| |

Canning Leftover Chili for Easy Meals Later

Pass it along!

As a busy Mom and homesteader, I’m always looking for ways to streamline meal prep. One of the best ways we’ve found to do this is by making large batches of soups or chili and canning the leftovers for a quick meal on another day. If you’ve wanted to incorporate pressure canning leftover chili into your repertoire, read on!

canning leftover chili

If I Can Do It, So Can You!

6 years ago, I had no idea how to can. Neither Jim or I grew up with this homestead life and I’d never seen anyone can anything in my life. It had been on my list of skills that I wanted to learn for a while but the canning process always felt too intimidating. I had no idea where to begin.

That summer we grew our first very large garden. It spanned the entire front yard and a good amount of the backyard of our suburban lot. 

garden tomatoes on cutting board for no peel tomato sauce

When August rolled around, we had so many tomatoes that were on the verge of going bad. And so, with a 2-year-old and a 1-month-old infant in tow, I watched videos, read tutorials, purchased a pressure canner, and canned my first batch of tomato sauce.

To my surprise, it wasn’t hard at all!

Pressure Canning Vs. Water Bath Canning

The water bath method is usually where most people start with canning. It’s a great way to preserve many fruits and vegetables. However, if you want to preserve meat of any kind, it must be pressure canned.

I actually started by learning how to pressure can, so that’s what I always do. I love how this method allows me to can anything I want!

pressure canner getting to pressure

Batch Cooking to Make Mealtime Easier

One of my favorite Mom hacks for making from scratch meals doable for our family is to batch cook. 

I set aside a couple hours, 2-3 times a week, to knock out much of my cooking for the week. This might include things like roasted veggies, rice, egg casserole, baked oatmeal, muffins, and of course a big pot of soup or chili.

I realized that it’s really no harder to triple or quadruple what I’m already making. That way, we eat it for a meal and can the leftovers for 2 or 3 more ready to go meals later.

tightening on canning jar lids

We also follow this big batch principle when making things like burgers or meatballs and then freeze them for future healthy meals.

How to Pressure Can Leftover Chili

Make your favorite chili recipe. This is our go to homemade chili but we like to adapt it based on what’s in the garden and the vegetables we have on hand. Our recipe includes ground beef, dry beans (black beans), chili powder, and tons of goodness from the garden like canned tomato sauce, bell peppers, garlic, onions, dry beans, carrots, and winter squash.

*Note: Be sure to read the manual for your specific canner to ensure safe home canning! This is not a certified canning recipe, just what we’ve always done. Be sure to do your own research when canning.

We set aside what we want for a meal that day and serve it up with our homemade sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

The rest of the hot chili is ladled into sterilized canning jars. We do this by cleaning the jars, lids, and bands in hot soapy water.

filling jars with canning funnel

Canning funnels make this job way easier!

For pressure canning meat you need to leave 1” of head space at the top of the jar.

Then tighten the bands and lids on your jars. Place jars in your pressure cooker on top of the rack that comes with the canner.

Tip: It’s recommended to use brand new lids every time you can to ensure a proper seal. The bands and jars can be reused. But we’ve always followed this advice on lids for the safest results. 

Fill the water with 3 quarts of warm water. 

placing jars of chili inside pressure canner

Secure the lid of your pressure canner and place it on your stove on high heat.

Let everything heat up and the steam begin to build. Once it reaches a certain amount of pressure a little button on the lid called the air vent will pop up. After the air vent is up, wait 10 minutes to let the pressure continue to build.

When the 10 minutes are up, place the weight (pressure regulator) on top.

placing the weight on the vent pipe

From here, the pressure gauge on the lid of your canner will begin to rise. This is measuring the amount of pressure building up inside the canner in pounds per square inch, or PSI.

Home-canned chili requires 11 pounds of pressure. Once your canner reaches 11 psi, you want to keep the pressure from continuing to rise and, instead, hold it steady at that amount of pressure for a processing time of 90 minutes for quart jars and 75 minutes for pint jars. Don’t forget to set a timer for this!

To do this, turn the heat down on your stove. It takes some observing at first. If the pressure continues to build, turn the heat down slightly. However, You want to keep the pressure from dipping below that 11 psi.

11 psi for canning chili

I never stray too far from my kitchen when canning chili for long term storage to ensure it is done safely.

When your timer goes off, remove your pressure canner from heat. We never remove the weight right away but let it naturally cool down and release pressure.

After the air vent button has gone down, remove the weight and the lid of the canner. Do this carefully as it will still likely be very hot and steamy inside.

Using canning tongs or a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canner and place on a hot pad.

removing hot jars with canning tongs

As the jars cool, you’ll hear a “pop” or a “ping” sound. This indicates that there is a good seal on the jar and your cans of chili can safely be stored on the pantry shelf! You can also tell it has sealed properly if the little bubble on the top of the jar has sucked in so that the lid is completely flat or even has a slightly inverted bubble.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully canned your own chili and have a few quick meals ready for future busy weeknights!

It’s best to store cans with rings removed and not stacked on top of eachother.

Quick tip! Don’t forget to label those jars with what’s inside and the date you canned it. I always think I’m going to remember what’s inside my jar and skip the step of labeling. Not a good idea!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can any chili or soup recipe be canned?

Vegetables, all types of meats, beans, and broths can be safely pressure canned.

Milk/cream and all dairy products, coconut milk, flour, corn starch, rice, pasta, starchy foods, and eggs cannot be canned. 

canning chili on aga stove

Chili is a great one because it is made up of all ingredients that can be pressure canned. For another recipe you want to can, like chicken noodle soup, you can always can it without the noodles and add them when you are warming it up. If we are canning a chowder type of soup, we’ll can everything but omit the dairy to add when we are heating up.

What kind of pressure canner do you use?

I’ve heard that you need a very expensive, high quality pressure canner in order to safely can at home. In the case of pressure canning, we haven’t found this to be true. 

We have the very basic and modestly priced Presto Pressure Canner that we bought for around $100 several years ago. It was a great place to start for a beginner canner and years later, is still working perfectly! The great thing about this is you can get started with very little cost investment. We’ve often seen the same pressure canner that we have second hand and very inexpensive.

pressure canning foods in farmhouse kitchen

Can I can cold, refrigerated leftover chili?

One of the biggest challenges home canners can run up against is having the experience of putting the work into canning a large batch of something they worked hard to make, only to have all of their jars of canned foods break.

Extreme temperature changes can cause jars to break if you put cold packed jars into a hot canner. The way we avoid this is by always packing jars with something warm or hot. This has always worked for us to avoid those major temperature shifts and broken jars.

If you are wanting to can refrigerated leftover chili, just warm it thoroughly before canning in a slow cooker or stovetop.

Some of the above links are affiliate links. This means we earn a small commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. We are so appreciative of your support!

For more our favorite canning recipes:

Sugar Free Tomato Sauce
Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate
Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

Pin it for later!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *