How to Can Chicken at Home

how to can chicken at home

At least once a month I have to make Buffalo Dip. My boyfriend has his game night and always brings it. I either boil the chicken and chop it up myself or used canned chicken. While it tastes good after baking, I’m not a fan of store bought canned chicken – it tastes “tinny” and almost smells sulfuric to me. So I wanted to see if you could can chicken at home, it’s actually not that hard. and the best part – once you process your chicken it should be shelf stable for 12 years (or more!)

I’m not going to lie – I was hesitant when I opened up my first can today – I made these last week. I expected an awful smell, rotten meat – or something. I’ve pressure canned with meat before as an ingredient but not by itself. Instead I popped the lids, and all I got was the smell of fresh chicken. I poured out the extra juices and chopped it up – it was wonderful and moist!

I’m so happy I did this – think how many recipes it will cut down the time on: chicken tacos, chicken pizza, dips, chicken salads. Anything where you have to precook the chicken. And as the added bonus: no BPAs near my meat!

I canned these in half pint jars – Why? Because after processing they are about 10 oz of cooked chicken (what the large cans are at the store). This is perfect if you’re cooking a small meal and don’t want a huge chicken breast to cook up and a lot of left overs!

Preparing your Chicken:

  1. Chop your chicken into chunks. It will be easier if it’s frozen, but you can use thawed chicken as well.
  2. Loosely pack your chicken in your jar leaving 1 1/4 inch head space.
  3. Sprinkle a pinch of salt in each jar.
  4. Put the lid on and process with the instructions below.

Do not add water! Your chicken will make it’s own liquid and will clump together. It will be fully cooked when the processing is done!

Canning Instructions:

  1. Place 8 clean half pint jars on a rack in your stock pot – you may have to process 6 at a time. Fill the jars and a stock pot with cool water until it completely covers the top of the jars. Cover and put on medium heat. Simmer but do not boil.
  2. Prepare 8 lid sets, put the bands aside and put the flat lids in a small sauce pan and put on medium heat. Do not boil, but keep warm through the whole process.
  3. Prepare your Chicken with the directions above. Fill each jar leaving 1 1/4 inch head space.
  4. Now, remove the jars from the warm bath. Tip them as you pull them out and pour the water back into the pan. Place them on a towel on the counter with the opening up. Do not dry them! Just put them down and put the funnel in.
  5. Take the small magnet tool and remove flat lids from their hot bath. Place over top of each jar. By hand screw on the collars, but not too tight! Remember some air still needs to get out of each jar.
  6. Place your wrack inside your pressure canner, and set your filled jars on top. Pour in 2-3 inches of hot water. Close your lid.
  7. On Medium-High Heat wait until your canner begins to let steam out of the vent. Allow the steam to vent for 10 minutes, then switch to the 2 position (or 11 lbs of pressure), reduce your heat to medium. Wait until steam starts coming out again.
  8. Process for 1 hour and 15 minutes. After 75 minutes are done, turn off the heat and wait for the canner to depressurize.
  9. Once the canner is safe to open, open away from you so any extra steam will not hit your face. Remove your cans and put them on a clean towel to set. Wait for those lovely “pop”s to know your cans have properly sealed! Let them rest 12-24 hours before moving or using. Store in a cool, dark area.

This recipe is part of the Food Challenge with nine other bloggers. You can check out the recipes below for this challenge! Each month we’ll be doing another challenge – let us know if you try any of the recipes!

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  1. I feel you pain with the “pretty-ness” of home canned meat. 😉 The trick to poach it first! That gets the “slimy” stuff out before you can it! I just poach it in water for just about 3-5 minutes. Then take the meat out with a slotted spoon and put into the jars as usual and pack as you indicated above or in clear broth. I hope you find this useful, I have certainly found your website VERY useful. Thank you for all your work and information. The recipes are so helpful. My 5 year old son Jacob was diagnosed with type1 diabetes in December 2012 and then Celiac’s a month later. Thankfully, I love to cook! So it’s just been a matter of relearning to bake and cook for Jake. Thanks again for your help by posting recipes!

    • I’ll give it a try! I usually do it raw/frozen so it has its own juices and won’t dry out. Either way meat in a jar isnt pretty ;).
      I’m glad my recipes can help!

  2. Wow I think you women are amazing ! Makes me me remember gramma in the 70s doing her garden & canning- I am going to do it now in her honor ( as she is gone now) with your ideas to help me- thank you ladies-

  3. One of my jars made the popping noise of sealing as I was getting ready to store them on the pantry shelf. It appeared to me that they all had already sealed. Si, I don’t know which one it was. ( this after 12 hours out of the pressure canner)
    So I put them all in the fridge and am afraid to use them. PLEASE ADVISE. Thank you.

    • I’ve had that happen before too! I have called this “double popping” and while I’m not sure if that means it’s sealed or not – I did the same thing, it went right into the fridge. They are fine to use up to 3 weeks in the fridge, but I wouldn’t just leave it on the shelf. 🙂

  4. I used this method and didn’t add any liquid. My jars are only half full of liquid after canning. Will this matter? The meat is cooked but lots of it is exposed with no liquid

  5. My wife and I can chicken all the time. Normally 16oz Bottles. The normal canning process says 75 min for 7 (16oz) jars in a pressure cooker @ 15lbs at the elevation we are at. What is the time for 4 (32oz) jars?

  6. I have question… I put chicken leg with bone in the jar… no salt and no water. Pressure for 75 mins.. all seal good and then 3 days later I want to make chicken pot pie. I took out of one jar and get legs out but meat fall out very easy… but one thing smell… funny. I don’t know if that normal.. so is that normal?

    • Hey Lourdes! What is the smell like? When I can chicken it does tend to smell like commercially canned chicken – I’m sure you know the scent! If that’s what you’re experiencing that is completely normal.

  7. I am wondering if anyone can answer my question. I pressure canned some raw chicken today in quart size jars. I cooked them at 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes. I did not realize that when I use quart size jars I was supposed to cook the jars / chicken for 90 minutes. Is this entire batch ruined? Any information will be helpful!


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