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Learn how to make the Best Canned Chili with this easy guide. Making your own canned chili recipe is also economical, and you know exactly what is in your chili, with no preservatives or additives.

A warm bowl of chili on a cold evening just makes the day better. You will enjoy it, even more, when all you have to do is open a can of your homemade chili and heat it up. This canned chili is one of my favorite canning recipes that I try to keep on hand year-round.

canned chili in quart jar and pint jar

If you enjoy canning and, like me, you are always on the hunt to try new recipes, be sure to visit my recipes for How To Can Vegetable SoupHow To Can ChiliHow To Can Cowboy Candy, Canning Tomato Soup with Fresh TomatoesCanning Beans, and Canning Salsa Without A Pressure Cooker.

This canned chili is also great to give as a meal to new mothers, someone sick or any other time when you want to bless someone with a meal in a meal train. pack up some crackers with it and they have a meal that they can heat and eat when needed.

Can you can chili?

Yes, you can absolutely make the best canned chili for long-term storage. With the right equipment, such as a pressure canner, proper procedures, and following recommended guidelines, you can safely preserve chili for long-term storage.

This recipe must be pressure canned because it has several low-acid ingredients like beef, onions, and peppers. If you are not familiar with pressure canning, then be sure and read my post Learn How To Pressure Can

Why Make Your Own Canned Chili

Canning your own meals is very satisfying and helps you become self-reliant. You also will know every ingredient that goes into your jars is the freshest you can buy. No guessing when looking at a food ingredient list anymore what some of the ingredients might be.

Canning your own chili is easy and safe when you use a good canning chile recipe and a few basic canning safety tips. You can have a quick heat and eat dinner ready on a cold winter night in minutes.

Canning Safty First

My main objective is to provide you with clear and safe pressure canning techniques for canning meats. To achieve this, I rely on information sourced from the National Center For Home Food Preservation (NCHFP). The NCHFP is a reliable and up-to-date resource for researched-based guidelines on preserving home-canned food.

What Equipment You Will Need

For more information on tools for canning, visit my Canning Supplies Guide.

Tip: How To Stralize Canning Jars

To sterilize canning jars, wash jars in soapy hot water, examining them for any left-on bits of food or residue. Place the clean jars upright in a large pot or canner, submerging them in water. Bring the water to a boil and let the jars boil for at least 10 minutes. You could also run them through the sanitizing cycle in your dishwasher. 

Maintain A Clean Workspace When Canning Meats

Clean workspace: Maintaining a clean work area is crucial when pressure canning beef chili to ensure food safety. Start by thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing your work surface, utensils, and canning equipment before you begin. Throughout the process, regularly wash your hands with warm, soapy water and keep surfaces clear of any clutter or potential contaminants. Additionally, promptly clean up any spills or messes to prevent cross-contamination. Practicing good hygiene and keeping a clean work area can minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses and ensure safe canning.

Ingredients For Canning Chili Recipe

spices in jars for canned chili
  • ground beef
  • onions 
  •  green pepper
  • jalapeno
  • garlic 
  • tomatoes canned with juice
  • chili powder
  •  salt
  • cumin seeds
  • cumin powder
  • oregano dried
  • coriander ground
  • chili pepper seeds (optional)

How To Can Homemade Chili

So let’s go through the step-by-step instructions for safely canning homemade chili.

How To Prepare Chili For Canning

  1. In a large stainless steel saucepan, over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Drain off fat.
  2. Add onions, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno. Sautee until onions are tender.
hamburger, onions and garlic in black skillet

3. Add tomatoes, chili powder, salt, cumin seeds, coriander, oregano, chili pepper seeds (if desired), and cumin powder.

4. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and then simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes so the fat rises to the top. Skim off any excess fat that forms on the top of the chili.

Follow Your Canner’s Manufacturing Guidelines For Processing

I have used the All-American Pressure Cooker & Canner for over 40 years without any problems or concerns. However, there are many other good brands of pressure canning pots. I strongly suggest you check your canner’s guidelines for preparing your canner properly for canning and processing various foods. Here is a list of safety guides for some popular canners. 

Steps For Processing Chili In A Pressure Canner

Refer to your pressure canner’s manual for specific instructions on adding water and using the canner.

  1. Add water: Begin by adding the appropriate amount of water to your pressure cooker based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, you’ll need to add about 2 to 3 inches of water to create steam for the canning process.
  2. Load the canner and seal the lid: Place the loaded jars in the pressure cooker, following the cooker’s guidelines for spacing and capacity. Place the canner lid on and tightly secure it. Turn the stove burner on medium high heat. 
  3. Wait for a steady flow of steam: Allow the canner to heat until a steady flow of steam is seen coming out of the vent. The steam indicates that the canner is purging the air and achieving a proper internal temperature.
  4. Time for steam release: Depending on the size and type of your canner, allow the canner to heat up and produces a steady stream of steam. However, referring to your specific canner’s manual for recommended times is important.
  5. Add the weight or close the vent: Once the canner has been purged of air and a steady flow of steam is observed for 10 – 15 minutes, you can add the weight or close the vent, depending on the type of pressure canner you’re using. This will allow pressure to build up inside the canner.
  6. Reach and stabilize at the desired pressure: The canner will take additional time to reach and stabilize at the desired pressure for your recipe. The specific pressure will depend on the altitude and type of canner you have. 
  7. Process for the required time: Once the pressure is reached, start the timer for the required processing time. The processing time and pounds of pressure will depend on your altitude. Processing time will vary depending on the size of your jars. See the chart in the recipe card. 

National Center for Home Food Preservation‘s pressure canning times for soups and chili with beef, chicken or pork.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Soups/Chili with beef, chicken, and pork in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
 Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes
Style of PackJar SizeProcess Time0 – 2,000 ft2,001 – 4,000 ft4,001 – 6,000 ft6,001 – 8,000 ft
HotPints60 min11 lb12 lb13 lb14 lb
Quarts75 min11121314
 
Table 2. Recommended process time for Soups/Chili with beef, chicken, and pork in a weighted-gauge pressure canner
 Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of PackJar SizeProcess Time0 – 1,000 ftAbove 1,000 ft
HotPints60 min10 lb15 lb
Quarts75 min1015
 

 

Cooling, Testing Seals, And Storage Of Canned Chili

  1. After the processing time is complete, turn off the heat and allow the canner to depressurize naturally. Do not force-cool or remove the lid prematurely.
  2. Once the canner has depressurized, carefully remove the jars using a jar lifter. Be careful, the contents in the jar will still be boiling. Place the jars upright on a folded in half dish towel on your countertop. *Do not remove the rings.
  3. Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.
  4. Check the seals by pressing down on the center of each lid. A properly sealed jar will not flex or pop. *(See tips below) If a jar hasn’t sealed, refrigerate and consume the contents within a few days.
  5. Label the sealed jars with the date and store them in a cool, dark place. 
close up of canned chili in jar

Tips For Making Spicy Chili

These can be added to your chili before canning, or you can add them when you reheat your chili. Just be very careful if you add before canning, the heat will intensify significantly.

  • Chipotle in adobo sauce: Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce bring a smoky, slightly hot flavor profile to your chili.
  • Cayenne pepper powder: Dried cayenne peppers ground into a fine powder can add some heat to your chili. Its strong medium heat (30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units) can significantly increase your chili’s heat level. Add a 1/2 teaspoon at a time and taste to see if you need more.
  • Crushed red pepper: These pepper seeds are simply another form of cayenne pepper. The only difference is that it comes in flake form rather than ground to a fine powder. It adds a similar level of heat as cayenne pepper but without the bright red color. You will get little bites of heat instead of an overall heat.
  • Sambal oelek: This is a chili paste made by Huy Fong Foods. The base is made with ripe red jalapeños.
  • Jalapenos: Add a few chopped jalapenos as you cook you chile or topping when you reheat it.

Questions and Tips For Canning Chili

Canning Vegetarian Chili

This chili recipe can be made vegetarian by substituting a meat substitute found in your grocery freezer section. Cook as you would hamburger. Also, you could switch the amount of meat needed for already cooked pinto or navy beans.

Canned Chili With Beans

This recipe does not have beans in it. We have bean people and no bean people in our family. I stir in some homemade canned beans when reheating this canned chili recipe. When you can your own beans you can economically add your favorite beans to any recipe.

canned beans in pint jar

The recommended amount of headspace in canning jars for chili in a pressure cooker is typically 1 inch (2.5 cm). Headspace refers to the space between the top of the food (in this case, the chili) and the rim of the jar.

How Do I Know If My Canning Jars Are Sealed Properly After Pressure Canning Beef?

After pressure canning chili, checking if the jars have sealed properly is essential for food safety. Wait 12 hours after processing your meat before you check the seals. Here are a few ways to determine if your canning jars are sealed:

  1. Visual Inspection: After removing the jars from the pressure canner and allowing them to cool, visually inspect the lids. A properly sealed lid will be slightly concave or “dome-shaped” in the center. If the lid is flat or indented, it indicates a good seal. Be sure to remove any screw bands before inspecting.
  2. Lid Testing: Gently press down on the center of the lid with your finger. A properly sealed lid should not flex or move. If the lid remains firmly in place and doesn’t pop back, it indicates a good seal.
  3. Listen for the “Ping”: During the cooling process, you may hear a “ping” or popping sound. This sound is an indication that the jars have sealed properly. However, it’s important to note that not all properly sealed jars may make this sound, so it should not be relied upon as the sole indicator of a good seal.
  4. Finger Tightness: Once the jars have cooled completely, remove the screw bands and gently try to lift the jar by holding onto the lid. If the lid holds securely and does not detach from the jar, it indicates a proper seal.

You have a few options if you find jars that did not seal properly. You can refrigerate and consume the contents within a few days, reprocess the jars using appropriate canning procedures, or freeze the contents if suitable for freezing. Always prioritize food safety and consult trusted canning resources or experts for further guidance if you encounter any issues with sealing.

Should I Store Canned Food With The Rings On Or Off For Long-Term Storage?

Once your canned food has been properly sealed and cooled, removing the screw bands or rings is recommended before storing the jars. Here’s why:

  1. Checking for Seals: Removing the rings allows you to visually inspect the lids and ensure a proper seal has formed. If a jar hasn’t been sealed properly, you can identify it by the lid being loose or popping up. Keeping the rings on may hide this issue and give a false impression of a sealed jar.
  2. Preventing Rust and Odors: The rings can sometimes trap moisture, which can lead to rusting over time. Additionally, if any food residue remains on the jar or ring, it may cause odors or attract pests. Removing the rings reduces the chances of rust and helps maintain a clean storage environment.
  3. Easy Cleaning: Without the rings, it’s easier to clean the jars thoroughly before storing or reusing them for future canning projects. Removing the rings allows better access to the jar and lid, ensuring proper hygiene.

However, it’s important to note that the absence of rings does not affect the sealed jars’ integrity or their ability to preserve the food safely. The jars can be stored without the rings as long as the seal is intact. Be careful not to bump the seals when putting them in storage.

Can I Use A Water Bath Canner For Canning Chili?

No, using a water bath canner for canning meat is not safe. To safely can chili, you must use a pressure canner because it can reach and maintain high temperatures above 240°F (116°C). This temperature is necessary to kill bacteria, spores, and other potential pathogens commonly found in low-acid food like meat. Using a water bath canner is not recommended as it cannot reach the required high enough temp to ensure food safety when canning meat.

How To Reheat Canned Chili

To effortlessly reheat and store your chili, follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose a suitable pot: Select a pot that is large enough to comfortably stir your chili without causing any spillage over the sides.
  2. Reheat on the stovetop: Pour the chili into the pot and reheat it over medium heat. Stir the chili occasionally to prevent sticking, ensuring even heating. Continue heating until the soup reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
  3. Slow cooker (optional): If you wish to keep the chili warm during serving, you can pour canned chili into an already warm slow cooker set on the low heat setting. This will help maintain the temperature without overcooking.

Ways To Serve Canned Chili

  • Use as a topping over nachos.
  • Top a big plate of fries with hot chili, then sprinkle with cheese and hot sauce
  • Melt together one cup of chili, one cup of shredded Velveeta cheese, and 1 cup of milk to make a chili cheese dip
  • Pour hot chili into a bowl and top with cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, and oyster crackers.

Topping Ideas for Homemade Canned Chili

Create a chili bar for your family when you serve your canned chili. Gather some small bowls and fill them with some of these chili topping ideas. It’s a fun way for everyone to get a delicious custom bowl of chili.

  • sour cream
  • chopped onions
  • cowboy candy
  • a variety of hot sauces
  • bacon
  • tortilla chips or corn chips
  • shredded cheeses
  • oyster crackers or saltines
  • cilantro
  • cornbread
  • sweet potatoes cubes roasted

Mix-in Ideas For Serving Chili

Add any of these mix-ins when reheating your chile to create unique flavors.

  • Beer: Pouring in a few ounces of beer when reheating this canned chili can be a nice way to add a warm hoppy flavor without much liquid. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so, and the alcohol will be cooked to, but the flavor still there.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Add a little sweetness to a spicy chili with a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar.
  • Fresh herbs: Chopped cilantro and parsley common topping for chili. The flavor is fresh, and it adds instant color when reheating your chili.
  • Cocoa: Unsweetened cocoa, often found in rich mole sauces, is an easy add-in. It’s a quick addition that will deepen the flavor. Start by adding one to two tablespoons, and then taste and adjust from there.

What does adding vinegar do to chili?

Stirred into the pot right before serving, a tablespoon of white vinegar brightens up the chili pot. Chili recipes normally don’t call for it, but it’s a great way to add a little zip to your chili.

More Chili Recipes: If you love chili, then be sure to visit my Texas Road House Copycat Chili, Wendy’s Copycat Chili, Zippy’s Chili Copycat, White Bean Chili, and Skyline Chili Copycat.

Need a big batch to feed a crowd? You can easily change the number of servings in the recipe card below by tapping 2x or 3x. The ingredient measurements will automatically double or triple. You can then tap print and there you have it, a recipe for a crowd.

gina in the kitchen cooking and image of dishes made by intentional hospitality
canned chili in quart and pint jars
5 from 5 ratings

Best Canned Chili: Step-By-Step

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6 pints
This homemade Best Canned Chili Recipe is an easy way to make a big batch of delicious chili for quick-serve meals on a cold and busy night.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 5 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, medium size, finely chopped and seeded
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups tomatoes, canned with juice
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper seeds, optional

Instructions
 

Prepare Chili

  • In a large stainless steel saucepan, over medium-high heat, brown ground beef.
    5 lbs ground beef
  • Drain off fat.
  • Add onions, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno. Saute until onions are tender.
    2 cups onions, 1/2 cup green pepper, 2 cloves garlic, 1 jalapeno
  • Add tomatoes, chili powder, salt, cumin seeds, coriander, oregano, chili pepper seeds (if desired), and cumin powder.
    6 cups tomatoes, 1/4 cup chili powder, 4 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons cumin powder, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon chili pepper seeds
  • Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and then simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes so the fat rises to the top. Skim off any excess fat that forms on the top of the chili.

Pressure Cooking Chili Instructions

  • Note: Refer to your pressure canner's manual for specific instructions on adding water and using the canner.
  • Add water: Begin by adding the appropriate amount of water to your pressure cooker based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, you’ll need to add about 2 to 3 inches of water to create steam for the canning process.
  • Load the canner and seal the lid: Place the loaded jars in the pressure cooker, following the cooker’s guidelines for spacing and capacity. Place the canner lid on and tightly secure it. Turn the stove burner on medium high heat.
  • Wait for a steady flow of steam: Allow the canner to heat until a steady flow of steam is seen coming out of the vent. The steam indicates that the canner is purging the air and achieving a proper internal temperature.
  • Time for steam release: Depending on the size and type of your canner, allow the canner to heat up and produces a steady stream of steam. However, referring to your specific canner’s manual for recommended times is important.
  • Add the weight or close the vent: Once the canner has been purged of air and a steady flow of steam is observed for 10 – 15 minutes, you can add the weight or close the vent, depending on the type of pressure canner you’re using. This will allow pressure to build up inside the canner.
  • Reach and stabilize at the desired pressure: The canner will take additional time to reach and stabilize at the desired pressure for your recipe. The specific pressure will depend on the altitude and type of canner you have.
  • Process for the required time: Once the pressure is reached, start the timer for the required processing time. The processing time and pounds of pressure will depend on your altitude. Processing time will vary depending on the size of your jars. See the chart in notes section.

Notes

Table 1. Recommended process time for Soups/Chili with beef, chicken, and pork in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 60 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 75 min 11 12 13 14
 
 
Table 2. Recommended process time for Soups/Chili with beef, chicken, and pork in a weighted-gauge pressure canner
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 60 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 75 min 10 15
 
Cooling, Testing Seals, And Storage Of Canned Chili
  1. After the processing time is complete, turn off the heat and allow the canner to depressurize naturally. Do not force-cool or remove the lid prematurely.
  2. Once the canner has depressurized, carefully remove the jars using a jar lifter. Be careful, the contents in the jar will still be boiling. Place the jars upright on a folded in half dish towel on your countertop. *Do not remove the rings.
  3. Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.
  4. Check the seals by pressing down on the center of each lid. A properly sealed jar will not flex or pop. *(See tips below) If a jar hasn’t sealed, refrigerate and consume the contents within a few days.
  5. Label the sealed jars with the date and store them in a cool, dark place.
Serving: 1cup, Calories: 523kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 39g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 134mg, Sodium: 989mg, Potassium: 840mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 2105IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 77mg, Iron: 5mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Canning, Soup
Author: Gina Dickson

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