How Long Do I Sterilize a Glass Jar in a Microwave?

Updated April 17, 2017

Sterilisation is a crucial aspect of home canning. This process kills bacteria and makes home canning a safe way to cook and preserve food. Glass jars that have been manufactured specially for canning can be sterilised in a microwave.

Getting Started

Before placing your canning jars in the microwave, remove their metal seals and lids and wash them with warm, soapy water. Dry them thoroughly.

Time Frame

Fill each canning jar, also called a mason jar, halfway with cold tap water. Place them in the microwave and microwave them on high for three to four minutes or until the water in the jars comes to a rolling boil.

Final Sterilization

While the jars are microwaving, preheat your kitchen oven to 149 degrees Celsius. After the jars have cooled off enough to touch, usually five minutes, pour out the hot water and place the jars upside down on a baking tray. Keep them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the jars are dry.


Never try home canning with jars that are not specifically made for canning. Never reuse jars from the grocery store, such as peanut butter jars, pickle jars or mayonnaise jars. These jars were not made to be home sterilised; their glass is thinner and might crack in the sterilisation process.

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About the Author

Suzanne Burns began writing in 1991 and currently writes for the "Source Weekly" and "Central Oregon Magazine." She has published three poetry collections and one short-story collection. After attending Central Oregon Community College, she left the degree program to become a freelance editor and writer. She has studied creative writing with Sarah Heekin Redfield, Primus St. John and Ken Kesey.