Have you been hearing other people talk about doing dry canning recently? Are you wondering exactly what it is and how it is done? Then this post is for you!

Preserving food in a prepping pantry is common practice these days and for good reason. Food prices are skyrocketing yet our income is not. Epidemics, threats of war, natural disasters happening more often, and the talk of a recession have all been common talk lately.

Sure, we can dehydrate our food. We can also water bath or pressure can our food. But what about the food you buy in the grocery store, such as pasta, beans, rice, and even flour and wheat? Keeping them in their original packages means less shelf life. That my friend is where dry canning comes in.

Dry Canning goods

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So What is Dry Canning?

Very simply put, dry canning is the process of placing dry foods into jars and or buckets, removing the oxygen and moisture, and giving those foods a longer and more stable shelf life. Canning jars are used for smaller amounts or for regularly used foods. Food-grade buckets are used for the foods you are storing for longer times in larger quantities.

It is easy to get started with dry canning by using the dry foods you already have on hand.

What Do You Need To Start Dry Canning?

The equipment to start dry canning is easily found in most grocery stores as well as big box stores, some home-improvement stores, and on online. But how do you know if you are buying the right things?

Mason Jars

For starters, you will need some good-quality mason jars. I buy mine at Rural King by the case. However, I have also bought these same jars by a different name at the local dollar stores. Ball jars seem to be the most well-known, but I have used other brands with no issues.

I purchase pint, quart, and half-gallon jars whenever I see them on sale. Trust me, one can never have too many mason jars! Be sure to buy extra rings and lids also. The rings are reusable, but the lids are not. Having extra will come in handy.

Mason jars

Jar Sealer

The next piece of equipment you need is a good jar sealer. I actually own 3 of them. This device has an attachment that fits over the lid of a canning jar and when turned on, removes all of the air from the jar.

These can be very inexpensive to buy. I just bought a simple jar sealer from Amazon for my daughter. It seals jars and even has an attachment to blow up balloons and tires too. At the time of this writing, I paid less than $30.

Mason jar sealer

Food Grade Buckets

If you plan on buying bulk rice, sugar, flour, and other foods that take up a bunch of room, you will need some food-grade buckets. These can also be found online.

A quick note here…Make sure you get the lids with the buckets! I recently spent money on a set of 6 food grade 5-gallon buckets because the price was amazing. Unfortunately, they did not come with lids. I could not find lids from that exact company and when I checked the reviews, others had a hard time getting other lids to fit. Needless to say, those buckets are in the shed for outdoor activities now.

You have an option of normal lids or Gamma lids. Gamma lids are more expensive, however, they are more secure and allow food to last longer. You can research them on Amazon and see if they are right for your storage needs.

And one last note on buying buckets…Buy the bucket opener! Trust me, that handy little gadget is a “wish you had” gadget when it comes time to open those buckets. The bucket opener I have is found on Amazon as well.

5 gallon food grade bucket

Miscellaneous Supplies

A few other things you may want to purchase include the following list: (links are provided)

  • Canning Funnel – for pouring food into the jars
  • Moisture Absorbers – to remove the moisture from jars and buckets
  • Oxygen Absorbers extend shelf life, prevent rancidity, delay oxidization, and even helps to preserve the best flavor. All dry, home-packaged food that you plan to keep for 3 months or longer should have an oxygen absorber in the container.
  • Labels and a Permanent Marker – to date and label your jars and buckets when finished
Oxygen absorbers

Foods To Dry Can Easily

There are so many foods that dry canning can be used with. Below is an extensive list of foods that do well with dry canning.

  • Flours
  • Grains
  • Sugar – white and brown
  • Salt
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Cereal
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Potato Flakes
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cornstarch
  • Powdered Baby Formula
  • Pasta
  • Chips and Dry Snacks
  • Cookies
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Dehydrated Foods
  • Crackers
  • Cornmeal
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Powdered yeast
  • Chocolate Chips for baking
  • Oats and Oatmeal
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Powdered drink mixes
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Powdered Milk and creamer
Dry Canning Pantry shelves

The Process

So now that you understand what dry canning is, what equipment you need, and what foods to use, let’s talk about how to start dry canning.

The first thing you need to decide is whether to use a food-grade bucket or just mason jars. Here is a simple point to keep in mind.

If you buy a 50lb bag of wheat flour you obviously will not use it fast enough for it to be in your kitchen front and center. This is where the 5-gallon buckets come in handy. Place the flour in the bucket, add an oxygen absorber and a moisture absorber, then seal the lid.

For the flour you want to have on hand daily, I would place some in mason jars or in containers in your everyday pantry so you have easy access to smaller amounts. When the smaller containers are empty you can dig into your 5-gallon storage from your prepper pantry. Then reseal your bucket and move the smaller container back to the kitchen.

Dried foods in jars

Do this with all of your dried goods. If there is a lot of the product, consider 5-gallon or 3-gallon buckets for the bulk of the storage. For everyday use, just place what will be used in a month in smaller jars.

When it comes to boxed pasta, I recommend filling mason jars only. These can be kept in your everyday pantry and used as needed. Not many people buy 50 lbs of pasta. However, if you do it is absolutely ok to use food-grade buckets for the extra.

Final Thoughts

Dry canning is a great way to extend the shelf life of food in your kitchen and in your pantry. It is also the easiest way to start prepping the pantry if you are new to preserving food.

Gather those mason jars, order those buckets, and start being more prepared in the kitchen right now.

For more information on creating a prepper pantry read: How To Start a Prepper Pantry. And did you know you can reuse jars for canning dry goods? Just check out Oakhill Homestead’s Canning Posts to find more info.

Frequently Asked Questions

I hope this post has helped you to feel comfortable enough to start dry canning in your home. If you have any questions on this process, feel free to email me at annie@roadtoreliance.com and ask away!


  1. Great post! Two questions:
    1) do you need to remove the air from the 5 gal buckets or just fill it up to the top and it is okay because of the oxygen absorber?
    2) is there any other kind of lid that could be used on mason jars for dry canning?

    1. Author

      Hello Kaitlin! I fill my buckets to about an inch from the top Then add a few oxygen absorbers. As you take more product from the bucket just replace the oxygen absorbers with new ones. You can add as many as you want. It won’t hurt the food to have more absorbers. As far as using other lids on jars, I reuse spaghetti jars and other food jars. Some people do not want to reuse jars, but I have had no problems as long as they are very clean, and you remove all of the air with a vacuum sealer. And yes you can vacuum-seal spaghetti jars! Any more questions, feel free to ask! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Do you need to empty plastic sacks of pasta or beans and such or can I just put the sack in a bucket with absorber? Thanks

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