Chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food to help warm you on a cold winter evening. Learn how to make and can chicken soup for your food storage pantry.
Pressure canning homemade soup is a great way to fill your panty with easy to heat and eat meals with no added chemicals, preservatives, or sodium found in commercially processed cans. You control the quality of the ingredients and can even customize the vegetables and seasoning to your liking.
When you open a jar of home canned chicken soup, it can be heated and served as is, or amended with other ingredients. Consider adding cooked rice, noodles, fresh herbs, and leftover vegetables you may have in the refrigerator. Simply combine the ingredients in a saucepan, add more liquid if needed, heat, season to taste, and serve hot.
Tips for Canning Soups
Home canning soups is a science. In order to safely can soups, you need to use an updated, tested recipe provided by a reliable science-based source.
This chicken soup recipe is from The Ball Blue Book of Preserving. It uses different vegetables, and the seasoning has been adjusted. Here are other tips to help you can homemade chicken soup for your food storage shelves.
Use a Pressure Canner
Soups are made from meat and low acid vegetables. To make jars of home canned soups safe for eating, they must be processed in a pressure canner. A pressure canner brings the temperature up high enough to kill harmful microorganisms. You can freeze the soup if you don’t have a pressure canner.
Make Your Own Chicken Stock
Delicious soups start with a flavorful stock. My favorite way to make chicken soup begins by slow roasting a whole chicken in a crockpot. Once the chicken is cooked, the meat is removed and the bones are returned to the slow cooker, combined with vegetable scraps, water, and slow cooked to extract as much flavor as possible.
Then the stock is strained and refrigerated overnight so the fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off before using. You’ll need about 16 cups (4 quarts) of prepared chicken stock for this recipe. Use stock that is made fresh, canned, or frozen.
Select fresh or frozen vegetables. You can use any combination of vegetables that have been tested for home canning, including asparagus, string beans, carrots, celery, corn, peas, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.
The PennState Extension advises to avoid canning pumpkin, winter squash, broccoli, or cauliflower because these pack together and contain ingredients that interfere with safe processing. There are no scientifically research-tested recipes for these vegetables in soups. Instead, add these vegetables when you open the jar at serving time.
Steps to Making and Canning Chicken Soup
If you are new to canning or need a refresher, it may be helpful to review this article on pressure canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.
A more detailed and printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this article, but these are the general steps for making and canning homemade chicken soup:
Step 1: Gather Your Kitchen Equipment
- Pressure canner
- 8 pint sized canning jars, or 4 quart sized jars
- Canning lids and bands
- Canning tools: lid lifter, jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and bubble popper
- Plus basic kitchen supplies such as prep bowls, large sauce pot, small pot, cutting board, knife, measuring cups, and kitchen towels.
Step 2: Prepare the Vegetables
You will need 4 cups of chopped vegetables for this recipe. For this recipe, I used a combination of string beans, sliced carrots, sliced celery, frozen corn, frozen peas, and diced onion. But feel free to mix and match to your taste using vegetables that are safe for pressure canning (see Choosing Vegetables above).
Wash fresh vegetables thoroughly under clean, running water. The peeling on carrots and tomatoes may harbor bacteria. Both must be peeled before using. If you use dried beans or peas, they must be soaked and rehydrated before canning. Keep the vegetables in chunks so the heat can surround and penetrate properly when processed in the pressure canner.
Step 3: Make the Soup
Combine the chicken stock, vegetables, chicken, parsley, and seasonings to a large sauce pot. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes. Prepare the canning equipment while the soup is simmering.
Step 4: Prepare the Canning Equipment
Wash the canning jars and lids with warm, soapy water and rinse well. Place the canner on the stove and insert the canning rack. Fill the jars part way with warm water and place them in the canner. Add water, cover, and bring the canner it to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil the jars for 10 minutes to sterilize and warm up the canner.
Warm your lids in a small pot of water over low heat. Keep everything warm until you are ready to can.
Step 5: Can the Chicken Soup
Using the ladle and canning funnel, fill the jar about halfway with the solid ingredients, and top with the liquid maintaining a 1-inch headspace. Repeat with the remaining jars.
Run the bubble popper through the jars to remove air bubbles, clean the rims, cover, and place the jars into the pressure canner. Process the jars according to the instructions for your canner for the proper times indicated below.
After processing, allow the canner to cool and depressurize, remove the jars, and let them cool completely. Wash the jars with soapy water, label, date, and store the jars of chicken soup in a cool location. Use within 12-18 months.
To serve, open the jars and pour the soup into a saucepan. Feel free to add other ingredients, such as cooked pasta, cooked rice, homemade egg noodles, and fresh herbs. Heat the soup for about 10 minutes, season to taste, and serve warm. Makes 8 pints or 4 quarts of chicken soup.
Chicken Soup Canning Recipe
- 16 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup cut string beans
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1/2 cup sliced celery
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3 cups cooked diced chicken
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional for flavoring)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional for flavoring)
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (optional for flavoring)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (optional for flavoring)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper (optional for flavoring)
Make the chicken soup:
- Add the chicken stock, vegetables, chicken, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper and to a large pot. Stir to combine, and bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once the pot reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Prepare your canning jars and lids:
- Wash the canning jars and lids with warm, soapy water and rinse well.
- Place the jar rack into the pressure canner, set the clean jars in the canner, add water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize. Turn the heat to low and keep jars warm until you are ready to use them.
- Warm your lids in a small pot of water over low heat.
Can the chicken soup:
- Spread a kitchen towel on the counter. Using your jar lifter, remove the warm jars from the canner, drain, and line up on the towel.
- Using the ladle and canning funnel, fill the jars halfway with solid ingredients, and top with the liquid leaving a 1-inch headspace.
- Run the bubble popper through the jar to release air bubbles.
- Use your magnetic lid lifter to lift lids out of the warm water, center lid on the jar, and screw on band until it is fingertip tight.
- Using the jar lifter, place the jars back into the pressure canner leaving space in between them. Once the jars are all in canner, adjust the water level per your pressure canner's instructions. If adding water, use the hot water from the small pot you used to warm your lids.
- Follow the directions for your pressure canner and process pints for 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes), and quarts for 90 minutes (1 hour and 30 minutes) at 10 pounds of pressure (psi) for at altitudes of less than 1,000 feet. Adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary.
- When processing time is complete, turn off the heat and allow the pressure canner to depressurize and cool for about 1 hour.
- When the pressure canner has cooled, spread a kitchen towel on the counter, unlock cover and remove by tilting lid away from you so that steam does not burn your face.
- Let the jars adjust in the canner for about 10 minutes, and then use the jar lifter to remove the jars from canner and place them carefully on the towel. Do not re-tighten bands. Let the jars to cool for 12-hours. You should hear the satisfactory "ping" of the jar lids sealing.
- After 12-hours, check to be sure jar lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate the and use up within a few days.
- Remove the screw on bands and wash the jars. Label and date the jars. Store your chicken soup in a cool, dark place, and use within 12 months. Yields 8 pints or 4 quarts of chicken soup.
- This is a tested safe canning recipe from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. Altering the recipe may make it unsafe for canning.
- All times are at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. Adjustments must be made for altitudes greater than 1,000 ft.
- If you need immediate canning help or answers, please contact your local extension office.
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