Family Favorites...Home Canned Chicken Breasts

Today I wanted to get a 3# bag of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts out of the freezer and into cooked portions ready to use anytime.  I canned them because I’m too impatient to wait for frozen chicken or broth to thaw, even if it’s cooked, before I start a meal.  I make these regularly, and always get just about the same yield.  You need to thaw your chicken a day or two in your refrigerator before canning.  I place the bag in a pan to prevent a mess in my refrigerator if the bag isn't completely watertight.
If you see them on sale, as I did, or you want them in a convenient form to use, this is easy canning, no skinning or boning necessary.  I can any leftover broth alone at 10# pressure for 20 minutes at 1000’ altitude for half pints or pints, or freeze it if it isn't enough to can. 
The day after I canned these last time, I saw pint jars of canned chicken for sale for $6.99 a pint jar at the Dutchman’s in Cantril, Iowa, compared to this entire recipe, which yields 7 half pints or 3 ½ pints and usually costs me less than $6.99 including the chicken and vegetables.  See my cost comparison at the bottom of the recipe.
Think chicken casseroles, soups, creamed chicken on biscuits, noodles or rice, homemade noodles and chicken, chicken salad, and all the variations.  A half pint jar, which I use in this recipe, is about a cup of cooked meat, perfect for many recipes.
Check our canning tips at the bottom of the post for a refresher on canning.
                       Home Canned Chicken Breasts
Yields 7 half pint jars, about 4 ounces cooked meat each.
Thaw your chicken breasts in the refrigerator a day or 2 ahead of canning.
  3             Pounds  Chicken Breasts -- skinless, Boneless
  1             Large  Onion
  1             Stalk  Celery
  1             Large  Carrot
     1/4      Teaspoon  Black Pepper
                 Salt -- to taste
  1             Bay leaf, if desired
  4             Cups  Broth -- and water to make this amount
·        Prepare Chicken:  Cut the thawed chicken breasts in half lengthwise.  Place the chicken breasts in a 4 1/2 quart Dutch oven or soup pot.  Peel the onion, cut it into 4 pieces, and add them to the pot.  Cut the celery into 4 pieces and add them to the pot.  Add just enough cold water to completely cover the chicken and vegetables, then sprinkle with salt and add the bay leaf if using.
·        Cover the pot and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, as soon as the water reaches a vigorous boil, remove the pot from the heat and let it stand, covered, until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 20 minutes for average-size pieces.  Do not overcook.
·        When chicken is done, remove it from the pot, using tongs or a slotted spoon.  Allow the chicken to cool enough to cut into bite-size chunks.  Strain broth for canning liquid, discarding the vegetables and bay leaf.  
While you are waiting for the 20 minutes, you can prepare your equipment.
·        Prepare Canning Equipment: Heat jars in simmering water for 10 minutes, keep in simmering water until ready for filling.  (I do this right in my canner).  Wash an extra 12 ounce jar to pack in in case you have a little more than will go into a half pint.  Prepare lids and rings according to manufacturer's directions.
·        Pack Chicken:  Fill jars with meat, about 4 ounces each.  Cover with hot broth, about 1/3 cup per jar, leaving 1" headspace.  Remove bubbles with plastic knife and wipe jar rim carefully with hot wipe before sealing.  Cover and seal, place in pressure canner (with 2-3 quarts  simmering water, check your canner book for amount for your canner), exhaust steam 10 minutes, process in pints or half pints 1 hour and 15 minutes at 10# at 1000’ altitude.
·        Let pressure drop of own accord (about 30 minutes), open canner, remove jars to clean towel and let cool and seal, setting apart to allow air to circulate.  Remove rings and wash jars carefully after they are completely cooled.
Equipment:  Stock pot or Dutch oven, chopping board, pressure canner, 13 x 9" pan or tray lined with paper towel for jar filling, jars, lids and rings, funnel, lid magnet, jar lifter, plastic knife.
Excellent in sandwiches, creamed or in soups and casseroles.

Cost:  If 3# chicken is $3.99, cost is $5.23 or 75¢ per half pint or 4 oz. meat.  If chicken is $4.99 per 3#, cost is 89¢ per half pint or $6.23 per batch, using purchased vegetables.  I also get about 4-5 half pints of broth.


  1. I do can, but don't like to do meat based stuff. I'm sure that broth is so much better than the grocery store box.

    Happy weekend and have a wonderful Labor day.

    1. I freeze my homemade broth as I am not willing to give up the flavor and it is easier for me as I have gotten older. Always an option and you will be amazed at how much better it is.

  2. I love you two! This is something I’ve been waiting to do. Everyone Pooh-Pooh’s it saying I’ll kill us both with food poisoning, but I’m going to do It! Thanks for the great recipes too.

    1. Well, if you have a pressure canner and experience canning vegetables, you shouldn't have any trouble with this recipe!
      Glad you like the recipes.


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