully before purchasing them to make sure there are no cracks or chips in the glass.

Estate Sales

One of the best ways to get cheap or free canning jars is to attend estate sales. Often, people who are downsizing or moving will sell their canning supplies at a fraction of the cost.


One way to get canning jars for free is to just ask around. You might be surprised at how many people have canning jars that they no longer need or use.

set of canning jars
set of canning jars

Other Tips for Saving on Canning Jars

If you love canning and preserving foods, then you know that jars can be one of the most expensive supplies. Luckily, there are a few ways to save on jars.

Be On Constant Lookout

One way to save money on canning jars is to be on the lookout for sales and specials.

Many stores offer discounts on canning supplies during the summer months, so it pays to keep an eye out for advertisements and coupons.

In addition, many stores offer loyalty programs that give customers points or discounts on future purchases. Therefore, it is worth signing up for these programs in order to save money on canning jars over the long term.

Look for Fall Coupons

If you’re looking for ways to save on mason jars for canning, one of the best times to buy them is during the fall.

That’s because many stores offer coupons and discounts on canning supplies during this time of year. You can usually find these coupons in the weekly flyers that come with your newspaper.

Another great way to save on mason jars is to buy them in bulk. Many stores offer discounts when you buy a case of jars, and you’ll always have extras on hand in case you need them.

Finally, be sure to keep an eye out for sales. Often, stores will mark down canning supplies during the fall in order to make room for holiday merchandise.

Save Money By Buying Canning Jars Early

Stores typically sell canning jars at a discount in the spring, before the canning season begins. This is an ideal time to stock up on jars, as they will be both less expensive and more readily available. In addition, many stores offer coupons and other discounts on canning supplies during this time of year.

Don’t Buy on Amazon – Go to WalMart Instead

Amazon is a great resource for all kinds of things, but when it comes to mason jars for canning, you’re better off going to WalMart.

Here’s why: first of all, WalMart typically has a better selection of sizes and styles of mason jars than Amazon.

Second, the prices are usually lower at WalMart. And finally, you can often find coupons for mason jars at WalMart, which can further reduce the price.

So if you’re looking to save money on mason jars for canning, make sure to check out WalMart first.

Ball and Kerr are the Same Brand – Score Some Discounts!

Remember that Ball and Kerr are the same brand. This means that you can usually find discounts on Kerr jars when Ball is running a promotion.

Take Good Care of Your Mason Jars So You Can Reuse Them Next Year

If you’re like most people, you probably have a few mason jars hanging around your house. Maybe you use them for canning fruits and vegetables, or maybe you just like the way they look.

Either way, it’s important to take good care of your mason jars so that you can reuse them next year. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Wash your jars thoroughly after each use. This will help prevent bacteria from building up and will also extend the life of your jars.
  • Store your jars in a cool, dark place. sunlight and heat can cause the glass to become brittle over time.
  • If you live in an area with hard water, consider using distilled water to fill your jars. This will help prevent mineral deposits from forming on the glass.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your mason jars will be ready for another season of canning and preserving.

Final Thoughts

So, if you want to give canning a try this summer but don’t have any jars, consider raiding your recycling bin for some free glass containers. Just make sure that the jar is clean and has a good seal before using it for canning.

Or hit up your local thrift store or bargain shop to find some deals. Free or cheap canning jars can be found just about anywhere. Happy preserving!


52 thoughts on “How You Can Score Some Free Canning Jars”

  1. I was a city girl taught to can by a little old lady who lived near by. We scoured the neighborhood for mayonnaise jars and all sorts of similar jars to use when we ran out of traditional canning jars. After safely consuming and sharing wonderful vegetables, fruits, and sauces for many years, I was told the mayonnaise jars weren’t safe.

    Who knew?

    I would guess the same is the case for the Classico jars.

  2. Can you use a Classico jar in the oven. I don’t want to use the Classico jars for canning. I want to make rainbow jar cakes. Is it safe

  3. This message is from the Classico website regarding reusing their Atlas canning jars. I don’t use them due to the chance of breakage. Never would use in pressure canning.

    Can I reuse the Classico® jar for home canning?
    No. A coating is applied at the glass plant to reduce scratching and scuffing. If scratched, the jar becomes weaker at this point and can more easily break. This would increase the risk of the jar breaking when used for canning. Also, the lighter weight of our current jar could make it unsafe for home canning.

    • I use them to make jams only. I’ve had no trouble with them that way, even using the original lid. Just pour it in, pop the lid on, watch it seal. Not sure how long it would keep, but so far haven’t had any trouble.

  4. An exact lid sizes CHART for ALL of the CLASSICO MASON ATLAS glass jars would be nice!!!!!

    I hope that by now some of you realize that companies and smart people cover their butts with the statements: this is not a… cannot be used for… phrases. MASON ATLAS’S name is on the CLASSICO product jars. If they were not usable in these fashions the name shouldn’t be there. I popped on here for lid sizes, cross checks on lid sizes, good places to pick up/buy the correct lids, a possible UPC to make buying easier and the like. Canning lids are sold separately now and have for a while. People really…crap loads of post consumer glass jars have been used for more than 30 years. I will now go measure the freaking jar lids and take a jar with me to the store to double check before buy. This was annoying.

  5. I’ll pretty much save and repurpose any jar or glass food/beverage container because I can and make wine and glass is the most chemically inert food storage device.

    Today its really difficult to find a commercial glass jar that fits a 70mm lid today irregardless of the type of banding used. Shrinking product sizes has contributed to this.

    Classico and the older mayo jars conveniently used the 2 piece banding while quite a few jars like the pint hot fudge jars and certain brands of salsa or spaghetti sauce used 1/2″ wide lug lids. If you saved the lug lid you could place it over and screw it down over a 70mm lid and successfully can an item.

    With that said I had very rare breakage failures with these jars having untempered glass in water bath canning provided they weren’t exposed to any thermal shock. Sterlize them from a warm water start and only hot pack them.

    As for the pint and a half canning jars Ball is making them again with wide mouth 83 mm lids.

  6. I just encountered the new Classico jars with smaller lids. Noooooooo! I have been pressure canning with them for several years with no problems what-so-ever. Two years ago I hesitantly decided to try pressure canning with the Classico lid. So far none of the seals have failed! I’m sooooo disappointed that they aren’t making them any more!
    I called to let them know, and they were very nice about it, but said that they changed the design because they had so many complaints about difficulty opening the bigger lids.

  7. I had the same experience, Jeff. Classico jars are changing, and the new jars don’t accommodate the regular canning lids (the openings are smaller). I complained to the company…

    I only do hot water bath canning (because I only do salsa and other high-acid foods), but I’ve used Classico jars alongside Ball canning jars for years and have never had one break. And I overprocess food (I always let my jars boil waaaaaay longer than the recipe recommends). Never had a problem with the Classico jars.

    Anyone who wants to let Classico know you don’t like the new jar design should fill out the form at and let them know. (For what it’s worth, they sent me three coupons for 50 cents off a jar of Classico, so that may make it worth your time… 😉

  8. I use these for water bath canning, tomatoes and pickles only and I dont know what to say about long pressure canning, probably not a good idea. I have at least 4 dozen and I bought all of mine with Classico Sauce. I like the sauce to be honest. Today, or should I say two weeks ago. August 2012 I bought the same 24 oz jar, and the lid was smaller. Regular mouth lid from Ball is too big… Nooooooooo,!!l lol But, I still like to collect them but I will need a special lid to use them for pickles and tomatoes, ( i dont think there is one for that size) . I like to use them for ice tea also, so it looks like that will still be a good use. Check it out, Ball regular lids will not fit anymore, or at least on the two jars I bought recently. -jeff

  9. To all canner: Ball use to sell 1-1/2 pint jars (24 ozs) long long ago. They went bye bye. However, the Classico jars are the prefect size for canning pinto beans. They are my go to size when I can beans, stews and spicy carrots. I found that quarts are just to large for some foods(serving sizes)and pints just to small for others. I usually can in 1/2 pint, pint and 1-1/2 pint jars. This let me use my smaller pressure canner (8 qt.)

    I can usually get the right amount of serving sizes with (24 ozs) for three people and maybe four with a pint of something each thrown in to the mix.

    I diffently grab use Classico jars at yards sale and thift shop, but I have been purchase new jar when Sause is on sale and have coupons. Sometimes my Grocery store has a clearance sale on them and I load up.

  10. I’ve been canning for 44 years. I still have some of my moms’ and gmoms’ canning jars that I use every year. I also have several cases of the Classico sauce jars that I have used in BWB for applesauce adn I’ve pressure canned carrots in them for the past 6 years. Not one of them has broken. They are a great size and I plan to keep on using them. I need to gather up more of them! 🙂

  11. The National Center for Home Food Preservation says it is OK to use any commercial jar that a band and lid will fit for high acid foods. Since high acid foods are water bath canned, it follows that they should not be used in the pressure canner. They also mention that jars are weakened when scratched by metal utensils, so something like a mayo jar or big grape jelly jar is more likely to have that problem than a spaghetti jar that I clean out once with a rubber spatula. I have not tried any Classico jars yet, but have started to save them and certainly plan to use them. Further, my grandma and mom have reused all types for years with very little breakage. I am not saying the idea of a jar breaking does not bug me, because it does.I have not had it happen and am worried about what you do if it does happen. Do you let it all boil like that until the processing time is up, or do you stop and pull out the “good” jars, clean it all up, and start processing time again?

  12. Sam’s Club also sells a 3-pack of 32 oz Classico brand whereby the glass jar says Atlas. These are reasonably priced and we’re using them for canning. I realize that the Classico website says they are not to be used for canning.

    This is interesting. They say not to use them for canning…but…
    1 MASON is on the jars.
    2 Standard mason lids and seals fit perfectly.
    3 Their weights are as much as other 32 oz mason jars.

    I’m personally comfortable with it.

  13. I have had the Classico jars break in the canner, and lost food as a result.
    Our extension office recommends NOT to use them, as they have had many others tell them the same thing.
    OI did notice at Price Chopper awhile back some cheese sauce that was in a Bell canning jar. Sorry, I don’t remember the brand.

  14. Learned today, next time you empty the plastic parmesan cheese container, save the lid – it fits perfectly on the regular mouth mason jars, and now you have a shaker 😀

  15. I do know classico jars are not “real” mason jars. I have many of the old Atlas jars also. I do use many comercial jars for pressure canning and I have been doing so for many years. (The USDA website does note this is safe however more jars might break) I would say that about 30% of my jars are not true mason jars but recycled comercial jars.
    Yes, I do have them break from time to time. However, many of my real mason jars are over 50 years old and they break from time to time also. I am using old jars such as, old Barnardin, presto, star mason, long life, mom’s mason,kerr,golden harvest, harvest time, ball perfect mason, atlas strong shoulder and others. This year I have been lucky and not had year jars break. Hopefully that will be true for the rest of this years canning season.

    I did find 32 ounce jars of classico sauce at Costco the jars seem heavy and I will be using them for canning soon.

  16. Atlas canning jars haven’t been made since the 60s, when the Hazel-Atlas company went under. They may say “Atlas,” but they are not the same jars.

  17. I have a bunch of those Classico jars that I’ve saved and I finally worked up the guts to try one for applesauce. Worked great, sealed properly- even with a Tattler lid. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try one in the pressure canner though.

  18. Thanks for the responces. I just canned a load of tomatoes using the pressure canner. All 8 of the jars we the 24 oz. classico jars. All jars are sealed and they work great. Thanks!

  19. I have some atlas jars that I got second hand. I thought they were regular canning jars so used them as such. No problem yet. You know, anything official has to say not to use them because of potential lawsuits and such. People are too sue happy.


    P.S. I just found your site today. It’s going in my sidebar favorites.

  20. Hi,
    I am intrested in the Classico jars for home canning. I read on another post that the new Clasico jars will not work for canning. Is this true? Has anyone tried canning in any new jars? Are the threads or openings different?
    Thanks for your info.

    • Rob, I’m not sure how “new” the new jars are, but the ones I have from about three months ago are compatible with standard mason lids and rings. I haven’t tried canning in them yet, but the only problem you *may* encounter would be an occasional jar breaking. People say you aren’t supposed to do it, but I’ve heard from several others who have been doing it for years.

  21. I use a lot of jars for storage. I can’t bring myself to throw most jars away. I found several 2 quart canning jars when cleaning out my in-law’s home. Some are the old blue jars with the zinc lids, I use them for pretty. But the others even though they are older I use for to store coating mixes, bread crumbs, etc. they fit in my cabinet much better than some of the plastic containers (they are square instead of round. I make my own taco seasoning, onion soup mix, seasoned salt in pint jars. I keep dried herbs in small jars like the ones bullion comes in. If you try you can re-purpose most glass jars and even some plastic ones. Another tip I have is glass jars make really pretty candle holders. I use all different sizes and add a plain white votive candle. They look really pretty sitting on a widow seal on a cold winter’s night, just don’t let them burn down to the metal wick end.

  22. Jars That can be used for Canning will have The Ball B or an M circled on the bottom. These are the ones I’ll use for Pressurer canning. Other jars I’ll use for Boiling Water Bath Canning. Yes there is an occasional breakage But That is also true of “real” Canning Jars as the Age. I got many of my jars at houshold or estate auctions. Best buy seven large boxes with a mix of old jars (I collect) and clear jars (I use) for 2 Dollars.

  23. I used the Classico jars for canning dill pickles sliced lengthwise for use on burgers and sandwiches. Full Ball quart size jars are too big and pint size too small for this use. The Classico jars are just right and new Ball lids and rings work just right and seal just fine.

  24. I have used these jars in the pressure canner with no problems. I still have mayo jars that I have used for years (back when they were made of glass). The only breakage I have had were in “canning” jars and I have been canning for years.

  25. Classico Spaghetti Sauce is made and distributed by Heinz (as are most sauces, soups, condiments and pickled items in the country.) Did you know when you shop at Aldi’s or purchase the generic chicken broth, it all comes from Heinz? I happen to know this as I live in Pittsburgh (Heinz HQ) and an acquaintance shops at the Employee store where any item that did not fit in a shipment or has a label askew is sold to employees for .25 cents a case. WOW. All that being said, Heinz pioneered glass food preservation and I am told all of their jars will take a mason lid and a beating. If I can come up with a list of products from Heinz, I will post it.

  26. My grandma always re-uses mayonaise jars, any brand works with a regular quart lid. She also re-uses spaghetti sauce jars the Grandessa brand from Aldi’s is the newest one we’ve discovered that works well.

  27. I checked out the Classico web site and found this in the FAQ section: “A coating is applied at the glass plant to reduce scratching and scuffing. If scratched, the jar becomes weaker at this point and can more easily break. This would increase the risk of the jar breaking when used for canning. Also, the lighter weight of our current jar could make it unsafe for home canning. ”

    I’m still inclined to use them though.

  28. There’s some kind of pasta sauce at Safeway that my mom gets that also fits regular mason lids. I *have* saved my glass Del Monte jars from peaches I’ve bought at Costco, and while the lids aren’t a standard size, I just wash everything up and re-use the lid and jar for dehydrated goodies so I don’t need to worry about a brand new seal every time.

  29. I use jars like the classico one to can with a water bath. Fruit juice, applesauce, peaches……there is less danger of breakage using them in the water bath. Pressure canning can cause a jar to break . Better to be safe than sorry, Barbara

  30. I save my jars and fill them with used grease from cooking. I store them in the fridge and then when full, I throw them away. I’m only throwing away one jar every month or every other month doing this. We recycle everything else. It saves my drains, though.

  31. nice! I save EVERYTHING that we buy in glass. My hubby teases me, but they come in so handy to put leftovers in, use for science projects, decorate the house, give flowers to a neighbor, catch a bug in, put tadpoles in…ya know-all the good stuff in life! =)

  32. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t can in the jars that commercial products are sold in. The glass isn’t as durable, and you have a higher chance of them breaking. I hate loosing a quart of food when the jar breaks during processing, so I haven’t dared try. Anyone else heard this?

    Either way, I try to avoid buying store canned products because they are so expensive. It’s cheaper to score jars at thrift stores and yard sales. My family and friends even keep an eye out for me. The best deals they have found just this year range from free to $.25 a jar. That’s way cheaper than overpriced spaghetti sauce. Heck, brand new ball or mason jars are cheaper than the spaghetti sauce jars at my grocery store…and that’s figuring out the cost of the sauce in the jar.

    • Amanda,

      I’ve heard from several people who have been successfully re-using these jars for years. I know all brands aren’t the same, but the “Atlas” jars that Classico uses are good. You are right, it wouldn’t save you any money to buy the spaghetti sauce just to keep the jar, but if you can get them for free from another resource, that’s what you need to be doing!

  33. That’s a fantastic idea! I hadn’t realized that the lids would fit, and am always fighting to get the odors out of the lids. I never win! But I collect glass jars for our family to use as drinking glasses. They’re more durable than drinking glasses, and if they do break, it’s no big deal. I personally use the Classico jars for drinking water because they’re so nice and large and don’t need refilled as often. Other jars I use for drinking glasses are from things like pickle relish and jalapeno peppers. I use smaller 4 oz. jars from pimentos for storage of small arts and craft items (baby food jars work well also). I turn the filled jars upside-down in my desk drawers so I can see what’s inside through the bottoms. Smaller jelly, jam, and fruit spread jars work well for pencil, pen, and paint brush holders, and for juice glasses. And the wider green olive jars work well for holding water for painting. You can just pop the lid on when you’re finished doing a little bit of painting.


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