The only thing better than chicken soup from scratch, is a shelf-stable, beginner-friendly recipe for pressure canning chicken soup! Adding home-canned soups to your pantry shelf will create convenience in the kitchen, and save you money on your grocery budget, with just a small effort on your part.
Pressure canning chicken soup is a great way to meal prep! There’s almost nothing easier than grabbing a can of soup to heat up. There are many soup canning recipes out there, but I grew up with the classic chicken noodle soup in a can for easy meals, and as a mom, I wondered if there was a way to turn my own chickens into the same convenience food of my own. Luckily, there is!
Why Should I Learn About Pressure Canning Chicken Soup?
Store bought soups are often too small to feed your family. They also can contain ingredients I’m not thrilled about. Instead of turning to convenience foods prepared by a corporation, I prefer to turn to my own arsenal of from-scratch food.
Home canning allows you to source your own quality ingredients and amounts. By combining these ingredients into shelf-stable meals, you can simply open, heat, and eat entire meals right from a jar of homemade goodness. I have total control over the salt, seasonings, and vegetables. I even control the size of the vegetables in my soups!
Because chicken soup is a low acid food, it requires the use of a pressure canner (not to be confused with a pressure cooker) to safely preserve the food. By using the appropriate recommended pounds of pressure, the food is cooked above boiling to prevent the risk of botulism in low acid foods.
If you want to learn more about the difference between water bath canning vs. pressure canning, I have a detailed post about just that here.
You can also check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation here for even more information about canning safety.
To me, learning to make from-scratch food, is empowering! Any investment into my food storage creates ultimate convenience for my future self. Once the canning is done, serving a meal is as easy as opening a jar, adding noodles, and heating it up to serve!
Where do I Source Ingredients for Canning Chicken Soup?
I will always advocate for raising food for your family. The vegetables in this recipe came from my own back yard. The whole chicken I used was raised, butchered, and preserved by my hand. It doesn’t happen overnight, but is a worthwhile endeavor.
If you’re interested in raising your own chicken, check out my blog post How to Raise a Year’s Worth of Meat Chickens for more info!
However, not everyone can, or will, want to do it all themselves. Fortunately, modernity gives us lots of options for sourcing foods.
The next best option is sourcing the food from a local farmer. You can find a registry of meat growers by selecting your state here!
Next, find a CSA or a farmers market in your local area. Visit Local Harvest for help finding farmers markets or farms you can buy from directly.
Lastly, your local grocery stores do have options that are still better than buying pre canned soups! Buy your vegetables from the organic section. Then, buy your chicken whole to get the best savings and nutrition from the bird. If there is an organic option, opt for that. Better yet, look for an organic, pasture-raised chicken.
The goal is to find the best option for you! If cost savings if your ultimate goal, prioritize that. If quality of ingredients is your priority, seek that out. You are in total control here!
What do I Need for Canning?
After you have sourced your ingredients, you will need to gather your supplies. Fortunately, most of these are not single use! After the initial investment, they can be used again and again to feed your family.
- Dial Gauge Pressure canner (I use this one)
- Quart jars for your soup (you can also use pint jars if you are wanting smaller portions)
- Canning supplies like a jar lifter and canning funnel
- A way to cook your whole chicken (I use my instant pot, but you can roast it in the oven or use a crock pot too!)
- A towel or dish mat for putting your hot jars onto to protect your counter
- White distilled vinegar for wiping your jars rims/cleaning your jars after canning
What Ingredients do I Need for Pressure Canning Chicken Soup
- Whole chicken
- Salt & pepper
- Parsley (optional)
How do I Pressure Can Chicken Soup?
There are two main methods for preparing homemade soups for canning. One method is called “hot pack” or “hot water” canning. These “hot” methods of canning deal just what they sound like: hot ingredients.
You’ll do this by preparing your soup and ladling the hot soup into hot jars, then placing them in the hot water of your canner. I find that, for beginners, this is a bit more challenging.
The method I use does involve cooked chicken, but is considered a “raw pack” method. I use cooked, cool chicken, raw vegetables, room temperature water, and room temperature water in my canner. This way, I’m still following safe canning methods, and I’m not having to worry about variations of temperatures causing jar breakage.
1. Prepare Your Chicken
If you’re using an instant pot, you can put the entire chicken right in from frozen for ultimate convenience. I use the rack so that the chicken doesn’t stick on the bottom. Then, add your seasonings and water to the chicken and cook.
2. Prepare Your Vegetables
Since this is a pressure canning recipe, we need to keep safety in mind. I try to use clean ingredients when canning. This means washing your vegetables, especially the carrots, thoroughly. Next, peel the carrots. Chop the washed vegetables and begin adding them to your jars. You can mix them before and measure them that way, or you can simply divide them evenly between your jars and layer them in.
3. Prepare the Cooked Chicken
After the vegetables are in the jars, the chicken is usually ready. Then lift the cooked chicken onto a large pan or cutting board. The thoroughly cooked chicken should come off the bones easily. Shred your chicken, and divide evenly between the veggie filled jars.
Note: be sure to save the bones from your chicken carcasses for later to make bone broth!
4. Add Your Seasonings
Now that your jars are filled with the chicken and veggies, you can add your seasonings. You get to decide what your family likes! If you have pickier eaters, you can keep it simple with salt and pepper, or add some spice for more adventurous palates. I recommend milder herbs like parsley or some oregano. Herbs like rosemary or sage are better added when you reheat your soup because they can get overly strong and bitter after the canning process.
5. Top with Water and Remove Air Bubbles
Once your jars are filled with the veggies, chicken, and spices, fill the jars with filtered water to 1-inch headspace. The water added to the jar will make your own chicken broth for the soup. Using a butter knife or chopstick, remove the air bubbles by moving the food around on all 4 sides of the jar. Check your headspace again after de-bubbling to make sure you still have a 1-inch headsapce.
6. Wipe Rims and Add Lids
Using white vinegar on a clean rag, wipe the rims of your jars to ensure they are free of grease or food particles. This will ensure a proper seal after the lids are added. Place the gaskets and tighten the screw bands to fingertip tightness. This means you don’t want to use your whole wrist or arm to tighten the lid. The lid needs to be securely in place without being so tight that air can’t escape to seal the jar. Hence, fingertip tightness.
7. Pressure Can your Chicken Soup
Add your jars to your pressure canner and follow your canner’s manufacturer’s instructions for use. Be sure to note the pounds of pressure recommended for your altitude. Higher altitudes sometimes require a higher pressure for processing.
My canner specifies filling the pot with 2 inches of water, adding the jars, then canning.
Once you’ve added the jars or chicken soup and put on the canner lid, turn on your stove to medium high heat. When enough pressure has built up in your canner, the vent will pop up to release steam.
Allow it to vent over medium high heat for 10 minutes before adding the weight.
After adding the weight, bring the pressure to 10 pounds pressure for a processing time of 1 hour and 30 minutes for quart sized jars. For pint sized jars the processing time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.
After your processing time is completed, turn off the heat, then allow the pressure to come down while remaining on the burner.
Once the pressure vent drops, wait an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and allow the jars to rest in the canner for 10 more minutes.
Now you can remove your jars and place on a towel or dish drying mat on the counter.
Allow jars to rest for 24 hours.
8. Preparing your Pressure Canned Chicken Soup for Storage
I like to wipe my jars down with water and white vinegar to ensure they are clean before storing. Remove the bands from the jar and check your seals. You can lift the jars by the gasket to test that your seal is sufficient. Removing the rings allows you to check the seals before and after storage to prevent a false seal. Store the jars in a cool dark place (like a root cellar or pantry) for up to a year for best flavor and texture.
How do I Serve my Pressure Canned Chicken Soup?
Warm up your chicken soup on the stove and served as is, or with homemade egg noodles, rice, or dumplings!
Instead of cooking the noodles or rice with the entire contents of the jar, strain the liquid from the jar into a pot for cooking the noodles, rice or dumplings. This keeps the meat and vegetables from being over cooked. Depending on how much you plan to make, add extra chicken broth or water to cook it.
After you’ve cooked your noodles, rice, or dumplings, add the rest of the jar to the pot until heated through.
Serve & enjoy with a fresh garnish of parsley or sage and a slice of fresh bread!
- 1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds)
- 1-1/2 cups peeled, chopped carrots (I cut into half circles)
- 1-1/4 cups celery
- 1 cups diced onion
- 1/2 tsp salt per jar
- 1/4 tsp pepper per jar
- (optional) 1/4-1/2 tsp parsley per jar
- Water to fill the jars
- Place chicken into instant pot with rack at the bottom.
- Drizzle with olive oil.
- Salt and pepper chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
- Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the instant pot.
- Cook on high pressure for 55 minutes thawed or from frozen.
- While the chicken cooks, wash your celery, peel and wash your carrots.
- Dice the onion and chop the celery and carrots.
- Divide the vegetables evenly between 4 quart jars.
- When the chicken is done, place onto a baking sheet or large cutting board.
- Pick the meat from the bones and shred. Combine the white and dark meat to ensure each jar gets a mixture of both.
- Divide the chicken between the 4 quart jars.
- Add the salt, pepper, and parsley if using.
- Top with filtered water to 1 inch head space.
- Remove bubbles.
- Wipe rims with white vinegar on a clean rag.
- Add gaskets and lids to fingertip tightness.
- Process quart jars at 10 lbs pressure for 1 hour and 30 minutes following your pressure canner's manual.
- Turn off heat and cool to zero pressure.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing lid.
- Allow the jars to cool for 10 additional minutes in the canner.
- Remove jars and rest for 24 hours.
- Remove the bands and check the seals.
- Unsealed jars should be eaten right away, or stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Sealed jars should be wiped clean, labeled and put away in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year for maximum freshness.
- Serve alone, or with noodles, rice, or dumplings.
- This recipe can be made using pint jars instead of quart jars but will only need canned for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- If using more fragrant herbs such as sage, add these when reheating the soup instead of during the canning recipe.
- Cook the noodles, rice, or dumplings prior to adding the canned soup to avoid over cooking the chicken and vegetables.