Canning soup is an easy way to put ready-to-eat meals right on your pantry shelf.
It’s one thing to can up your garden produce in neat jars, each one beautifully preserved in glass from the growing season. Those individual ingredients, be they home-canned vegetables, fruits, or even canned meat will still need to be prepared into a balanced meal at dinnertime.
Soup canning recipes are just the opposite, and while they lack the versatility of individual ingredients, they sure do save a lot of time on busy weeknights.
While store-bought canned soups are often high in sodium and are rarely filling, homemade canned soup can be made to your family’s tastes. Add in high-quality ingredients, be they homegrown or freshly sourced, and you’ve got something far more appealing than anything you can buy in the grocery store.
Pressure Canning Soup
The most important thing to know about canning soup at home is that it absolutely must be pressure canned. All the ingredients in soup are what’s known as “low acid foods” which means their pH is too high for safe water bath canning.
I’ve been using a 30 quart All-American Canner for the past decade, and my grandchildren will be using this thing someday. It’s an investment, but totally worth it in my opinion. There are also Presto Brand pressure canners, which are a low-cost option if you’re new to pressure canning, but they’re a bit harder to operate and less durable in the long run.
There are a few rare exceptions to the pressure canning rule, like if you choose to can a “fruit soup” as they’re known in Scandinavian countries. Really those are just compote that’s eaten in a bowl like a “soup” at mealtime in a few regions of the world. Fruit soups are more of a novelty, eaten cold with a bit of cream in the summertime, and they’re rarely filling or hearty.
We’re talking real food soup recipes here, and all of those must be pressure canned.
If you’re not familiar with pressure canning, I’d strongly suggest reading my beginner’s guide to pressure canning before you get started. There are literally hundreds of pressure canning recipes, including recipes for canning vegetables and canning meat, so once you know how to use a pressure canner it’s easy enough to keep it full.
Basic Recipe for Canning Soup
I’m going to take you through literally dozens of different soup canning recipes, but I know inevitably the question on your minds is:
“Can I pressure can grandma’s famous homemade soup?”
The answer is, possibly. The National Center for Food Preservation released general guidance for canning soup at home with an adaptable soup recipe for canning that allows you to use (almost) any ingredient.
All ingredients must be approved for canning, meaning that they have their own specific canning instructions. Since canning onions and canning corn on their own are approved, you would be able to use them in the recipe. There are no specific instructions for canning cabbage alone though, so that’s not an option in this “choose your own adventure” soup recipe.
You cannot use thickeners, flour, rice, pasta, or any other starches. Dairy products like milk, cream, and butter are not allowed either. Mostly it’s just meat, vegetables, and beans as options.
(Thickeners, pasta, and dairy products can be added at serving time, but are not safe for canning.)
The basic instructions are to prepare the vegetables/meat as you would for a hot pack, and then load them into prepared canning jars. The catch is, the jars can only be filled about halfway with solids. The rest of the space must be filled with broth, which ensures that your homemade soup recipe isn’t too dense to allow proper heat distribution during canning.
Fill jars halfway with solids from the soup, then fill the rest of the way with broth, leaving 1” headspace. Seal with 2 part canning lids and process in a pressure canner according to the table below:
With this general guidance, you should be able to can almost any soup recipe, provided you’re willing to keep the jars no more than half full with solids. That works really well for broth-based soups like chicken soup, especially if you’re going to add cooked pasta at serving time.
Any soup where you’re going to thicken it or add cooked rice or pasta at serving time works wonderfully, since all that extra broth will go to good use with the ingredients added at serving.
That said, if you want a hearty soup that really packs a punch and doesn’t have all that much broth, I’d suggest following a specific tested soup canning recipe. Don’t worry, there are plenty of those!
Broth and Stock Canning Recipes
The simplest “soups” aren’t usually thought of as soup at all, but canning plain broth and stock is the simplest way to can soup (or the base for a soup) at home.
Since there are no solids in the jar, pressure canning times are much quicker than traditional soup canning recipes.
Vegetable Soup Canning Recipes
Homemade vegetable soups are a great way to preserve the garden harvest right on your pantry shelf. While most vegetable canning recipes process the produce in water, just processing mixed vegetables in stock with seasoning results in a more flavorful finished product.
Instead of a side dish of canned green beans, you can have a main course of mixed vegetable 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
Bean and Pea Soup Canning Recipes
While canning beans alone is perfectly fine and works well for a quick burrito night, you can also pressure can bean soups. Other legumes work as well, and canning split pea or lentil soups are an easy way to preserve a healthy meal in a jar.
Be sure to follow the recipe closely, as density can be an issue in bean and pea soups. You don’t want them too thick or heat won’t be able to penetrate to the center of the jar.
Beef Stew and Soup Canning Recipes
A hearty beef stew is an incredibly filling meal, and perfect for a quick work lunch or weeknight meal. I like to make my home-canned beef stew with plenty of potatoes, carrots, and onions, but there are a surprising number of variations that are approved for canning.
Beef stew with red wine or other vegetables is also remarkably tasty, and a vegetable beef stew with summer veggies like green beans takes the meal in a different direction.
Chicken Soup Canning Recipes
Nothing’s more comforting than homemade chicken soup, especially when you’re sick. The problem is, who has the time (or energy) to make chicken soup from scratch when they’re sick?
Canning chicken soup is a great way to plan ahead, and you’ll have homemade chicken soup sitting on the pantry shelf when you need it.
Most chicken soup recipes use noodles, rice, or dumplings which must be added at serving time. My favorite is egg noodles, and I’ll boil up the noodles separately while I heat the soup in another pot.
They’re done in just a few minutes, and then I can toss them right into my bowl. Keeping the noodles separate helps prevent them from getting soggy anyway, so it’s really not a big deal that starchy foods are not approved for home canning.
- Classic Chicken Soup
- Chicken Vegetable Soup
- Mexican Chicken Soup
- Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Soup
- Chicken, Corn and Chili Chowder
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
Pork and Sausage Soup Canning Recipes
You don’t often associate pork with canning, but believe it or not, it’s perfectly fine for canning. Even fatty cuts like sausage are approved for canning, either as patties, links or lose pack crumbles.
When added into a soup, sausage or regular pork adds incredible richness. I’m especially fond of home-canned soups with sausage.
- Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup
- Sausage and Bean Soup
- Zuppa Toscana with Sausage (Olive Garden Copy Cat)
- Pork and Sausage Stew
- Ham and Bean Soup
Wild Game Soup Canning Recipes
Wild game hunters know when the harvest comes in that’s just the beginning. There’s always a lot of meat to preserve all at once, and while you could put it in the freezer, it’s nice to have a few heat and eat options on the pantry shelf.
I’ve had trouble finding wild game soup canning recipes, except for a few venison soup recipes. That’s unfortunate, but not the end of the world.
You can substitute wild game in for other types of meat when canning. Deer, elk, moose, and bear can all be substituted into beef canning recipes. Smaller game like squirrel and rabbit can be substituted in place of chicken.
Meal in a Jar Canning Recipes
It’s hard to know where “soup” starts and other “meal in a jar” recipes start. Chili isn’t technically a soup, but it’s often eaten like one. Thai curry, likewise isn’t quite a “soup” though if it’s canned it can be warmed and eaten from a bowl in minutes with no other ingredients. (Red curry duck canning recipe coming soon!)
I’ve added a few extra recipes here to keep your pressure canner preserving even more tasty meals, just about anything you could heat and eat in a bowl.
Beef Meals in a Jar
- Chili Con Carne
- Beef Burgundy
- Beef Pot Roast in a Jar
- Beef Stroganoff
- Beef Tips and Gravy
- Meatballs in Tomato Juice
Chicken Meals in a Jar
Pressure Canning Books
Didn’t find the recipe you were hoping for? There are literally dozens of soup canning recipes that are published in canning books and just aren’t found anywhere on the internet.
These are my favorite pressure canning books, and they each have quite a few wonderful soup canning recipes:
- Pressure Canning for Beginners and Beyond by Angi Schneider
- The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning by Diane Devereaux
- The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judy Kingry & Lauren Devine
- So Easy to Preserve by The Georgia University Extension
- The Complete Guide to Home Canning by The US Department of Agriculture
Food Preservation Tutorials
Home canning is just one way to preserve food, but there are plenty of other excellent ways to preserve vegetables and meat at home.
- Freezing Vegetables (A to Z Guide)
- Beginners Guide to Lacto-Fermentation
- Beginners Guide to Rootcellaring
- How to Freeze Dry Food at Home