How to Can in Hex Jars With Lug Lids

July 24, 2013(updated on December 6, 2021)

four sizes of hex jars

Today’s tutorial is a sponsored post from Fillmore Container. They are a jar and closure distributor based in Lancaster, PA and have long been a friend of Food in Jars. In addition to selling traditional mason jars and two-piece lids, they also offer an array of jars designed for commercial preserving, including four sizes of six-sided jars called hex jars. These are the jars we’re going to focus on today. While these jars aren’t approved by the USDA for home canning, they can be safely used in home kitchens for preserves if you know just a few things.

hex jars from the top

These are jars that should only be used with high acid preserves that need short spells in the boiling water bath canner (I try to keep the processing time to 10 minutes when using these jars). That means that I don’t use them for fruit butters or denser jams that need longer stints. They fill and process much like mason jars.

tower of hex jars

Fillmore Container sells four sizes of hex jars. There’s 1.5 ounce (perfect for samples and variety gift baskets), 4 ounces (which is the same size at the smallest quilted jelly jars that Ball makes), 6 ounces (a nice in-between size that you can’t get with a mason jar), and 9 ounces (think of it as a very generous half pint jar). Their faceted sides are smooth, which makes them perfect contenders for all sorts of label and stickers, which is a nice thing if you’re trying to create a more professional or uniform look.

single hex jars

Hex jars use lug lids that are lined with plastisol. The reason they’re best for shorter times in the canner is that the plastisol liner can’t take long periods of heat exposure or extreme heat. So while they’re perfectly safe for short periods of boiling water bath canning, but are a no-go for pressure canning. If you want to preserve low acid foods in jars like these, you use retort lids instead.

filling hex jars

I prep these lug lids the same way I do regular canning jar lids, by warming them with a little simmering water for a few minutes before applying them to the jars. The most important thing to remember with these lids is that you don’t want to tighten them too tightly. A gentle quarter turn is plenty to keep them firmly in place and leaves enough space for the oxygen to escape during processing and cooling.

six hex jars filled with peach and tomato jam

The mouth of these hex jars is a bit smaller than conventional mason jars which means that regular wide mouth funnels don’t work with them. The Kilner wide mouth funnel I featured last week has a slightly smaller opening and so does work with the larger of the hex jars. For the smaller ones, I ladle my product into a spouted measuring cup and use that to fill the jars. It’s not a perfect method, but it’s better than trying to spoon jam into tiny jars. Once your jars are filled, take care to bubble your jars, because those edges at the top like to trap air bubbles. A few gentle taps and a chop stick will do the job.

Once your product is in the jars and the lids are on, everything else about canning in these jars will be familiar to anyone who’s got a batch or two under their belt. The filled jars are lowered into the canning pot and processed for the amount of time called for by the recipe. When the time is up, you pull them out and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. The lids have a button that goes concave as the jars seal, just like two-piece lids have. You know that your jars are sealed when the lids feel solid and don’t wiggle when pressed.

a tiny hex jar of jam

In conjunction with this tutorial, Fillmore Container is hosting a giveaway on their blog. The winner can choose from a 12 count case of  hex jars or 12 sided jars and get to pick out lids to fit (they come in a bunch of colors and hues). Click here to enter their giveaway.

How would you use hex jars in your home canning?

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114 thoughts on "How to Can in Hex Jars With Lug Lids"

  • I’m so excited to see this post! I’ve wondered about using these jars for ages.

    I’d use them for carry-on sized jars and/or small jars to make assortments to share.

  • I have been wondering how to can in hex jars for years! Thank you so much for this tutorial. Now to order some jars specifically for holiday gifts.

    1. Did you click from Feedly or another reader? Try coming directly to this page, then clicking. That’s what worked for me.

  • Wow, thanks, this is great! Would be perfect for samplers of the wine jellies I make, I am thinking!

  • I’ve been wondering for awhile about canning with lug lids/jars, since I see them quite often at farmer’s markets here!

    Curious what’s in those jars? Looks delicious.. and a pretty colour 🙂

    Also, you mentioned that longer processing is an issue for lug lids because of the plastisol.. at my elevation my lowest processing time is 20 minutes. Presumably that’d still be okay?


  • I know this article was about the hex jars themselves…but wow does the filling you use for this tutorial look amazing! yum.

  • OMG, I love these jars. Question, what if you have to adjust water bath time for altitude? I’m at 1300 feet so I usually add an extra 5 minutes. Does that rule me out for these jars?

    P.S. I bought your cookbook and am in LOVE!

      1. What about an even higher altitude? I have to add 10 minutes to everything so I am usually at 20 minutes minimum.

          1. Thank you for your replys on the altitude. Living and canning in Colorado this is always a thought. If I have problems with the extra processing time I will let you know.I sure hope all turns out well as we are hoping to use these jars to give away our homemade apple butter for wedding favors. Again Thanks

  • Can you reuse the lugs? Or does the lining break down? It would be nice to be able to reuse jars from commercially canned food, especially the little jelly jars, like the ones in the last picture!

    1. You don’t want to reuse the lugs because the canning and sealing process does break down the plastisol lining.

  • How would I use these for canning? I wouldn’t. I adore you and your blog but I disagree with you on this one. If you can only use super acidic food that can process in less than 10 minutes, then that is too much margin for error. It is not rated as being safe for home canning for a reason and encouraging otherwise is dangerous and irresponsible.

    1. Sabrina, thank you for your comment, but I must respectfully disagree that I am being irresponsible. First of all, the bulk of the recipes designed for home are high acid ones that process for ten minutes. What’s more, the reason they’re not approved by the USDA has more to do with federal limitations on funds for testing than actual issues around safety. These are jars that commercial producers use for their products, often without any water bath processing at all (hot fill is allowed in commercial settings). Using them in the way I’ve described is perfectly safe

  • Those are so lovely! I’ll have to get a few in my next Filmore order and give one of your small batch recipes at try!

  • I love these jars,they would be great xmas gifts!!!They look prettier than regular canning jars!!!!

  • I need professional help – I look at these jars and I think “Ok, those are ADORABLE.” Here I’ve decided to take a year off from the county fair canning competition, because there isn’t anything I’m particularly proud of this year and also because I flat haven’t been able to do a lot of canning this year. And now I’ve moved into a kitchen I hate, mostly through no fault of my own. And I own enough jars to build a glass house. And yet I can’t stop looking at canning supplies and feeling that old enthusiasm! Darn it, I think I need to make a batch of my peach chutney. . .

  • So glad to see this tutorial! (And glad that the way I’ve been winging it has been accurate!)

    These jars are awesome for gifting. I don’t need anything so fancy for my own personal use, but they make a really nice presentation for Christmas or teacher gifts. Fingers crossed!

  • Let’s ask Fillmore to have someone start making 63mm lug lids with the retort lining! Then, there would be no question about safety, or processing time.

  • These would be great for gifting – especially for recipients who have no particular love of our regular canning jars. Great possibilities, now that I know for sure.


  • I was just wondering about these! I really want to use the tiny 1.5 oz jars for presents and samplers. I like to think of them as jam shots 😉

  • Oh, if only this giveaway had been posted before sour cherry season ended – my homemade maraschino cherries would look divine in the hex jars. But peach jam is still to come, and your spiced peach jam was the hit of my Christmas presents last year, so that is what I’d put in these jars.

    I don’t seem to have much luck with one-piece lids, however – even after following your instructions posted a year or so ago. Would like to try with lug lids, tho – one of these times I’ll get it.

  • I had never occurred to me that you could safely can in anything other than a Mason jar, so thank you for enlightening me! I would love to try these jars out for chutney, which I love to give as gifts and the hex-sided jars would add a lot of class.

  • These are great! I’d love the 6 ounce size because it is nice little gift size. And any lid…I’m just not that picky!

  • I love the idea of using the small hex jars for lemon and other citrus curds (high-acid + short processing time = ok for lug lids, if I’ve read correctly). I love to give these away at Christmas but they’re labor-intensive and my list of recipients seems to grow longer each year. Is it cheap to want to give away smaller jars so I have to make less? 🙂 Anyway, independent of that, there’s something classy about the hex jar look. I think they’d look great under the tree, and the small jars would fit in a stocking better than a pint or half-pint traditional jar.

    1. Hi Christine
      I was thinking of trying these jars for curds too. I have never canned curd and wondered about doing that safely w eggs involved. Do you have any curd recipes for canning that you would consider sharing. I was also think king of caramel sauce for dessert toppings but have heard that’s a no no. Any
      thoughts? Thanks. Anne

      1. Hi Anne,

        Sorry, I just saw you’d replied to my comment! I made lemon curd for several years that was unprocessed and had to be refrigerated, and had the same question as you did about the eggs! But it turns out citrus curds can be processed just fine (though I’d use a recipe that specifies that step, just to be safe). Marisa actually has an excellent Meyer Lemon Curd recipe in her book, aptly named Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round. That’s the one I use – though I cheat and use regular lemons sometimes. 🙂

  • I have wanted to try these jars for quite a while. I’ve never had the nerve to spend the money to buy them and then try my canning prowess.

  • I live in colorado at an altitude that you suggest 10 minutes extra in the bath. Does that rule these jars out for me? Our elevation is over 5000 feet.

  • Marissa, could you just clarify something for me about this process. You say not to put the lids on too tightly so the air can escape but do you then tighten the lids fully once the contents have cooled?

  • Thank you for posting this! I, too, have wondered if it was possible to can at home with these jars. I look forward to trying it now!

  • This has been so helpful! I’m glad to have found your site! I was curious though- I make mustards and they tend to have a fairly short time in the canning bath, do you think these jars would be appropriate for that? I have only used two piece jars in the past, but I’d really like to try these! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  • I am hoping to win these wonderful Jars they will work wonderfully for the jams i make my husband and he prefers homemade jam to store bought jams and jellies.They will also work for my facial scrubs i make.

  • I don’t understand why these lids won’t work in pressure canning. Aren’t these the same lids that most commercial processors use? Their heating processes are probably longer than ten minutes. Ay thoughts?

    1. Commercial processors use lids lined with a different material that is more able to withstand the higher heat. What’s more, most low acid foods aren’t canned in jars using lug lids. More often, they’re done in cans.

  • Hi! I am seeking a bit more info. Before the water bath, should I screw my lug lids on loosely as with two piece lids, or as tight as I can?

    1. You only want to tighten the lids until you feel the sealing compound come into contact with the rims of the jars. If you tighten them too tightly, the air won’t be able to escape.

  • Hi! I just processed some 1.5oz jelly jars with the same type of lug lids. Do they concave at all after processing? I have looked everywhere on the internet and they all look the same as before processing. I’m worried they did not seal properly. They did not ‘ping’ either. I made sure the rims were extremely clean and I tightened just a little bit to feel the lid make contact with the jar. I don’t think I tightened too much as when I tried to tighten less, those lids floated off soon after going in the hot water. I did further tighten after processing for 10 mins. The jars are cooling now and I haven’t got the nerve to disturb them. If I press the top after cooled, if sealed properly then it should not wiggle at all?

    1. You aren’t going to get the same ping with the lug lids, but they should feel like they’ve gone a bit concave. Once cool, do press on the lids. If there’s absolutely no give, you should be ok.

    1. I imagine they would be okay. That processing time is on the longer side of things, but they should be able to withstand it.

  • My understanding of your article is that the jars should be processed only briefly because of the limitations of the lid. But I have a number of Atlas Mason jars that held Classico pasta sauce and cheese sauce, and they all have the lug lids. I was thinking of buying some of these from Fillmore Container (I checked out that company’s website only a few minutes ago) so as to use the Atlas jars, but I process my homemade pasta sauces in hot water for longer than 10 minutes–more like 30. If these lug lids won’t handle the heat, how is it that Classico is able to process pasta sauce in them?

    There’s likely something about commercial canning that I don’t understand, given that I’m only a home canner. Still, I’d like to know how the process is so different that I can’t use these jars (and Fillmore’s lids).


  • Hi,
    I’m starting a small jam production and in the process of doing research I came across your blog. I’m wondering about ” While these jars aren’t approved by the USDA for home canning, they can be safely used in home kitchens for preserves if you know just a few things.” This is not something I have thought about, or anyone has mentioned to me, that I couldn’t use certain jars. Does this mean, I can’t use these jars in a licensed residential kitchen to sell wholesale? Any information about this that you know of would be much appreciated. I couldn’t find anything on the USDA about canning at home to sell.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Katya, the regulations for commercial production vary from region to region. You need to check with your local health board to determine the regs for your area.

  • I know this is an old thread, but I used those hex jars from Fillmore container and canned salsa and apple butter to give as favors for my oldest daughter’s wedding. They were a huge hit and I didn’t find using them to be very much different than using the “ring and flat” type closures. I only had two that did not seal, and I reprocessed them with new lids.

    Now, the real reason I’m here, this recipe sounds delicious. My granddaughter and I are looking for new recipes to enter at the County Fair, this might be a big winner, so thanks!

  • I realize this is an old post, but I just tried canning with hex jars and lug lids and it was a failure! On the first batch, none of them sealed and a lid came off in the BWB. On the second try, one sealed as soon as I took it out of the BWB, two lids came off in the bath and the rest just didn’t seal (and had a lot of condensed water on the bottom of the lids when I removed, but didn’t appear to have taken in water from the bath).

    I simmered the lids ~ 10 minutes, processed 10 minutes (from start of boil), let sit in the bath for 5 minutes afterwards. The headspace was uniformly ~1/4 inch in all jars, no air bubbles and I attempted to tighten each lid exactly the same.

    Was I not tightening them enough maybe? Or too much? I tightened just until I could feel the lid connect to the jar. I tried on one to tighten further to see how much space was left, and it could only go a hair more, and it was then very tight.

    Thanks for any help! 🙁

    1. If a lid came off in a BWB canner, you did not tighten them enough. Some lug lids also require that you invert the jars when they come out of the canner. I suggest flipping them upside down as you take them out when next you use these jars. Leave them that way for 10-15 minutes.

      1. I suspected that’s what the lost lids meant. I’ll give them a little more tightness and try again, and do the flip as well!

        Love these jars so I hope I can work it out. Thanks so much for the reply!

      2. Hi, so sorry to bother you again, but I’ve been trying to can with these lug lids again and it’s making me feel stupid 🙁 I inverted them which got them all to seal. I was soooooo happy but then when I looked a little bit of jam was leaking down the side of each, and when I opened them the seal was weak and had jam all on the lid (inside and outside, around the threads).

        I tried again to do it again, this time without inverting and I noticed that the impression left on the plastisol by the rim of the jar on the ones that didn’t seal was partial but light or incomplete. Does this give any clue as to the problem? 🙁

        1. Sammy, I don’t know what to tell you. How long are you letting the jars sit before you test the seals? And are you sure you’re twisting the lids on tightly enough?

          1. It isn’t enough head space. I have been canning using these lids for over 9 years, since when I first found Fillmore Container as a source for jars. I have found a few things out since using them. Too little head space and the contents tend to expand out and the lid seals get contaminated with food and won’t seal. too much head space and sometimes enough vacuum is not created during cooling to get a good seal..A bit tricky.
            I now do something very different. I fill my water bath just below the jars lid, place the lids on barely snug, process, then remove hot jars and tighten the lids tight,using pot holders, then return them inverted to process 10 more minutes to seal her the lids and tops of the jars. I fill the pot with my tea kettle over the jars (bottoms up) when I do this. 99% success rate this way, just do not over fill!

    2. Try the plastisol coated lids. they are designed for food. the non-coated ones should not be used for canning as they are metal surface and have no sealing mechanism.

  • I have been using lug lids with pasta jars this year. I did not know that I could not pressure-can in them because they were used commercially for pasta. I have been pressure canning with them, and have not had any problems. I just process them like regular quarts. All have sealed fine, and I have used the products even after a month or two. Which retort lids do you recommend for the lug lid jars? I suppose I should order those. I love the convenience and cost-savings of using the pasta jars. Plus, they look very nice because they are plain with no writing on them.

    1. Donna, you need to contact your local jar distributor to determine which lids are recommended for pressure canning. They will know.

  • Thanks so much for this post, Marisa! I just ordered a bunch of hex jars to make favors for my shower/wedding and then realized I hadn’t used the lug lids before. Very clear directions.

  • Thank you so much for this quick tutorial. I recently bought a case of 1.5 oz jars with the lug lids, and needed to know how exactly to waterbath them. Glad to see there isn’t any difference between using them vs their 2-part canning lid counterparts.

  • Hiya. I’m brand new to canning! I made A LOT of pesto and bought little 1.5oz jars with plastisol lids from a different brand. These lids don’t have the buttons that will visually show me that I’ve sealed the jars properly. So, after I’ve removed my jars from the boiling bath and let them sit to cool, do I wait an hour or two before testing opening a few tops to see if I was successful? If I get a good “pop”, I’ve don’t it right? Is that correct?

    1. Pesto is not safe for canning. So any pesto you’ve processed needs to be refrigerated promptly or discarded. However, for the future, the lids should be visibly concave, even without the buttons.

        1. Because it is low in acid. Botulism loves low acid environments. You seriously need to do some reading about safe canning practices.

  • One more question…you mention that plastisol lids don’t hold up in prolonged high heat—does this also mean that they are only good for one use?

  • Would the 1.5 oz hexagon jars work well for vinegar-based BBQ sauces? We are thinking of giving out little favors of BBQ sauce (that will be provided from our wedding food vendor — they make their own sauces in-house) and putting them in those mini jars. I would imagine we will need to can/preserve them once in the jars — how long should it be boiled? Thanks!

    1. They would work and they’d still need to be processed for 10 minutes. That is the minimum for sterilization.

    1. I haven’t, but I’ve heard from others who have. Try closing them a bit tighter before processing and inverting them for a short period of time after processing.

    1. I find that lemon curd does better in the freezer than canned. But as long as you do the water bath process, the lemon curd has a shelf life of six months once canned.

  • Can they be used for dry storage such as for rice and beans? The jars only are heated for sterilization [typically dry heat in the oven]

  • I’ve just started using these this year and your tips have helped. However, I’ve had an issue getting the small jars to seal. I don’t tighten the lids too much and process them like I normally do. The 8 ounce jars seal with no issues (maybe 1 out of 40 don’t seal with processing), but the 3.7 ounce jars I’m failing with. Any tips?

    1. It could be that those smaller jars need some additional force to seal. Try inverting them once they come out of the water bath. It might help.

  • Marisa my dilemma is , I boil my jams with lug lid jars in the water bath for 10 minutes .When I open the jars after couple of days, and compare the jams in the jar and some leftover jam that I didn’t put in water bath, I see that colour of my jams in the jar are much darker, not as bright and clear as the ones I didn’t water bath, They have lost their beautiful color. Have you had same problem I’m having? I wander if the jams in the jar are continue to cook in the water bathWhen they are boiling.

  • I made apple butter. I was using the hexagon jars with the lug nut tops. I left 1/4 space at the top. I put the tops on and used a wire rack and dropped them in the bath I processed them for 10 min. When I opened the cover to the pot the tops had popped off all but 4 . Why did this happen now I am afraid to use them. What could have gone wrong?

    1. It sounds like you didn’t tighten the lids tightly enough. Lug lids require a tighter closure than two piece lids do.

  • Could I please get clarification on how tight to tighten the lid? When using regular round canning jars you tighten the lid then turn back a quarter turn. When I read the above directions I get the impression that you only tighten the lid enough that it just holds on to the ribs of the jar rather than tighten then loosen (like the round jars. Would you please clarify? Thank you!

    1. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information that you loosen the rings a quarter turn with regular canning jars. The rule of thumb is that you tighten them with as much pressure as you can exert with the tips of your fingers.

      With these lids, you want to turn them until they grasp the jar. Lug lids are very hard to overtighten, so give them a good, solid turn.

  • i am wondering how do you tell if a lug jar lid has been used and is it ok to use them again, as in sealing honey in jars. it does not require processing but a professional seal is ideal,

    1. Typically there will be some staining or sealing compound imprintation if the lid has been used. If you want the honey to be sealed, you would still need to heat process. The lids do not produce a seal without processing.

  • I apologize my daughter decided to type with me. What I meant to say is, can you dry can rice and pinto beans with these jars and lids? I’m having a hard time finding a solid answer regarding these jars. Thank you for your time.

    1. I wouldn’t use these for dry canning. It can be a little harder to determine whether they’ve sealed, and since oven canning often produces a more discreet seal, these might leave you wondering whether you got a seal at all.

  • Would these be acceptable to can syrups in? I wanted to make some different syrups for cocktails and desserts, such as rose and lavender?

  • I just wanted to clarify that you pull the jars out after the 10 minutes as opposed to with other jars that you leave in for five more minutes with the heat and lid off.

    1. Leaving the jars in the water for an additional five minutes is a fairly new step in the canning process. When this post was initially written, it was not the norm. If you want to leave the jars in the pot for an additional five minutes, it won’t do any harm and might even help.