Is It Safe To Can Homemade Chili, Soups, and Stews?

Question from a reader:

I’ve heard a lot of other people saying that they like to whip up a huge batch of their favorite chili or soup and can the leftovers for a stash of easy convenience foods in a jar. Jackie Clay from Back Woods Home has said that it’s safe to can soup or your own recipe of chili (beans and all) as long as you process it in a pressure canner at 10 lbs pressure for 90 minutes for quart sized jars.

I guess I’m wondering though, how do you know what is okay to can? I know there are some things that aren’t too tasty to put in a jar, like broccoli for instance. Sometimes the flavor changes after being canned. Sometimes things just turn to mush. Would I just have to learn through trial and error?

Does anybody know any “rules” about canning your own recipes for quick convenience meals? Would I just base my processing times on the ingredient that needs to be canned the longest (like, if there’s chicken in the soup then I would process the jars for as long as chicken by itself needs to be processed, since meat needs more time than veggies)?

How do you experienced canners do it?

canned beef stew


Yes, it is safe to can soup, stew, and chili you’ve made at home from scratch as long as you are processing them in a pressure canner (no exceptions!). There are, however, a few things to take into consideration.

Generally, you can can anything at home that you see canned at the grocery store except for “cream of…” soups and anything really thick, like refried beans.

Some Tips

Use a tested recipe

Yes, your Grandma Millie’s homemade chicken noodle soup may absolutely delicious, but you don’t want to get sick because the canning times are unclear.

Use a recipe that has been tried and true, preferably one from a food preservation book, like the Ball Blue Book of Canning. Don’t have one of these books? You can also find some good recipes online on the Ball website or through other sources.

For best results, use the recommendations from the USDA website. They have published guidelines on how to perfectly pressure can soups and stews, and allow for some variation for extra thickening or added ingredients.

You can substitute certain meats or vegetables, but make sure you don’t add any pasta, rice, or dairy because this will affect your canning safety.

Don’t add dry beans or peas to soups.

Make sure you rehydrate (or boil) them first. Beans become mushy when processed, and don’t cook evenly. This will prevent your jars from being heated evenly and can allow bacteria or mold to flourish.

If you want to add beans, rehydrate them first by boiling each cup with three cups of water for at least two minutes. After removing them from the heat, soak them for an hour, heat them to boiling again, and then drain.

If you are canning soups or chili that contain fully cooked beans they may get over-processed when canned, resulting in very mushy beans. If possible, it’s best to can beans that have only been cooked for 30 minutes or so.

Try to time your boiling times so that they reach a boil, but don’t remain boiling for too long. Because of the accuracy of time needed, beans can be tricky when you want to can already cooked leftovers – but not impossible! Just keep the resulting texture in mind.

Be very careful when adding rice or pasta to soups.

Like beans, these foods get very thick once they’ve been processed, and can prevent the soup from being heated adequately in the center of the jar, leading to an increased risk of botulism.

I’ll talk more about botulism later, but basically, it’s much safer to add rice or pasta to the soup when reheating it from the jar.

Wash and Peel

Wash, peel, and cook your vegetables just like you would if you were hot-packing the ingredient by itself.

5. Your meats should be cooked before including them in a soup. Usually, this involves covering them with water and cooking them until tender. A good way to do this is in the Crock Pot or slow cooker, so that you can let the meat sit overnight. It will literally fall off the bones! Make sure you remove each and every bone so that you don’t end up with any unpleasant additions to your soup.

6. While you should cook all of the meat in your soup or chili and at least blanch the vegetables, you should avoid fully cooking the soup. This doesn’t necessarily cause any harm to you or your health, but it can make your soup mushier and blander than you might like.

7. This may seem counter-intuitive, but only fill the jars about halfway with solids. The rest of the jar needs to be filled with hot liquid (like broth or water) but make sure you leave at least an inch of headspace.

8. Go easy on herbs and spices, as these tend to get stronger after the canning process. Especially hot spices. You can always add more spices to home-canned chili, soups, and stews when you’re ready to eat them.

9. There are some ingredients that can be problematic when adding them to homemade canned soups or stews. Thickening agents, like flour or cornstarch, settle unevenly in a soup and can cause unbalanced heat distribution. Wait to add any thickening agent until you are ready to eat the soup. The exception is if you are using a recipe that includes a thickening agent approved for home canning, like Clear Jel.

10. Don’t pack jars too tightly. Unlike some other foods you might can, there needs to be plenty of space in the jars for hot liquid to circulate. Some foods, like broccoli, cauliflower, and squash, aren’t good ingredients for this reason, because they pack too closely together and can interfere with safe processing.

home canned chili

The Most Important Factor

While all of the tips that I’ve mentioned are incredibly important for creating delicious home-canned soups, chili, and stews, this is the most crucial part of the canning process: you have to use a pressure canner.

It’s completely safe to can meats and vegetables together. Just be sure you are using a pressure canner!

A water bath canner, which you may have used for pickles, fruits, or jams, simply is not a safe tool to use when canning anything with low acidity. Soups, chili, and stews definitely fall into this category (with the possible exception of plain tomato soup, as tomatoes are high in acid).

The only safe way to can anything with low acidity (which includes all vegetables and all meats) is to use a pressure canner. If you don’t have a pressure canner, stick to freezing your homemade concoctions.

Process pints for 75 minutes, quarts for 90 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure. (If you live above 1,000 ft. in elevation, increase to 15 pounds.) Any kind of meat can be canned: wild game, pork, chicken, beef, fish, you name it!

You can use fresh, frozen (thawed), or even dehydrated foods to make your soups, etc. for canning.

If you’re afraid that your stew is too thick, you can always add some broth to loosen it up.

Always make sure your chili, soup, or stew is heated just to a light boil before ladling it into warm, clean canning jars.

How do I Know It’s Safe to Eat?

Here are some guidelines to make sure you don’t get yourself or your family sick.

1. First, be aware of the risks of botulism (which I mentioned earlier). Botulism is a very dangerous form of food poisoning, which can be deadly. It’s nothing to mess around with.

The spores of this bacteria, known as Clostridium botulinum, can survive normal cooking temperatures, so even if you reheat your canned soup before eating it, botulism could still be alive.

This is why you need to use a pressure canner when preserving soups – the extra heat (which is created via pressure, instead of boiling water), destroys the spores so that they cannot develop into bacteria cells and become toxic.

Otherwise, your jars, when sitting at room temperature and without enough acid to kill the spores, will become breeding grounds for bacteria and sickness.

2. Avoid using rotten produce, wash fresh foods before handling, cut away bad spots, and only use fresh meat or meat that hasn’t been thawed for more than 2 days. Remember, the most important factor in canning any product is the overall quality of your ingredients.

3. Always wash canning jars in hot, soapy water before filling them, then simmer them for 10 minutes in a pot of water or run them through the dishwasher to sanitize the jars.

4. Wash lids and rings with hot soapy water before canning. While it’s okay to reuse rings, you should never reuse lids, as this can contaminate your food. Reused lids often fail to reseal, and it’s sometimes unnoticeable during and even after canning.

5. Always handle food with clean hands and clean tools.

6. Heat the food just to a boil before ladling into clean jars.

7. Process meats and veggies in a pressure canner at the appropriate time and temperature.

8. Allow the jars to cool for 24 hours before making sure the lids are sealed properly before storing them.

9. Store the foods out of direct sunlight, protected from extreme temperatures. Ideally, you should store them in temperatures between forty and sixty degrees Fahrenheit. The lower the temperature, the longer they’ll keep – unless they are exposed to freezing temperatures, in which case your jars can crack. Keep them up off the ground so they aren’t exposed to temperature extremes or condensation, and rotate your jars as often as possible.

10. Make sure that the lid cannot be easily pulled off by hand before you consume the food in the jar. (Sometimes lids become unsealed after being stored for a while.)

11. Never consume home canned foods that have mold growing in the jars, have a funny smell, or the lid is bulging.

12. Reheat canned foods to a simmer for 10 minutes before consuming.

13. Never can soups containing cream or dairy. While it’s safe to consume canned cream soups, like cream of mushroom or cream of chicken, from the grocery store, the technologies used for commercial canning are different from those used by home canners. Their ingredients interfere with the way heat is distributed during processing, and you can get extremely sick. Instead, freeze these soups.

14. Only use ingredients that are safe to be canned. This sounds obvious, but it’s an easy tip to forget when you’re busy processing, packing, and preparing your canned foods! For example, cabbage and eggplant don’t have demonstrated safe methods of canning. Therefore, you should never include them in a soup, chili, or stew that you plan to can at home. Either leave the ingredients out of your soup, or stick to freezing.

15. Make sure you adjust for altitude! If you live at a higher altitude, your pressure can have up to a four or five-pound difference in pressure. Failing to adjust for altitude may mean your soup does not preserve safely.

How Can I Tell if My Food Has Gone Bad?

It’s best to consume home canned foods within the first year for the best taste and nutritional value, however, they’ll still be for good many years down the road. I typically try to eat up our canned foods within 5 years.

That being said, some may last for slightly longer. Interestingly, canned goods found from the sunken steamboat Bertrand, which sank in the Missouri River, had no microbial growth when they were found, even though they were at least a hundred years old!

Of course, the food had very little flavor and didn’t look too appealing, but the message here is that some canned foods last a very long time.

Just make sure you are educated in the tell-tale signs that your canned food has gone bad. Foods can go bad quicker than expected, such as if you store them at the wrong temperature or you drop the cans and a hole or crack in the jar forms. Signs you should toss the food, instead of risk contamination, include:


Some noise when you open the can is normal. This just means the vacuum seal is being released. However, if you hear a hissing sound that is extremely loud, or before you have even opened the jar, this could be a sign of toxic gas produced by bacteria.


If the lid on your can bulges, or if there is any swelling or pressure, this is not safe. Often, lids will bulge as soon as they are canned – if that’s the case, pop them in your fridge and eat within a week, or re-can them.


This one is okay if it’s just on the bands, but if the rust has spread to anywhere else on the jar, exercise caution. Metals can leach into your food and cause long-term illness. If it’s just the bands you are worried about, keep in mind you can twist them off as soon as the foods are canned – the lids will protect the food just fine.

Leaking fluid

If your jars are leaking any liquid, or have any sticky areas, toss them. This is why it’s important to wipe down your jars before you store them.

If there’s any liquid on the jar immediately after canning, that’s just some debris from the canner and is nothing to worry about. However, if you don’t wipe your jars down right away, it can be tough to tell whether the seepage is old or new.

Volcanic action

If you open a can of soup and it immediately erupts all over your countertop, like an uncontrolled geyser, it’s time to toss it. This signals a build-up of pressure caused by agitated bacteria.

Stinky smell

Just like any other spoiled food, spoiled canned soups will smell bad. They might smell overly metallic or acidic, so don’t just sniff for that “rotten” smell. Be hyper-vigilant to avoid food poisoning.


Bubbles on the surface of the can after it’s just been opened aren’t necessarily a bad sign. However, if you see bubbles inside the jar, or if it’s foaming, toss it. Bubbles are caused by bacteria releasing waste products – ew.


Some soups and foods naturally discolor when heated. For example, green beans always get paler. But if your food is a different color than it was when you stored it, it could be contaminated by bacteria, fungi, or metals.

Mold growth

Obviously, mold is a no-go and will be a pretty obvious sign of contamination. Sometimes, it can be hard to spot in soups, which already have a variety of colors and textures going on.

However, if your food appears mushier than normal, that is a sign of mold. Don’t just scrape the mold off the top – get rid of the whole jar and try again.

This article contains tons of information on the dangers of canning your own soup, but at the end of the day, don’t let that information deter you! Canning your own soups, chili, and stews is a great way to preserve a bountiful harvest, as well as to provide premade healthy meals for your family.

You’ll stay healthier, as homemade soups have far less sodium and other additives than store-bought soups, and also save some time and money. You’ll appreciate the hot, delicious broth this winter, and you won’t even have to lift a finger later on!

153 thoughts on “Is It Safe To Can Homemade Chili, Soups, and Stews?”

  1. Looking for info on canning soups with store bought Hunts Tomato sauce. I have made chili with meat and beans and Hunts Tomato Sauce in Qt jars. heated it at 15 psi for 90 mins. Looking into making Hamburger soup also using Hunts Tomato Soup with potatoes, carrots, canned corn, canned green beans, canned peas and canned butter beans, cauliflower and broccoli. If shouldnt use tomato sauce can I use in its place Hunts Tomato soup?

  2. I have a pressure canner from Zavor. It cans under pressure but does not have the gauge.
    Is it safe to can with it? I always do the recommended times. If it is not safe, why would they be for sale.

    • It seems like yours is a pressure cooker instead of pressure canner. Sometimes the shops or Amazon kind of sellers don’t know the difference and use the terms indiscriminately. Make sure you buy it from a trusted place. Pressure canner should always have something that allows you to control and check the pressure. I would use yours just for water bath and cooking nice soups and stews to be on the safe side, botulism is something you don’t want to cross paths with! Hope it helped. 😉

  3. Kendra, I have mistakenly canned my quarts of green beans for 20 min instead of 25. I’ve been advised by 3 different people to can again for 25 min, or can for 5 more min or just leave them as they are. I’m confused. What would you do?
    Your website is wonderful!

  4. I have been working on soup and chili all day. Now I see that you are suppose to use a pressure cooker. I have done them in a hot water bath. Sure hope they will be alright. My Mom canned for years only doing a hot water bath. No one ever got sick. I don’t like the pressure cookers, never have used one. As a kid a girl in school had one blow up in her face. That was enough for me to not ever want to use one.

    • You CANNOT can low-acid foods, especially meats, in a water bath! If no one got sick that just means you got lucky. If you don’t like pressure cookers, stick to high acid foods that are safe for water bath canning.

    • 5th generation canner.. i have used water bath same as my mother grandmother,great-grandmother and great- great grandmother..we have done every type of meat and vegetable in water bathe and i dont think any of the generations
      before even owned a pressure canner.. so just because the FDA says it isnt safe you didnt “dodge the bullet”.. the FDA will tell you salt bought in stores expires in one year on the shelf.. yet it takes millions of years sitting in the ground and doesnt expire.. HMMMM.. yea i dont trust the FDA.. i trust true and tried factual canning..good luck to ya..

      • I am thoroughly disgusted by the arrogant uninformed comments by people throwing low-acid food in jars, putting the jar in boiling water, and actually serving that potentially fatal crap to their families. It only takes one bad batch – these anti-science “I know more than all the experts in the world over the past SEVENTY YEARS” people are going to sick or kill someone.

        “DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – As another canning season approaches, it might be worth taking a moment to remember the story of Edward and Delphine Hein. The couple threw a dinner party 80 years ago at their farmstead two miles northeast of Grafton, N.D.

        Delphine served a salad sprinkled with peas she had canned herself.

        Within days, 12 people and later a 13th would fall ill and die, including the Heins and three of their six children…………

        Authorities determined the peas were to blame. They were contaminated by toxins produced by the clostridium botulinum bacteria, which causes botulism poisoning………..The sad episode wasn’t an isolated incident, said Julie Garden-Robinson, a food and nutrition specialist with the Extension Service at North Dakota State University.

        She said a similar thing happened in South Dakota around the same time.

        In that case, she said, four people died of botulism after eating green beans, which, like peas, are low in acid.

        Low-acid foods like vegetables and meats should be canned using a pressure canner, which can achieve temperatures needed to kill dangerous spores, Garden-Robinson said.

        • Thank you. Interesting, that in the Metro Detroit area, Trini and Carmen’s restaurant poisoned a reported 58 people, many of whom were hospitalized – I lived in the area at the time and remember it vividly, as I knew 2 of the people who had eaten there and were hospitalized because of IMPROPER CANNING METHODS like the two people here talking about water baths for *meat* (@!P)(U@#()!!!!!)

          1977: Trini & Carmen’s hot sauce

          One of the largest botulism outbreaks in U.S. history occurred in Pontiac, Michigan. Customers of Mexican restaurant Trini & Carmen’s reported symptoms of food poisoning in March. The source was tracked to hot sauce made from improperly home-canned jalapeño peppers. Within days, the restaurant was closed and jars of contaminated peppers were seized. No were reported deaths, but 58 people became ill with BOTULISM – and it wasn’t even meat, it was peppers.

      • I totally agree with you! my family has done the same for generations! my granny and my mother never used pressure cookers to can just a water bath and none of us ever got sick even with 5 yr old cans of chili and spaghetti sauces and squashes.

        • How fortunate! There were thousands who were not so lucky, and it could easily happen to you. it’s like diving off the roof for fun.

      • You’re 100% correct. That’s all my family ever used for canning deer , beef , chicken …Never had an issue . My grandma, grandpa and father used the water method. No pressure cooker

        • Did they forego brakes and seatbelts in their cars, as well? Not everyone who rides a Harley and doesn’t wear a helmet, or those in cars with bad brakes and no seatbelts, or even those who drive drunk, die or kill others. Just those who do these kind of things – or jump off roofs – and are not as lucky as your (!*!*!*!) family who used a not-method for unsafely canning food.

      • Do tell everyone that you’ll be glad to sell everything you have to help their families after they eat some of your not-canned poisonous food.

      • People do get sick from disregarding professional advice on home canned soup. The University of Florida Extension provides these American figures for 5 years from 2008 to 2013 [12] :

        2008. West Virginia, home canned sausage soup (1 deceased from botulism)
        2009. California, home canned soup. (1 case of botulism)
        2011. California, home canned soup. (1 case of botulism)
        2011. California, home canned potato soup. (1 case of botulism)
        2011. Georgia, home canned potato soup. (1 case of botulism)
        2012. New Jersey, home canned soup. (1 case of botulism)

        Not so much for you to see, since you’ll improperly can and put people who eat the stuff risk regardless of evidence, just like people who like to jump off roofs and play Russian Roulette; this info is for anyone who comes along and thinks your bogus claim to being a canner is true.

  5. Hi Kendra!
    If I make chili in a crock pot and it normally takes a good 10 hours for the beans to be fully cooked; if I want to can this chili, should I only cook the chili for maybe 7-8 hours instead, so the beans aren’t completely done? Will the beans finish cooking during the pressure cooking?
    How long and how many pounds for quart jars?

    • Best way to make chili for canning is to follow the Ball Blue Book recipe. It is found on the Blue Book website, and also of course, in the book. The chili is actually cooked just THIRTY minutes – please check out the Blue Book site and see how quick it is to make home-canned chili!

  6. You say not to can noodles or rice because it gets too thick. I just tried pressure canning some “baby food” for my special needs son. It’s basically a roast beef dinner, all blended up. I canned it at 10 pounds for 75 minutes in my new pressure canner and all of the jars overflowed so I had to reprocess. This time only 3 of the 15 jars didn’t seal but several of them overflowed and still sealed. What am I doing wrong? It’s like it’s too hot or too much pressure.

    • There isn’t enough space for the moisture to circulate in the blended food. I would suggest canning the dinner with it unblended, then blend it prior to serving. That should avoid the over flow and the possibility of not heating correctly.

  7. I make my spaghetti sauce (we call it Gravy or spaghetti gravy here). Anyway, when I make mine I make it in the Crock-Pot with sausage. My question is should I can the sausage separate from the gravy or can I can them together? I have pressure canner.

  8. Can I pressure cook my dried beans (red beans with meat and seasoning ) for 30 min
    Then pressure can it in Pint canning jars for 75 mins

  9. I don’t have a pressure canner, but would like to know if I can use the old fashioned ones to can leftover chili. If so, how long do I need to process this or, do I just need to heat the chili and just put it in hot jars.

  10. I was doing inventory on my home-canned goods, and they looked good, all the way back to 2012. Yes, I know I’d better use them up, now. However, I got to the back of one shelf, and came across chili con carne I’d canned in quart jars in April of 2017. All 6 of them were compromised – lost seals, white or black growth on the top of the chili … ugh!! Of course, I threw it all away (garbage disposal), washed the jars, and put them in the dishwasher for a second, hotter wash. I am determined to learn from this. I used commercially canned red kidney beans, diced tomatoes, paste and sauce, ground beef, and commercially produced packets of seasoning. I believe 2 things went wrong: in the seasoning packets were the thickening agents, comprised of fine cornmeal, possibly flour, as well as plenty of hot pepper. The thickeners did the job, producing a nice thick chili, but of course, too thick to heat up sufficiently to kill the pathogens. Lesson learned: thicken upon opening the home-canned chili, not before canning, and keep an eye on just how thick it is (sans thickening agents). I don’t think the commercially canned beans were the problem. It surely does hurt when you’ve spent the time and money to preserve tasty, healthy meals, and thought you’d followed protocol, only to have to destroy the product. I understand botulism is odorless and not necessarily noticeable, so I am grateful the spoilage was obvious (and probably not botulism, which grows in an anaerobic environment). Of course, I sterilized the jars, the chili was heated well, and I processed it according to directions. The jars sealed well, too, at the time. Live and learn (can’t die and learn!)

  11. I just got my first pressure canner, and a few of my questions have been answered, mostly the “add cooked rice when reheating” part, which is simple since I usually add the rice after I make the bace sauce. Also the “fresher is better” thing for beans (we use black beans in some of our recipes, but not a ton (think tortilla soup level)

    I just wanted to thank you for this

  12. I use tomato paste and/or tomato sauce in my chilli and stew. Since that adds acid, can I water bath or do I still need to use a pressure canner?

  13. Hi! I want to can my chili, but use 2 cans of Bush’s Chili Beans as part of my recipe. I am reading that I shouldn’t use precooked beans. Do I need to change my recipe? Thanks!

    • my mom used to can the chili when she made it and with the 90 minutes it was great. it lasted for years. not that it should be kept around that long but a few jars got pushed to the back accidentally and they were fine. she used water bath canning and there were no problems. regular ingredients burger and beans were in it and they kept their seals. to be quite honest 2 jars got lost and weren’t found for 10 years. I opened them and that seal popped like it was done yesterday. then I threw it out because I wasn’t going to use something that old. I just wanted to know if the seal was in tact and it was.

      • Are you trying to get someone killed? Water bath canning chilli? That’s just irresponsible and you should be ashamed of yourself.

            • Botulism is rare, but it does occur, and it is deadly. You’re playing Russian Roulette when you can low acid foods in a water bath canner. It’s not worth the risk. Back in the day they didn’t know what we know now about botulism and how to prevent it. Now that we know we don’t have an excuse to put anyone at risk of death by serving dangerously prepared canned foods.

            • I would just like to add… Meat, veggies, food in general was better quality ‘back in the day’. We have to worry about all sorts of ‘debris’ arriving on our vegetables and meats that could possibly kill us fresh from the grocery store nowadays. I imagine the margin for error was a bit greater back when Grandmother did her canning – Today? Forget about short-cuts.

            • My Mom always hot water bathed her chili but her rule was all meats and vegetables need to be hot water bathed for no less that 3 hrs.. my family and community has done that for generations.

    • When you open the chili to serve it you can heat the other canned beans at that time. things like Bush’s beans would turn to mush and hinder the boiling in the jars during pressure canning since they are already pressure canned.

    • The only thickener that should be used during canning is clear-jel, not the same as sure jel. If your sauce is too thick, the heat from pressure canning cannot reach the center of the jars, and botulism spores would not be destroyed. Flour and cornstarch are no longer considered safe in recipes.
      For recipes that need thickening, it’s best to can them minus the thickening agent, and add it at time of heating your jars to eat.

  14. Hi,
    Thanks for this great post about canning homemade soups and chili.
    I am completely new to pressure canning – only canned a with the water bath method until now.
    My pressure canner is arriving tomorrow and I cooked a huge batch of homemade thick ground turkey/dried bean chili in the crockpot today. I first wanted to just freeze it in portions. Now I am considering to can the chili in the new pressure canner over the weekend. I found a few sources saying it shouldn’t be too thick, but it is hard for me to say what is too thick. Mine is not as thick as refried beans but also not soupy (if you know what I mean) ;). Could I just can this with the pressure canner 10lbs pressure for 90 minutes? Thanks in advance.

  15. We just made a 7 quart batch of chili. We soaked and cooked the dried beans, cooked the beef……question is…they are in the pressure canner now at 10# pressure 90 minutes. Was informed we can’t use may and beans in quart jars…..Will these be OK?

    • The only risk is that if you use too many beans the chili will get really thick in the jars, which can prevent it from being heated adequately in the center (thus taking a chance of botulism). If it turns out really thick (like canned refried beans, for instance), I’m not sure I’d risk eating it.

  16. I am new at canning and have only done a few things. However, my husband wants me to can the left over soups I make. My soups are already fully cooked. Do I still need to put them in a pressure cooker and if so how long? I do not want the soups to turn to mush. Or can I put the fully cooked soups in my sterile jars and give them a 10 minute bath in boiling water? My soups I normally throw together like I have always done my family and friends love my recipe that doesn’t exists only by taste. So following an exact recipe to make my soups work would be difficult.

    Please help me or point me to the direction that I can find I solutions.

    • I have no experience using an electric pressure canner. I’m not sure how they’re different from stove top canners… but I definitely wouldn’t change the time or pounds of pressure from approved recipes.

        I would like to learn the proper way to can homemade soup for months and months of use.I did the first batch by making the soup and placing it on a hot serlized jar with a lip and a lid. then placed them in my water bath to sceal thewm in a water bath for 20mins.
        apon opening one of them lets say the top was easy to remove just a flip of the finger/ as though they had not sealed in the boiling water . they were in ther for 20 mins and the lids were tight. all my soups I have lost and would like to knowout the best way to get the right method to make and cann the product and for it to last longer than two days. pleas help me

  17. We live in Colorado, 6000+ feet. We are it getting into the canning world and are so excited! My husband and I add beer to our red chili, can I still can the chili. We will leave the red kidney beans (they are canned beans) out and add them when we are ready to heat and eat. Also, will thicken when we reheat but not when canning. Thank you.

      • Brew master.
        As long as you add the beer early on to deactivate any live yeasties, you’ll be fine.
        If you add beer too late the live yeast could begin to eat the sugars from your broken down carbs and begin to ferment.
        Watch for bulging tops.
        I like a dark German Bock Weisse in my chili.

  18. Can I pressure can my own chili and soup recipes (without adding starches and dairy) or do I need to follow some types of rules? Do I have to have a certain level of acidity to ensure food safety? Obviously I would need to follow the rules for processing, 90 mins at 10lbs pressure for the lowest acid product in the recipe (right?). Can you suggest a good website that I should check up on as the best example of the ‘rules’ please?
    From what I understand, I need to use dried beans that have been boiled at least 30 mins (soaked first) and then add all the other ingredients as I see fit. Once processed, how long would the chili last for?
    Thanks so much!

  19. I am a 4th generation canner. Over the years I have canned and seen others can most everything you can imagine, all manner of soups, meats, game..even fried chicken! One hard and fast rule that I was raised on was after opening always boil it for 10 mins, uncovered BEFORE eating it. The heat and oxygen kill the botulism toxin. I was taught this many years ago (I’m pushing 60) and have found this is in accordance with current CDC guidelines. We never eat anything (other than jams/jellies) without doing this and NO ONE ever eats any home canned product right out of the jar. Neither I nor anyone in my family or circle of canning friends has ever had any problems with illness related to canned foods. Just thought that might help those that are new to canning.

    • Hi, I have never canned except for salsa and I just make the salsa boil it and boil jars and lids. Then take the jar out and pour salsa and seal it. My question is can I do the same with red chili? I make my red chili w chili pods boil and blend then boil it. season w salt and garlic. Can I can it just like I do w salsa? thank you!

    • Well this sounds like a good rule of thumb for meals canned like pork and beans or canned chilli or a stew that you obviously want to reheat before eating, there is no way I’m going to boil my canned sockeye salmon or tuna before making my salmon or tuna sandwiches.The vinegar and or lemon juice added at 2 tbl per pint or 1 per 1/2 pint increases the acidity of the food and makes it safe as long as you follow the correct processing times and pressure rules. Oh and the vinegar and lemon juice help cut the natural fat in these two kinds of fish and also improves the flavour .

    • We have eaten lots of canned salmon right from the jar…but that is probably the only thing. I can’t see any reason to heat it up, and hot salmon doesn’t make a good sandwich 😉

    • “NO ONE ever eats any home canned product right out of the jar.” …. I can’t say that. We had a major storm one year, was without power/gas/electric for 5 days/nights. Guess what we ate? … Yep my stores of home canned goods, fruits, veggies, beef chunks,soups and stew AND chili! Wasn’t as tasty as when heated. But it served it’s purpose!

    • I have not used a pressure cooker and just purchased a hot bath one. I want to can taco soup with hot bath in pints. How long do you suggest to hot bath can?

    • Hi, saw your post. You are the 1st person I’ve found ,in many searches, for info, that has answered my question that I looked for. I thank you very much for your shared input. Finally my answer has been found.ive been canning for a few years. Learned from my mother. Yet even she didnt know that info. Our family was of 7, so the food never lasted more than a year, In the jars. Was hard for mom to can up so much food, to feed us. But dont think her , & dad didnt put us to work, in the process of gardening & preping. It was work. Lots of it. Daily. Bean snapping, days, corn picking & creaming. You name it., we had it & did it. Now on the other hand, it’s just hubby & I. So my canning goods last much much longer. (Than moms) I’ve just opened a jar, dated from 2013, was concerned about our safety. Seal seemed good,.didnt notice any smell, yet was still worried , color changed, but took a chance, & ate it. We didnt get sick. Thank goodness. But didnt know , you could kill the botulinum. Thank you. I’ll trust someone 1st hand know how knowledge, thats done it for years, and around to let others know. Your a blessing to me. Appreciate your kindness, of truth, and knowledge that many folks don’t want to share & teach others. Your a gem. In this world of stingy , ignorant unreliable folks. That fill others with false info. God bless you.

    • My granny used to do the 10 minute rule to her green beans! They ended up that gray/green tasteless/nutrionless bean that we all gaged on. They made store bought canned beans look sophisticated!! Haha

  20. Thank you for answering my question. After reading several articles on several websites I have decided to dump both batches out. We feel fortunate that we didn’t get sick after eating the soup today for lunch. That was around 12:00 and it is almost 8:00pm so think we are going to not get sick. I am thinking about getting a pressure cooker for next summers canning have been hot bathing for several years and have never had any trouble. Just not worth taking a risk from now on.

    I had another site suggest to add sugar or evaporated milk and if still taste tart that the soup was starting to spoil. Not going to even try it just going to get rid of it not worth getting sick over.

    • Marsha,

      I’m sorry you had to dump out the food, but you are wise to not take a chance. When you are ready to make a purchase, keep in mind that a pressure CANNER and a pressure COOKER are not the same things. All American Pressure Cooker/Canners can be used as a cooker or canner, but you cannot can in a regular pressure cooker. You might be interested in checking out my DVD, in which I walk you step-by-step through the pressure canning process. We’re all here if you have any questions!

  21. I recently about a month ago cooked both homemade vegetagle and chilli soup both open kettled for at least 3 hours. I then put into a hot bath canner for 60 minutes to heat for a seal. Have not tried the chilli to date but did open up vegetable soup it smelled okay so heated up and we ate it. It had a tart taste like too much tomatoes to it used v-8 juice instead of tomatoe juice when I cooked it. Is there something I can add to take the tart taste away or is going bad?

    • Marsha,

      If you canned your vegetable and chili soup in anything but a pressure canner, you’re risking some serious food poisoning. Botulism can be deadly, and is completely undetectable (you can’t smell it, see it, or taste it). I hate to say this, but if I were you I’d throw it all out. It isn’t worth the risk. 🙁

      • I have always canned my foods in a bath canner it’s just how I was taught. I’ve never had any problem with any of my pickles or foods…

        • Just know that if you water bath can ANYTHING low acid (meats, vegetables, soups, etc.) you are taking a risk of poisoning yourself and anyone else who eats that food with deadly botulism. You’re playing Russian Roulette. It really isn’t worth a life now that you know. Don’t take my word for it though. Do your own research online. You’ll find plenty of info to back up what I’m saying.
          Be safe. 🙂

    • If you did not pressure can in a pressure canner (not boil in a water bath canner) I would not eat, especially since their is a “tart” taste. You are taking a great risk.

      • Even though our ancestors open kettle canned items, at the time there was no such thing as a pressure canner. Another thing to remember is that with our over use of antibiotics and other medicines, germs have become stronger and more resistant than they were back then. Please don’t put your life, or your friends and families, in danger just because open kettle canning seems easy and appropriate to you.

  22. I have this recipe, i think it is ok to can it w/o the pasta and i have a pressure cooker? Can you look at it and give me your thoughts?

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
    2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
    1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
    4 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press or minced
    8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
    One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
    One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
    1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni pasta
    1 cup fresh or frozen peas
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
    Salt and pepper to taste

    • Hi Debbie,

      I would wait to add the oregano until you’re reheating it from the jar. Also, the beans might get mushy, since they’re already processed. It would be best if you could use dry beans, cook them for 30 minutes, and then add them into the mix just before canning. Hope that helps!

  23. I have a favorite chili recipe I am excited to can. However, we use soy crumbles instead of ground beef. Do I pressure can it the same way as regular chili? Also, I would like to can it with canned beans in it. Is this okay?

    • Amanda,
      I’ve never canned with soy as a meat replacement. You might wanna do some more research on that. Also, I wouldn’t recommend using already canned beans in the chili. They’ll get mushy. It’s best to use beans that have only been boiled for 30 min. and aren’t fully cooked. Maybe toss them into the chili mix a half an hour before it’s finished, then can it. Good luck!

  24. My pressure canner says it takes 19 pints but the second layer of pints stick above the rim of the pressure canner pot. How much water do I need, and can I can this way?

    • Tasha,

      Make sure to refer to your canning manual for the correct amount of jars it will hold. It’s okay if the jars are higher than the rim of the canner slightly, as long as the lid will secure over them. If you are using an All American canner, you need 2 inches of water in the bottom of it. Hope that helps!

  25. To add to what Kris said, also don’t use any oil (like vegetable oil for sauteing).

    A reliable canning book is good to have. For example I have one by Ball which I refer to often. When I make up a soup that I want to can, I take an educated guess for how long I’ll need to pressure can it, then I flip though my trusty resource book and check out the processing time for each ingredient I put in, then I can it to that standard. Tonight I’m canning a meatless/beanless chilli “starter” soup. I put it in quarts (make sure to release those air bubbles and wipe the rims!) and am processing it for 75 mins.

    • This is what I wanted to hear. I do not put beans or meat in my chili when I can it. Cannot find a proper time for canning this I add meat and beans later when I use it

  26. My mom and I have been canning for years, she for over 30 years. She cans everything she can get her hands on and does it with water bath cause she has never had a pressure canner and seldom ever does anything spoil or make anyone sick. She still cans the same way. I used to can by water but now have pressure canner and also can all I can get with no problems. Did learn the hard way not to put rice in my soups first,what a mess but the dogs enjoyed it. I even make my own saur kraut that doesn’t require canning at all in water bath or pressure.

    • Isaaccreek,

      I know some folks like to continue in the tradition of doing things the way they’ve always done them, but PLEASE consider the risk your mom is taking by not using a pressure canner when canning low acid foods. She has been extremely fortunate not to get herself or somebody else deathly sick. Botulism is a serious, often fatal form of food poisoning. Spending $100-$200 on a good pressure canner is SO worth it compared to the possibility of death or at least hospitalization (and the bills that come with it!). Botulism spores can be living on anything she cans… it’s only a matter of time. PLEASE for heaven’s sake get her a pressure canner!!

  27. can I water bath fully cooked vegetable beef soup I was thinking put in jars while boiling then water bath is it safe or not

  28. May try canning chili again. Last time I tried it tasted burnt. Was told I cooked it too long. Will try not cooking as long and then can it.

  29. Sandy, I always pressure can my chicken soup for 25 minutes at 11lbs pressure for Qt and 20 minutes for Pints as stated in the Presto canning instruction book.

    I personally find that adding the veggies raw in the jar comes out better than premade veggie soup that tend to mush after canning. I usually just make chicken broth and add fresh carrots, celery and/or potatoes to the jar before pressure canning. The veggies come out just right due to cooking in the pressure canner. HTH.

  30. Can someone explain to me why I would be required to process chicken soup for so long in a pressure canner after already spending a good 2 hours cooking the soup. I thought the cooking time itself would deter any bacteria. Thank You

    • While not a very experienced canner, I am a food service professional with a college background in biology. Water boils at 212°F. Sadly, botulism can survive temps up to 240°F. This is why pressure canners are required to begin with. Adjusting the pressure increases the waters boiling point allowing it to heat the food above 240°F. Food cannot be boiled hot enough in an open pan to achieve these temperatures. Furthermore, it is crucial that the food be in the can and sealed at this temp to prevent potential recontamination. In the case of botulism, it is the toxins the bacteria produces while spoiling your food that are most deadly. So even boiling foods contaminated with botulism can be fatal. Despite botulism’s temp resistance, it cannot survive in an acitic food. Hence, you mainly need a pressure canner for alkaline foods.

  31. Hello, I will be using my pressure canner for the first time and will be making chili. My favorite recipe is from:

    Now I am not fully understanding the acidity requirements. Can someone take a peek at this recipe and let me know if its ok to make as is or to add/delete an ingredient. Shelf life? no more than 1 year?
    Thank you for your time!

    • Hi Julie S!

      Now, I’m no expert, but I checked out the recipe and here are my thoughts…

      1. I’m not sure it’s safe to can with cornmeal. I’ve never seen any canning recipes using cornmeal, so that kinda stuck out to me. Personally, I think I’d leave that out. Maybe that’s something you could add back in before you eat it.

      2. Go easy on the hot peppers as canning them intensifies their “heat”. You might have to play around with the recipe until you get it just right. You can always add more peppers when re-heating, if it isn’t as spicy as you’d like.

      3. You probably realize this, but definitely add the cheese in after re-heating.

      4. Go easy on the spices also, as their flavors get stronger with canning as well. I’d probably hold off on the cumin and the garlic powder until re-heating.

      5. The chili recipe in the Ball Blue Book of Canning says to add the canned beans to the chili before serving. But Jackie Clay’s canning chili recipe says to add the beans before canning. However, she is using dried beans and cooking/draining them before adding to the chili to be canned. Maybe see which way works best for you?

      6. You’ll need to process pints for 1 hr. 15 min. and quarts for 1 hr. 30 min. at 10 lbs pressure.

      For best taste/nutrient quality eat the chili within a year, but it’ll stay good for many years as long as the lid stays sealed, and the jars aren’t exposed to extreme temperatures 🙂

      I hope that helps a little. Good luck!!

      • I would also suggest making a small batch, say 2 or 3 pints, pressure can them, and sample them in about a week or two. It will give you some idea of how the spices will intensify.

    • Ashley,

      Probably… but I think what would be even better for you is to keep them in their dried state, mix them together, and store as a just-add-water type of meal instead of canning. If they are freeze dried or dehydrated, they should stay good for a year in a jar. For longer term storage, you could add an oxygen absorber, or use a food saver vacuum to seal the jars.

  32. Great advice on canning soups. Can anyone tell me why no rice? I make a chicken soup with wild rice, and I’d like to can the leftovers (the freezer will soon be too full of antelope to add much soup). The rice is fully cooked, which might make a difference.

    I’m also looking forward to canning my own clam juice – with no added salt.

    • Rice thickens in the jars when canned, and the heat cannot pierce it enough to kill possible botulism toxins. I don’t believe your soup would be safe to can.

  33. When i was kid they would can fish and everything else they could get into a jar.I myself go to a blueball canning book and then i know for sure,if it is ok to can certain items thanks

  34. I find this site interesting and informational. I have never pressure canned anything, although I bought one this year. I have done some water bath canning.

    I want to can 3 of my families favorite foods, Vegatable beef soup (using v-8 and frozen veggies), Chili (using ground hamburger, kidney beans and chili beans already canned from the store) and Homemade sloppy joe (Grandma’s secret receipe).

    Are these safe to can? Will the beans or frozen veggies turn to mush?

    Looking forward to assistance.

    • I have used frozen vegetables, they seem to hold up. Canned beans might turn out a bit mushy, and the Sloppy Joe recipe really would need to be ‘sloppy’. Cook it upon opening the jar long enough to evaporate the extra moisture.

  35. A novice canner needs some advice! In the midst of canning chicken soup I was called away on a family emergency. The soup was only able to process for 40 minutes – the instructions stated it needed to process for an hour and ten minutes. The jars sealed. Can I reprocess for another 30 minutes or do I take the soup at a loss? Thanks for any help!

    • I’m not an expert, but here’s my advice anyway:

      When a jar does not seal, most canning instructions that I’ve seen suggest reprocessing (possibly with a new jar or lid or both–you need to see if one was defective) within 24 hours.

      So, if I got back from being called away within 24 hours, I’d reprocess it, but I’d reprocess it for the full time (in your case, an hour and ten minutes).

      If, when I got called away I knew I’d be gone longer than 24 hours, I’d see if there was a reasonable way to refrigerate it until I returned, and then if I returned within a reasonable time (maybe no more than 3 or 4 days), I’d then reprocess it for the full time.

      The problem with refrigerating while your gone is the problem of heating the other products in your refrigerator when you put the hot jars in.

      If I reprocessed the jars after refrigerating, I’d probably (1) make sure I started by putting the jars in the canner with cold / lukewarm (i.e., not hot / boiling) water to minimize the chance of breakage, and (2) add an extra 10 minutes or so to the processing times.

      Alternatively, if the food has been refrigerated, invite some friends over and have a party 😉

      • You would need to use new flats, when reprocessing, the old seal would impede air trying to escape the jars, possibly causing breakage. I would pour the soup into a pot and again bring it up TO a boil, and pour into clean, heated jars. If over 24 hours, and not stored in the refrigerator, I’m sorry, I would call this a loss, and dump it.

  36. It’s fine to PRESSURE can your own recipes if you follow the basic rules like adding starches later, and your processing time depends on ALTITUDE so call your local University Extension to verify processing times locally if you can’t figure it out based on processing tables.

    As for veggie items done in a water bath, no you should not do your own recipes. One reason is that the amount of acid has to be sufficient to kill botulism spores (among other things), otherwise they produce poison toxins that could easily kill a person.

    With fruits there is more leeway (not botulism, just regular food poisoning is your risk). You can follow your own recipes, but you need to replace cornstarch or other thickners with clear gel when making pie fillings (it tolerates higher heat, is more stable, produces a better product) and it still isn’t advisable to do sugar free stuff for home canning as sugar is the only preservative that we use when canning versus commercial canners now producing “no sugar added” canned peaches and the like.

    Personally, I made soup with a pressure canner last year, and now I’m afraid to eat it! I am a fan of making chili sauce, canned tomatos (can be done in water bath since lemon juice is added), and pickled veggies like dilly beans as well as fruit pie fillings.

  37. to make a ramen type of noodle I make my own fresh pasta, or parboil it (just a couple minutes in boiling water, till it’s soft on the outside but still hard on the inside). Rinse and dry it VERY well on towels. Then drop it in very hot oil until its golden, but not brown. Blot out as much oil as you can. Dehydrate or bake on low until very crunchy, then bag it up or dry can it. It should cook up in boiling water in a couple minutes. However, if you make fresh pasta, you can just freeze it, and dry pasta is easy enough on its own, but if you really want that Ramen feel, this is the way to go.

  38. What can you tell us about dehydrating, such as pasta, veg, and meat.?
    Have you ever made your own Mountian House packet where ou just add water and let sit for few minutes??

  39. The Mrs and I can most everything. What’s most popular with the teenagers and myself is the chili (both beef and chicken), beef stew, ham & bean soup, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, whole chicken, pears, peaches, and spiced apples. There’s no better place for an old retired layer than in a batch of chicken chili. The boys won’t even wait for it to be warmed up – they devour it right out of the jar.

    Kendra keep up the good work – I love this place! You and your readers are a wealth of information…..Thank you.

  40. Dana: It’s called *Amish Cooking* compilied by a Committee of Amish Women…Deluxe Edition Herald Press Scottdale, Pennsylvania Waterloo, Ontario. I also use my 1974 copy of Stocking Up and my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Hope that helps.

  41. Lynda,

    Could I please have the name of your Amish Cookbook? It sounds just like the one I had and I loved it dearly, I moved and I haven’t found it yet and I really miss it!!

    The one I had, had recipes just like your describing and also stories and such,like what you would need for a wedding of 100 guests etc.


  42. Whenever you’re canning things like soups, where you have several things jumbled together, always set your processing time for the most low-acid ingredient in there. For example; if you’re canning chili, your main ingredients are going to be tomatoes, beef, and other vegetables. Since you’ll be canning meat, you definitely need to pressure can your creation. Find out the processing time for beef; and then add on an extra 10 – 15 minutes for good measure.

    Hope that helps!

  43. I would get the latest Ball canning book. They err on the side of safety so you would be sure of the food you are serving your family.

  44. I can tomatoes with veggies to use in soup. Example, tomatoes, peas, carrots, onions. You do use the food with the longest canning time to process. Only pressure canning. I have not canned meat. I freeze it instead. Barbara

  45. I can everything and I have for years. I have ham and beans, spagetti sauce, baked beans, beef stew, lamb stew with barley, whole chicken, beef cubes, sausage patties, chili, beef stock, chicken stock,pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, smoked trout,tomato soup, chicken noodle soup, beef vegetable soup, apple pie filling, cherry pie filling, peach pie filling…if it fits in my jar, I’ll can it. You can find canning information just by Googling. I use my favorite Amish cookbook…even tells you how to make leaf lard and pie crust for 100 pies and bushel baskets of cookies!

  46. What I do every year is make a vegetable soup base. I will cook tomatoes and frozen mixed vegetables together. I keep my jars in the oven to keep them warm and put the soup in the jars and seal. I just let the heat from the soup make the seal. We don’t put meat in it AT ALL. I will make a chicken, roast or some form of meat and add the leftovers of it, to the soup mix and make a pot of soup. This works great on those nights that we are out working and don’t have anything really “planned”. I have had great success with this….

    • It doesn’t look like anyone else has commented–this is dangerous, you need to pressure can low acid foods. There is a slight chance you got lucky either because the tomatoes were very high acid or maybe you’ve always got the broth to at least 180 degrees for at least 10 (or 15?) minutes when you used the broth.

      I wouldn’t continue to take the chance.

  47. I teach canning classes and do quite a lot of canning of home recipes. There are a few hard and fast rules that I follow, such as:

    No dairy.
    No rice or pasta.
    Barley is okay, such as in veg-beef soup.
    Always pressure can, never water bath.
    Do not thicken soups or stews when canning. Do this when serving.
    Pre-soak and partially cook beans before canning. 1/3 of the jar is beans, 2/3 is water.
    Spices and herbs increase in strength over time, so go light with them or add at service.
    Never can a recipe that includes the herb sage. It becomes bitter when canned.

    Try and for step-by-step instructions, pictures, and videos. The Nolls use a steam canner. Would not recommend that.

    • My 90 year old dad lives alone. I’ve pressure canned a vegetable beef soup, beef stew and sloppy joe and mailed it to him. I want to do clam chowder or a cream soup like tomato bisque. All he can handle is opening the jar and heating a bowl in the microwave, so adding ingredients later is not an option. Anyone have suggestions for tasty dishes completely ready in the jar? He does like chili, not too spicy and creamy soups. He likes pasta. Is there a way to do spaghetti sauce with noodles? Please help.

      • That’s very sweet of you to send your dad home canned foods. What a blessing! I wouldn’t recommend canning anything that will get very thick in the jar, as there is a risk of botulism there. Noodles and rice can make soups and sauces too thick unless you use very little. Chicken noodle soup with just a little bit of noodles added would be okay. Could you make a soup base that he could add milk to for creaminess? Chile con carne is really good. 🙂

      • You can find online a recipe for sweet and sour chicken in a jar. It has chicken, bell peppers, onion and pineapple in it. We love it.

  48. Yup to what Kris said.
    My own fun tidbit? Beware of over-cooking. I’ve tinkered with my MIL’s spaghetti sauce recipe – she simmers it for 4-6 hours on the stove. I have to more simmer it for 30-some minutes and *then* can it, otherwise it tastes burnt upon opening it later on. Ah, good ole trial and error. 🙂


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