Canning meals in a jar is a great way to have delicious homemade prepared food ready to heat and eat, all right from your pantry shelf.
It’s one thing to use canning to put up a little bit of extra produce from the garden, but you’ve reached a whole new level when you start canning ready to heat and eat meals in a mason jar. You’re not canning ingredients anymore; you’re canning whole meals that will make a real difference on a busy weeknight later on.
While it’s true that a jar of homemade beef stew isn’t quite as versatile as individual jars of home-canned potatoes, canned carrots, beef stock, and stew beef…it makes more sense when it’s late, and you’re flailing around looking for meal ideas.
Just a few home canned meals in a jar can mean the difference between a satisfying, healthy home-cooked meal instead of expensive, greasy take-out food.
Versatility comes from canning a variety of different ready-made meals that you know your family loves. To do that, you need a good selection of meal in a jar canning recipes.
Fear not! I’ve got you covered. This is every single meal in a jar canning recipe that the internet offers (at least at the time of this writing).
Guidelines for Canning Meals in a Jar
Before we dive into the actual recipes, it’s important to cover what’s safe for canning (and what’s not).
All of these recipes are pressure canning recipes because they include hearty ingredients like meat and vegetables. Canning jam, fruit, and pickles in a water bath canner do preserve food, but it just provides condiments and dessert, not the heart of the meal.
If you’re not familiar with pressure canning, please read my beginner’s guide to pressure canning before you get started.
I use a 30-quart All-American Brand Pressure Canner, and it’s the best one on the market, in my opinion. There are other options though, and I cover all of those in my article on the supplies you need for canning.
Once you’re familiar with how a pressure canner works, it’s important to realize it has its limits. While it’s perfectly fine to can meat, broth and vegetables, some ingredients just cannot be canned at home.
Canning recipes should never include:
- Milk, Cream, Butter, and Other Dairy Products
- Coconut Milk
- Flour, Corn Starch, and most thickeners (Canning Clear Jel is the only Exception)
- Rice, Pasta, and Other Starchy Foods
- Eggs, including pickled eggs
All of those ingredients can be added at serving time. For example, we pressure can beef stew without thickeners and then quickly thicken the broth as we’re warming it on the stove.
The only thickener that’s safe for canning is cook-type clear jel, which is usually used when you’re canning premade pie fillings. Some people do use it to thicken sauces in savory meals, but I don’t. I think it leads to a goopy, pie-filling-like texture that I just don’t want in my main courses.
Pasta for chicken noodle soup is another example. Just can the chicken, broth, and veggies, then cook the pasta and add it in as the soup warms on the stove.
You can pressure can things like Thai curry, but you’ll have to add coconut milk when you warm the meal.
You get the idea.
If you’re worried about not having perishable ingredients like milk and butter on hand when it comes to mealtime, there are shelf-stable versions of perishable pantry ingredients that require no refrigeration. They’re a great option to keep in your emergency pantry, right next to your meals in a jar.
Lastly, I’ll note that if you’re above 1,000 feet in elevation, you’ll need to adjust the pressure accordingly to make sure your meal in a jar recipes are processed correctly. You can refer to this guide on altitude adjustments for pressure canning.
Meal in a Jar Canning Recipes
I’ve scoured the internet for every meal in a jar canning recipe available and collected them all into categories for your easy reference. Hearty meals like chili, soups, stews, curries, stroganoff, and more.
That said, not every pressure canning recipe is available free on the internet at this point. There are plenty more, but you’ll have to look in canning books.
In my opinion, the best pressure canning book is Pressure Canning for Beginners and Beyond by Angi Schneider. It contains some truly spectacular (and unique) meal in a jar recipes that you just can’t find anywhere else.
I love that Angi’s recipes are all well tested, and she’s put in extra work to make sure they’re all safe and approved for home canning. She has several dozen meal in a jar canning recipes that are not published anywhere on the internet.
The other book I’d recommend is The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning by Diane Devereaux, but if you use that book, you’ll have to do your own homework. She includes some ingredients that are just not safe for pressure canning (like coconut milk, etc), so be sure to watch that. She also uses clear jel as a thickener in soups, which while approved for canning, makes them goopy and is not to everyone’s taste.
Nonetheless, she does have a lot of good ideas, and her book is a great place to get inspiration. If you’re only going to get one pressure canning book, go with Angi’s Pressure Canning for Beginners and Beyond.
Hearty Meat Dinners
Hearty dinners made from canned seasoned meat work out really well at the center of the table. Some of these are just the meat main course, meaning you can add something like home-canned corn on the side. Or, you can just heat and eat and not worry about it.
Others include everything, with both meat and vegetables in the jar.
Either way, I’ve broken them down by the type of meat included in the recipe. If you’re looking for vegetarian main courses, skip down to the next section.
- Canning Beef in Stock
- Canning Hamberger (patties or crumble)
- Beef Burgundy
- Beef with Wine Sauce
- Beef Pot Roast in a Jar
- Beef Stroganoff
- Beef Tips and Gravy
- Meatballs in Tomato Juice
- Sloppy Joe Filling
- Chipotle Beef for Tacos
- Pulled Pork
- BBQ Pulled Pork
- Pork Tenderloin
- Pork Sausage
- Quebec Pork Meatballs
- Pork Spareribs
- Mississippi Pork Roast
- Sausage Crumbles or Patties
- Chicken Breasts or Thighs
- Chicken and Gravy Dinner in a Jar
- Rosemary Chicken
- Chicken Pot Pie Filling
Vegetarian Meal in a Jar Canning Recipes
If you’re looking for meal in a jar canning recipes without meat, you’ve come to the right place. While most feature some type of meat front and center, there are quite a few that are based on either beans or mixed vegetables.
Things like soups, chili, veggie baked beans, and more.
- Beans with Tomato or Molasses Sauce (Vegetarian)
- Vegetarian Chili Beans
- Vegetarian Thai Squash Soup (coconut milk added at serving)
- Spiced Tomato Soup
- Garden Vegetable Soup
- Canning Mushroom Soup Base (Cream/Thickener added at serving)
- Potato Leek Soup
- Carrot and Fennel Soup
- Asparagus Soup
- Spicy Tomato Vegetable Soup
- Tomato Soup Concentrate
- Canning Beans (Pinto, Black, and more)
Chili Canning Recipes
A classic easy meal in a jar, chili has all the ingredients to satisfy right in one bowl. Standard chili con carne is always a classic, but you can also make mixed bean chili or a lighter white bean and chicken chili too.
We always keep a few different variations on our pantry shelf, and then it’s easy to serve next to a quick batch of homemade cornbread.
- Classic Chili con Carne
- Kidney Bean Chili with Ground Beef
- Meat Lovers Chili
- Chipotle Ground Beef Chili (no beans)
- Beef Chuck Chili (no beans)
- Pork Chili Verde
- White Bean Chicken Chili
- Chicken Chili Verde
- Venison Chili
Meat and Bean Canning Recipes
Chili isn’t the only way to put meat and beans in a jar. Honestly, most chili recipes don’t even include beans…they’re just spiced meat. Anyway, meat and beans are a classic combination that deserves their own category.
While baked beans are popular, it’s far from the only option for meat and bean canning recipes.
- Louisiana Red Beans with Ham, Bacon, and Sausage
- Beans with Salt Pork and Tomato Sauce
- Boston Baked Beans
Soup Canning Recipes
Canning soup at home is such an easy way to put a meal in a jar, and I actually have a whole separate article covering soup canning recipes.
Here are some of the very best options:
- Classic Beef Stew
- Vegetable Beef Stew
- Chicken, Sausage, and White Bean Soup
- Split Pea Soup with Ham
- Chicken Vegetable Soup
- Mexican Chicken Soup
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup
- Sausage and Bean Soup
Other Meal in a Jar Ideas
Beyond meals that are explicit “meal in a jar” recipes, there are a number of other canning recipes that make up most of a meal already. Things like ready-made pasta sauce, especially pasta sauce with meat, just require cooking a bit of pasta on the side.
These are almost a full meal, and definitely worth keeping on your pantry shelf.
Canning Recipe Guides
Looking for delicious home canning recipes to stock your pantry?
- 100+ Canning Recipes from A to Z
- 50+ Pressure Canning Recipes
- 50+ Vegetable Canning Recipes
- How to Make Jam (with 30+ Recipes)
- 50+ Fruit Canning Recipes