Pressure Canning Chicken at home is easy, and with the rising cost of food these days, it’s a great way to get more for your buck. I buy my chicken in bulk from Sam’s Club, or wait for my local grocery store to have sales on their chicken to stock up. When I pressure can, I like to fully fill my canner with jars instead of just canning a few at a time. Most canners are designed to hold eight pint jars or seven quart jars. Large canners can hold 18 pint jars in two layers, but only hold seven quart jars. Make sure you have extra chicken on hand in case you need to add an extra jar or two to fill it up. You can always freeze or cook any left over chicken.
What You Need
- Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner or weighted-gauge pressure canner
- Water Bath Canner
- Wide mouth or regular pint canning jars
- Lids and bands
- Canning air bubble removal tool or a skew
- Canning funnel
- Jar lifter
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Water or broth for filling the jars
- A little oil to rub along the Sealing Ring
- White vinegar
- Wash cloth and paper towels
- Pack of chicken breasts
There are two ways pressure canning can be done for poultry, including chicken, duck, goose, turkey or game birds. The hot-packed method and the raw-packed method. I chose the hot-packed method this time for canning chicken breasts, but either method will work. The raw method is easier. It requires less preparation and will produce its own broth in the jars during the canning process. When canning pork I prefer the raw-packed method.
I chose to use pint jars for pressure canning my chicken. It takes eight pint jars to fill a canner. You can use quart jars instead of pints if you have a larger family to feed. It will take 7 quart jars. At times, I’ll use the quart jars so I’ll have larger portions for making soups.
Altitude and Pressure Chart
When low-acid foods are canned at elevations higher than 1,000 feet, the recommended processing time remains constant, but the required pressure is increased. In my location, I have to can at 11 pounds. Use a dial-gauge canner, check your altitude, and adjust for your area.
Altitude and Pressure Chart For Low Acid Food
Canning Meat, Poultry, Fish, Seafood, and Soup for Pints and Quarts
Altitude Dial-Gauge Weighted-Gauge
0 to 1,000 ft. 11 pounds 10
1,001 to 2,000 ft. 11 pounds 15
2,001 to 4,000 ft. 12 pounds 15
4,001 to 6,000 ft. 13 pounds 15
6,001 to 8,000 ft 14 pounds 15
8,001 to 10,000 ft 15 pounds 15
With Bone Without Bone
65 minutes 75 minutes Pints
75 minutes 90 minutes Quarts
1. First, wash your jars and lids. When you’re washing your jars, run your fingers over the top of the rim and feel for any chips or blemishes. If a jar has chips on the rim, you do not want to can with that jar. I use my blemished jars only for storing things. If it’s too chipped or cracked, discard it.
Heat The Jars
2. Once your jars have been washed, you’ll need to pre-heat them for the hot-pack method. There are a few ways you can heat up your jars. You can boil them for 10 minutes, microwave them slightly wet for 30-45 seconds, or bake them in an oven for 20 minutes at 275 degrees.
I heat my jars in a water bath canner while I’m preparing and boiling the chicken. This way, they’ve had plenty of time to get very hot and sterilized for pressure canning chicken.
Prep The Chicken
3. Prepare your chicken by trimming off any unwanted pieces, such as fat or blemishes. Then, cut up the meat in 1 inch chunks.
Boil The Chicken
4. Boil, steam, or bake the poultry or game bird until about two-thirds done. Separate at joints. Bones may be let in or removed. While the cubed chicken is boiling, get another pot and fill it with either broth or water and heat it up on warm. I’ll wait to bring it to a low boil when the chicken is done.
5. This is the time when I take my flat jar lids and place them in a separate small pan of water and gently heat them on medium heat. The heat will soften the rubber seal to insure a better seal. Some say you don’t need to pre-heat the flat lids, but I have found my jars seal better when the lids have been heated.
6. When the chicken is done, strain it and put it back in the pot it was boiled in, and keep it warm.
Fill Jars With Chicken and Broth
7. Take your hot jars and start filling them with the par-cooked chicken. Only fill the jars up to the 1 inch mark which is the bottom first ring on the jar’s mouth. You can also use a clean ruler for canning only to help you find the one inch mark. My funnel has measurements on it so I can see exactly were the one inch line is. This is especially helpful when adding liquids, as it can be a little difficult to see at times.
8. Next, ladle in your hot broth or water up to the 1 inch mark.
9. Once you’ve added the broth or water take a skewer or canning bubble removal tool. Run it down into the chicken to remove any air bubbles.
Wipe The Jar Rims
10. After you’re done with removing the bubbles, wipe down the rims with a clean warm wet kitchen wash cloth. Then, wipe the rims again with a paper towel soaked with vinegar. The vinegar removes any left over oils from the glass and helps to give a better seal for the flat lids.
11. Take your magnetic lid lifter and lift one flat lid out of the hot water. Place it on top of the hot jar. Don’t wipe the lid off when you take it out of the hot water. The water on the lids will not affect the canning process. Then, screw on the band finger tight. Don’t over tighten so the jar can expand and contract. This will also help prevent losing liquid from your jars.
Pre-Heating The Water In The Pressure Canner
12. Make sure to place the round flat trivet that came with the canner on the bottom of the canner. Then, add in 2-3 inches of hot water into the pressure canner. Using the jar lifter, set your jars gently down into the canner. Eight pint jars will fit snugly in the bottom. If you have more than eight jars, you’ll need a second trivet to place on top of the bottom jars. Then you can add a second layer of pint jars. If you add a second layer, the pressure and cooking time will be the same. Once the jars are placed in the canner, turn on your stove to med-high to bring the water to boiling.
13. Before placing the canner’s lid on, always do a double inspection of it. Make sure to blow through the vent pipe using your mouth in case something was lodged in it preventing the air from escaping. Also, check the Air Vent/Cover Lock to confirm that it hasn’t come unscrewed. This has actually happened with one of my canners. Luckily, I checked before using the lid, because it could have turned out badly with the pressure rising. Also, check your pressure gauge dial and make sure it is on tightly as well. Examine the over pressure plug. It’s the little black rubber stopper of to the side. Make sure it doesn’t have any cracks or any damage.
14. Before placing the Sealing Ring inside the lid, I like to rub a little oil around it. This helps the lid to twist on and off more easily.
Pressure Canning The Chicken
15. Place the lid on the canner. Line it up and turn the lid so it locks handle over handle. Turn the heat to medium-high or high. When the pressure begins to build, the air/vent lock will pop up. Let the canner vent out steam from the vent pipe for 10 minutes. After the ten minutes, place the weight on the vent pipe.
16. Let the pressure reach the required PSI for your altitude. For my altitude, I have to can at 11 pounds on the dial-gauge canner. Once you’ve reached your pressure, start a timer for 65 minutes for pints or 75 minutes for quarts.
17. When the time is up, turn off the heat. Let the canner depressurize. When the dial-gauge has gone down to zero, wait 2 minutes longer, then open vent. Remove the canner lid and wait 10 minutes before removing the jars.
18. Take out your jars. Try not to tilt the jars when lifting them from the canner. If they have not fully sealed yet, there’s a chance the liquid could get under the flat lid, which may cause it to fail to seal. Don’t worry about the water resting on top of the lids. The heat of the jars will evaporate it.
19. I set my canned chicken on a kitchen towel so the hot jars don’t sit directly on a cold counter top, which could cause the jars to break. Gently place a kitchen towel over the hot jars. This helps with insulating them so they will seal properly.
20. Finally, let them sit until you hear the “ping” sound of the lids sealing. When they ping, you’ll know your jars have sealed. If a jar has not sealed, don’t try to keep it for long term storage. Treat it like any opened can of meat and keep it refrigerated.
Wait 24 hours Before Washing and storing
21. Wait 24 hours before removing the canner rings, then wash and dry them. It’s important to wash them so they don’t acquire an unpleasant odor while stored.
22. Once the washed jars have dried, label them with the date and contents in the jars. Store them in a cool dark place, preferably in a basement. Pressure Canning Chicken At Home Is Easy and not as scary as some may think. Once you give it a try, you won’t stop there. You’ll want to be canning most everything.