Canning Chicken

Canning Chicken

Our friends at Fishnet Ministry ran into a huge problem recently.  They received two shipments of chicken days apart from each other adding up to a total of 63,000 pounds of frozen meat.  The problem for Fishnet was that they didn’t have the freezer space for all the food.  Every walk-in frig was converted into temporary freezers and calls sent out to churches and organizations begging them to come as quickly as possible to take the food off their hands so it wouldn’t be wasted.  Our family was given so much frozen chicken breasts after working our volunteer shift last week that I had no extra room inside my home freezer for anything else.  What a perfectly wonderful problem to have!  Haha!  So this week I went into “can-everything-inside-the-freezer” mode in order to make room.

Although the thought of canning raw chicken might seem daunting to most people, it really is quite easy.  Honestly, I think it’s easier to can chicken than it is garden green beans.  The benefits to being able to can your own chicken are numerous.  My favorite are the quick meal preps when needing diced chicken for a casserole or whipping together a cold chicken salad for lunch.   Just pop open a jar and you are ready to go!  It’s the convenience of store-bought canned chicken but way less expensive.  Stock up on chicken breasts when they go on sale (or when given a trunk full!) and save money and freezer space by canning it all.

The “juice” in the jars is 100% chicken broth since no liquid is added before processing in the pressure canner.  You can either use the juice in the meal prep with the canned chicken, or set aside and store inside the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1Prep your pressure canner and lids

Pour 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar into pressure canner.  Place lids inside a small pan of water to heat on stove.  Do not boil the lids!


Step 2Pack raw chicken

Fill clean, sterile jars halfway with chicken then pack down.  Fill remainder of jar with chicken leaving a 1 1/2 inch space at the top.

Step 3Add salt

Add 1 tsp. salt per quart jar (1/2 tsp. for pints).


Step 4Clean rims

Use a clean, damp cloth to clean rims and check for any dings or cracks.


Step 5Place lid and band

Place lids on jars tightening with a band.


Step 6Place inside canner

Place up to 7 quart jars inside your pressure canner.  Cover and lock lid.  Process quarts for 90 minutes (up to 20 pints for 75 minutes)  at *11 pounds pressure.

*Check your canner instruction booklet to ensure correct pressure based on your altitude.

Step 7Remove jars

After canner has cooled enough to remove the lid safely, take jars out and place on a towel to rest for 24 hours.  Remove bands checking to see if each lid sealed before storing in a cool, dark place.  If processed correctly, canned chicken is shelf-stable for 2 years.  If a lid didn’t seal, place the jar inside the frig and use within 5-7 days.

Comments (4)

  • Kurt Reply

    I have a question. Is it possible to can partially frozen chicken or does it need to be fully thawed before pressure canning. If it reaches temperatures over 210 degrees for over an hour I would think it’s safe but I may be wrong.

    October 30, 2021 at 8:56 am
    • Amy Kinnard Reply

      Hey, Kurt! I’m not a scientist here, but I believe the reason you don’t want to can partially frozen chicken is that the heating won’t be consistent all the way through which is key when pressure canning anything. This can then lead to partially over-cooked meat and other portions being under-cooked. The best and safest way to can meat is to have it completely thawed before packing your jars. Off the top of my head I can recall reading sections in canning books that say you can’t can pureed pumpkin but you can can it if it is cubed. The reason is the density of the pumpkin and the heat being able to cook all the way through at a consistent temperature. This then goes with the theory that consistent heating of the food is key to proper canning.

      October 30, 2021 at 9:24 am
  • Cindy Reply

    I hope it’s simple math. I canned 1 ½ pint jars for 87 minutes. I’m at 4000 ft so 13 lbs pressure and used ¾ of a tsp of salt.

    October 31, 2022 at 7:49 pm
    • Amy Kinnard Reply

      Other than cooking a few extra minutes which doesn’t hurt anything, it sounds like you did everything by the book. Kudos to you!

      November 8, 2022 at 12:54 pm

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