Gluten Free / Main Dishes / Meat / Preserving / Savory and Splendid!

Pressure Canned Chicken Breast


img_3817Today I am talking about chicken.  Not just chicken, but preserving chicken by pressure canning.  That’s right…storing chicken in your pantry! I am assuming that most people who aren’t familiar with pressure canning meat had the same reaction that I have had in the past: maybe you cringed? Gagged perhaps? I understand.

A little background: a few years ago my mother-in-law sent me a series of emails pertaining to canning meat.  Initially the thought of preserving meat in jars gave me a few reactions.  One, kind of disgusted.  Two, scary…like if I do this wrong I may kill someone kind of scary.  Three, a little intriguing.

I guess a few years of getting used to the idea and actually having a pressure canner in my possession to make it possible was enough to change my mind, ha!  Honestly though, it is super easy.  As long as you follow proper sanitizing and canning techniques {which I will not get into here, but will post some helpful links}, it is probably easier than canning salsa or jam!

I got some boneless, skinless chicken breast on sale the other day and thought, “Well, there’s no time like the present!” Note to self and to you all who are reading: make sure that the “present” starting time isn’t like at 8:00pm, unless you want to stay up til wee hours.  Heh.

Cut up your chicken breast [trimming off excess fat in the process} into whatever size suits you.  I cut them up, or rather my husband cut them up, into about 1″ pieces.  Thanks honey.


Note: You want to make sure to keep the meat in the fridge or freezer to keep cold right up until you are ready to use it.  Chicken that is room temperature is prime condition for bacteria growth…no thanks! Also, meat that is slightly frozen {obviously not frozen solid} is easier to slice up, FYI.

I did something called a “raw pack”, in lieu of a “hot pack” method when filling my jars.  Pretty much it is exactly what is says…packing raw meat in the jar without any kind of cooking or heating up of the meat first.

To raw pack the chicken, first you get your hot sterilized jars and pack in the chicken pieces, pressing down to make sure to fill in any pockets of air.  Leave a 1″-1 1/4″ head space at the top of the jar.  You want to keep the rim of the jar as clean as possible in this process, and utilizing a canning funnel helps in this process.


Once jars are filled with meat, you can add 1/2 tsp salt per pint or 1 tsp salt per quart if desired, but isn’t necessary for preserving…it’s just for flavor.  You can always season the chicken when you are re-heating to eat however you like.


If you choose to add salt, it is better to use pickling and canning salt, otherwise if you use regular iodized salt it can make the liquid cloudy looking.  Honestly, it isn’t like you are canning chicken for the looks of it though

Next, dip a clean paper towel in hot water or vinegar and wipe the rims of your jars, making sure that there is no chicken or fat remnants on them.  This helps ensure a proper seal.

Place brand new and washed lids that have been sitting in hot water {but not boiling} onto wiped rims.   Place rings on jars and tighten until *just* finger tight.

Place jars on a rack inside of pressure canner that has the amount of hot water that your specific brand calls for.  I have a Presto 23-quart pressure canner which calls for 3 quarts of water.


My canner holds 7 quart-sized jars, or 19 pint-sized jars {10 on the bottom with 9 stagger-stacked on top}.

Place lid on canner, and turn the heat up to high.  Allow the canner to “vent” for 10 minutes.  This means that once steam starts coming out of the vent in a steady stream, set the timer for 10 minutes.


I couldn’t get a good picture of the steam coming out, but you should be able to feel, hear and see the steam once it is coming out steadily.

When the 10 minutes are up, place the pressure regulator on the canner and allow the pressure to build to 11 pounds pressure {0-2,000 feet elevation}.  Once 11 pounds of pressure is built, keep pressure steady by adjusting heat up or down when necessary.

Click here to view the table from the National Center for Home Preservation if you are at a higher altitude than 2,000 feet OR if you have a weighted-gauge pressure canner verses a dial-gauge pressure canner.  Process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.


When processing time is up, carefully remove canner from heat and allow to sit, undisturbed until the pressure returns to zero.  Do not take the pressure regulator off the canner until the pressure is zero, and do not try to speed up the cooling off process.  Allow to sit at least another 10 minutes undisturbed beyond the “reaching zero” stage before removing lid to take jars out to cool off.


Carefully remove jars using a jar lifter and place on a towel lined surface. I also like to cover the hot jars with a layer or two of towels to keep the cooler air from cracking the hot jars.


Allow jars to sit, undisturbed for 12-24 hours.  Check to make sure jars have sealed. Remove rings and wash and dry jars to get any juice residue off.  Dry jars.  Label, date and store.


When you are ready to use your preserved chicken, you will have some of the most moist and tender chicken readily available. Just add to your favorite recipes, heat and enjoy!



Some helpful links for proper canning techniques for chicken:

National Center for Home Food Preservation

Presto: Pressure Canning Meat

University of Missouri Extension Office

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2 thoughts on “Pressure Canned Chicken Breast

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