Stocking Your Pantry: Make Your Own Canned Chili


Canned Chili from Black Fox Homestead

I haven’t always been a fan of canned chili.

To me the words “canned” and “chili” conjure up images of something heated  over a camp fire and loaded with spongy bits of processed meat food.

It wasn’t until I saw a recipe for glorified nachos on a real food blog recommending Whole Foods generic organic brand of chili that my attitude towards this convenience food changed. I soon began stocking up on it  to have on hand for those moments when I needed something fast.

But it was expensive, and there came a time when we had so many of “those moments”, that stocking it really started to strain the budget.  Then we began canning, and I decided to start putting up my own.

While canned is still processed, and not quite as tasty as fresh; when canned in my own kitchen I know exactly what goes into it.  When we’ve been on the go, working in the garden, or I simply don’t have a meal planned, I can pop open a jar of chili and have a meal on the table in just a matter of minutes.  This is also great for lunches when we don’t have leftovers on hand or bread made for sandwiches.

Plan ahead: unless you are going to use canned beans, you will need to soak your beans enough in advance so that they will be ready when you are ready to cook.  I soak mine overnight and cook them the following morning.  However,  Jackie Clay recommends lightly cooking the beans the day of by covering  with water, bringing to a boil, boiling for five minutes and then allowing them to stand, covered for at least 2 hours.

1. Start with a clean kitchen.  Canning is fun and rewarding but it is an all day thing.  It also involves numerous steps that cannot be overlooked, it can get hot and heavy.  A clean, uncluttered kitchen will help make things go much more smoothly and eliminate unnecessary confusion.

2. Read through all instructions before getting started.  All of your instructions, your recipe, your canning guide (you do have one don’t you?  Don’ t can without one.  The internet/blogs are not considered a canning guide), your canner instructions.  Keep them out in a place where they can be easily referred back to.

My cookbook, Tattler lid instructions, canner instructions, and canning guide ready to go

My cookbook, Tattler lid instructions, canner instructions, and canning guide ready to go

3. Wash your jars, lids and bands.

4. Set your jars in the oven to warm

5. Pour simmering water over your jars and bands.

Now, after you have done all that,  and feel that you’ve already done a full days’ work (at least I do at this point)… prepare a monster batch of  your favorite chili recipe.

Slightly stressed, and making sure everything is in order before firing up the canner

Slightly stressed, and making sure everything is in order before firing up the canner

~When it has started to heat through, fill your hot jars leaving 1” of headspace.

~Put on your lids and screw on the bands fingertip tight.

~Load them into  your canner and process according to your canner directions at 10# of pressure.  Process pints  for 75 min.  and quarts for 90 min.

Following is the recipe I like to use.  Bear in mind that we like a lot of heat, and that heat will increase over time.  This  gets us about 7 quarts with a little bit leftover to sample.

Texas Chili

2T of bacon grease or oil

4 medium yellow onions, chopped

6T chopped garlic

6T chili powder

4T paprika

2T cumin

4t dried oregano

2 pounds of ground beef

4t kosher salt

4 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes

30oz of cooked kidney beans

30oz of cooked black turtle beans

2T minced chipotle chilis in adobo sauce

Heat the grease in a large stock pot.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until tender.  Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, and oregano and stir until the spices are well combined.  Add the ground beef and 1t of the salt.  Cook, stirring frequently until cooked through.  8-10 minutes.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally. for 1 hour*.  Adjust the seasonings with more salt or chipotle chilis if necessary.

*If making this recipe to can, delete this step.  Cook just until heated through.  It will finish cooking during the canning process.

Serving suggestion: top with any one or all of the following: grated sharp white cheddar cheese, chopped white or green onions, sour cream, crumbled blue corn chips, chopped jalepeno chilis.


The chili recipe was adapted from a recipe in this cookbook which I highly recommend. It was given to me by my mother at one of my first bridal showers. Every single recipe in it is a winner.

We purchased this book through Backwoods Home but it is also available through Amazon. It has been very helpful in learning how to stock and store our pantry.


Everyone needs a canning guide! Don’t can without one.

…and this is the pressure canner we use. I’ve been very pleased.



If something you read today was helpful to you please consider leaving a comment and following along ~ we’d love to have you! Just visit the sidebar and subscribe to updates via email. All considerate comments are welcomed, appreciated, read, and enjoyed. I will do my best to respond although it may take me a little bit. I’m often up to my ears in laundry, cleaning, baking, gardening, or canning, but I’d love to chat!

Find this post and others like it linked to: Eat Make Grow, Simple Lives Thursday, Farm Girl Blog Fest, Farm Girl Friday Blog Hop, The Homestead Barn Hop, Homemade Mondays, The Backyard Farming Connection, Wildcrafting Wednesday, The Homeacre Hop, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Ole Saturday Homesteading Post

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Stocking Your Pantry: Make Your Own Canned Chili — 35 Comments

  1. I’m all for convenience foods. I can my dried beans so that I always have canned beans on hand. Love. Love. Love my canner!

    • I need to can up a batch of beans. Those in and of themselves are a convenience food. Grate cheese over them, sprinkle them on chips and you have nachos.

    • Thank you! It was hard for me to let go of the red. Our barn is red and white, I wanted our blog to be red and white too. :P Then one day it didn’t load properly and I saw the format in a lighter color. Figured it would be best to change. The red border is a compromise. Still have a few glitches here and there that need attending to…

    • I’m so happy you like it Heidi! I didn’t add the Italian sausage to this batch because I didn’t have any on hand. I missed it though. It really is a good recipe. Hope all is well. :)

  2. I have not started using a pressure canner yet. In fact, I’m not sure we have one! I will have to see. :-) I love your new lighter format on your blog!! So good. :-)

    • My husband got me this one last summer and I use it frequently. He’d like me to be canning once a week but since it is such a project that is really hard sometimes. I’m glad you like the new format. I loved the red, but figured this was a compromise.

  3. Looks like I have a weekend canning project now! I also home can my beans jsut because you can’t find them in the store with NO SALT! I suppose it would be ok to omit the beans from this recipe? Then I could add some of my home canned beans at the same time I open a jar of chili to heat up.

    • I really need to can up some beans for convenience. We buy them in bulk but I don’t always remember to soak them overnight. Yes, you could just delete the beans and add them when you heat up the chili. Just know that it probably won’t make a full 7 quarts. Good luck with it!

      • I have my chili in the canner now! After omitting the beans and adding an extra pound of ground beef, I ended up with almost 5 quarts. I was only about a cup shy of having the 5th quart full, so guess what I’m having for lunch?

  4. I plan to can up beans as I NEVER remember to prepare them the day before. I’ve never had canned chilli, bought or otherwise but if it’s anything like canned spaghetti bolognaise, the bought stuff isn’t worth the price paid. YOUR recipe sounds yummy though and I reckon I might have to give it a try. :)

  5. Is this a tested recipe? I have never seen a tested recipe for chili that includes the beans. My Blue Book is current and instructs that you can the beans separately, and the other ingredients together, then combine the two jars when you heat it for eating.

    • I canned this up according to Jackie Clay’s instructions and considering her level of experience I *personally* am comfortable with the results and with her advice. However, I recommend that if that is what your Blue Book states, that is what you should go with. This is why I have stated in every canning post that I publish, one should never, ever use a blog or the internet as a reference.

      • Another reference that I used is my Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving published by the USDA. The recipe for chili con carne is very similar and includes beans.

      • Thanks for the reply! I really like Jackie Clay’s stuff too – I was just curious to know if there were sources out there that had tested the chili with beans. Much appreciated.

        • I can totally understand the concern, and that is why I always say only do what you are comfortable with. But yes, that is what Jackie recommends and that is what my USDA guide also recommends. I would love to meet Jackie some day. She and her husband offer seminars on their homestead that include canning lessons. I’d love to attend one.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I have bought a pressure canner but have yet to use it because it is so hard to find the times for the foods I want to can. I WILL be trying this out. Thanks again

    • I totally understand about trying to find the time to can. It can easily turn into an all day project. Good luck with it.

  7. Great post, very encouraging! I have only used my pressure canner to can some carrots but really need to do up some beans and things like chili and stew.

    • Pressure canning can be intimidating and I still get nervous. I’ve loved being able to put up my own “healthy” convenience food though.

  8. Jenny I completely agree I am not a fan at all of store bought canned chilli! But your chilli looks amazing! I will definitely look into the cookbook you recommended too. I am so excited that you linked up to our blog hop “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post”…I always look forward to reading and learning from your posts!

  9. Thanks for sharing your chili recipe, Jenny. I’ve heard very good things about it. I don’t do any pressure canning these days but I am planning to make up a batch for the freezer so we have some meals on hand for after the baby comes. I need to make it a bit milder so the kids can eat it- I’m thinking that reducing the chipotles (maybe to 1 T?) would do the trick? Or would you omit entirely? I have some fresh Anaheims I could add in to compensate for the loss of flavor.

    • Hi Janee! This recipe freezes really well. If I were you I would just delete the chipotle chilis entirely then maybe add them when thawing and reheating to taste, maybe even separating the kids portion from the adults. I think they add a lot and are part of what makes this recipe unique; but I think they could be too hot for littles.

  10. I love canning up my own “convenience foods”. Yes, fresh is better, but let’s be realistic. I have canned several things in completed form, like chicken soup (just add cooked or dried rice, pasta, or potatoes on the stove), chili, spaghetti sauce, etc. However, I have also found that having a few ingredients on hand (canned carrots, beans, chicken, beef, and tomatoes) give me a slightly broader range as well as a semi-homemade feel. It also allows me to stock up on some produce items either from the garden or from sales which then help me save my budget if we run short at the end of the month. No money? No problem. Raid the pantry and the freezer. :-)

    • Last year we had green beans but not enough for canning and I would really like to try that this year. It would be great to have the flexibility of veg in a jar as well.

  11. I wanted to make a vegetarian version of this, do I just exclude the bacon grease and ground beef from my recipe? Thank you!

    • Nakalan, yes you could. The processing time may be different though. I will ask around with my canning friends and see what I can come up with for you.

  12. Pingback: Pressure Canning Recipes | The Homesteading Hippy

  13. When you eat the chili, how do you prepare it? Do I have to boil it for 20 minutes before eating it?