Mason Jar Sizes - The Ultimate Guide

Home canning is gaining popularity as people are embracing the idea of consuming home-cooked meals and trying to avoid store-bought frozen and convenience foods.

If you’re a beginner at home canning, it is quite normal to be confused about what to use and how to can food safely. 

However, if home canning seems like a completely foreign concept, the USDA has a comprehensive guide to canning

The one thing essential to canning, preserving, or freezing food is to use the correct Canning Jar. The market has a myriad variety of brands and types of Mason jars, which makes it crucial to know which jar is appropriate for your use.

Which jars are safe for Home Canning?

Yes, safety is of the utmost importance while canning food on your own. Or, you run the risk of botulism

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, it is recommended to use jars that are specifically designed to can food. 

It’s safe to avoid store-bought mayonnaise or salad dressing commercial jars as they are thin and more prone to breakage. 

Mason jars are made of thick, tempered glass, making them ideal for preserving food. You can easily can foods for up to a year if the correct canning jar is used. 

Types of Mason Jars

Mason Glass Jars can be categorized as:

  • Regular-mouth Mason Jar
  • Wide-mouth Mason Jar
  • Straight-sided Jars
  • Tapered (shoulders) Jars

Regular-mouth Mason Jar

The traditional or regular-mouth glass jar has a narrow mouth, 70 mm or 2.75 inches in diameter. People generally use it to store food that can be easily poured into the jar. 

Jellies, jams, sauces, salsas, fillings, or finely chopped vegetables are perfect for storing in the regular-mouth jars.

Wide-mouth Mason Jar

Wide-mouth Mason jars are relatively new on the market. True to its name, the jar has a broader mouth with a diameter of 86mm or 3.38 inches. People who frequently can food prefer wide-mouth jars because of their versatility.


Food can be easily filled in and scooped out of these jars. You can store vegetables, large pieces of fruit, pickles, etc. These glass jars are also easier to clean!

Straight-sided vs Tapered

Glass jars come in two shapes: straight-sided and tapered (shoulders). Straight-sided Mason jars are convenient to use and also well-suited for freezing.

Jars with shoulders are inconvenient for storing food, difficult to clean, and often crack when frozen. The neck makes it difficult for food to expand when it is kept in the freezer. 

However, it is suitable for drinks, smoothies, oatmeal, or as a fruit jar!

Mason Jar Size Guide

Finally!

How do we know which Mason jar size is appropriate? It’s essential to know which canning jar sizes are available to us! It is vital to use different-sized mason jars for varying needs.

Ball jar sizes include 2 oz, 4 oz, 8 oz, 12 oz, 16 oz, 24 oz, 32 oz, 64 oz, and 128 oz.

2 oz

A 2-ounce canning jar is the smallest Mason jar size. 

What can you use it for?  

  • Shot glass
  • Party favors
  • Storing small quantities of food
  • Serums
  • Lotions
  • Toiletries

4 oz or Quarter-Pint Mason Jars

The 4 oz Mason jar is often called the Jelly jar because it's mainly used to can jelly. Since it is small in size, it is mostly available as a regular-sized jar.

What can you use it for?

  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Mustard
  • Butters
  • Sauces
  • Flavored Vinegar
  • Spices
  • Small portion snacks for kids

You can also use these small jelly jars to store office supplies, craft materials, and DIY wedding favors.

8 oz or Half-Pint Mason Jars

A half-pint jar holds 8 oz or 1 cup. Mini Mason jars are a practical size for storing small amounts of food.

What can you use it for?

  • Jams 
  • Jellies
  • Fruit Syrups
  • Marmalades
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Chutneys

An old 8 oz mason jar can be used as candles, small vases, or pencil holders.

12 oz or Three-Quarters Pint Mason Jars

These are long, narrow jars that are ideal for produce or sliced veggies that are long in size.

What can you use it for?

  • Can String beans
  • Long produce
  • Jams, jellies, marmalades

You can also use a 12 oz Mason jar as a soap dispenser, lotion pump, toothbrush holder, or store cotton balls, earbuds, etc.

16 oz or Pint Mason Jars

Pint jars or the 16-oz Mason jars are the most common containers used in households. Canning enthusiasts generally prefer Ball Mason jars and Kerr Mason jars!

What can you use it for?

  • Salsas
  • Pie Fillings
  • Fruits
  • Sauces

It’s great for your breakfast recipes, smoothies, DIY home decor ideas, and practically anything!

24 oz or Pint-and-a-Half Mason Jars

The pint-and-a-half jar is perfect for veggies that are long and hard to store in other containers when sliced. The tall version of the 24 oz mason jar is ideal for asparagus.

What can you use it for?

  • Asparagus
  • Pickles
  • Sauces
  • Stews

32 oz or Quart Mason Jars

A 32-oz mason jar is very commonly used for large batches of preserves

What can you use it for?

  • Pickles
  • Sliced veggies and fruits
  • Sauces
  • Salad meals
  • Beverages

64 oz or Half-Gallon Mason Jars

The 64 oz Mason jar is ideal if you store a big batch for your family! Large mason jars are helpful if you plan to preserve food for a year.

What can you use it for?

  • Cucumbers
  • Jalapenos
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • To culture kombucha
  • For storing flour or sugar

128 oz or Gallon Mason Jars

The 128 oz mason jar is the largest size available in the market. Gallon jars are suitable for canning if you want to preserve food on a large scale.

What can you use it for?

At home, if not for canning, you can use it to store:

  • Cereal
  • Nuts
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Juices
  • Fresh lemonade or coffee for parties

Which size is suitable for you? How many Canning Jars should you buy?

It depends on the following factors:

  • The quantity you require for canning
  • The number of members in your family
  • The availability of raw materials (If fresh produce is scarce, you can preserve more in quantity)

If you’re home canning jams or pickles, foods that you eat in smaller quantities, you can start by buying a dozen jars.

You should get Mason jars in bulk if you plan to preserve food all year round. Let's say you consume one Quart jar of fresh vegetables a week; you should buy at least 55 Quart canning jars for a year. You can easily buy wholesale mason jars to avoid the hassle of reordering.

How many lids and bands should you buy?

A fun fact about canning lids and bands is that they come in only 2 sizes. One for regular-mouth jars and one for wide-mouth jars. The Mason jar diameter remains the same for all jars. 

Note: The lid size does not change with the size of the Mason jar.

Also, it would be wise if you did not use a lid more than once while canning. Hence, it's safe to buy lids in bulk. 

It’s safe to buy canning lids at least twice the number of jars. In case of a bad seal, you can always reseal if you have spare lids. 

Store the unused lids properly to use them in the future.

Pro Tip: Always mark the lid with the date you canned the food. It will help you consume your canned food before it gets spoiled or too old to eat! 

It’s recommended to make a ‘Canning Plan’ before you order your Mason jars and lids. Buy different mason jar sizes to experiment and see what works for you! 

You can also tape a mason jar size chart on your refrigerator for easy access!

In case of any queries, you can check out our FAQ section