Easy Layered Chili Recipe for Canning

Chili just out of pressure canner - yrcg


My family loves chili all thru the year. When it is starting to be fall weather or when it is cold outside I like making the big pots of chili. Other times during the year we like our hotdogs with chili and sauerkraut or chili and cheese or just plain chili. When we want chili dogs I don’t want to make a big stock pot full of chili.

Last year I got to searching thru the cooking and canning blogs I come across and always save in my favorites and many times follow, when last year I found “Cyn” and her blog http://CreativeCanning.blogspot.com and she adapted a recipe from the internet for a multi-layered chili back in April 2009. This recipe was great as you can make as many jars of chili as you like or need and you actually use dry beans!

Do you see a pattern with the great recipes I find, you really have to read thru these talented ladies blogs but the searches are great treasure troves of recipes that I just love to try and if my family likes the final product they get added to my ever-expanding cookbook on my counter! The canning recipes are always helpful with my new-found addiction to canning and I like trying to make more and more items for my pantry instead of buying from the store. Have you tried the store-bought canned chili lately? Yuck, nothing like homemade.

Now about this recipe, the Creative Canning blog recipe is for 1 quart size jars, but since I use this chili for hotdogs and also for ” Frito Pie”, you know where you put Fritos in a bowl top with chili, cheese, jalapeno peppers and sour cream, I have adapted this recipe to pint size jars. My family thinks this chili is the best tasting chili ever for hotdogs. The ingredients seem like the chili would be too spicy but it isn’t. It is just perfect.

Layered Chili Recipe for Canning

Recipe adapted from Creative Canning

First thing, get the pressure canner set up on the stove and ready for the jars. Next get a large kettle or pot of non-chlorinated water ( I used bottled water) heat to boiling. You will need the water later. Decide how many jars you want to can up, my canner fits 7 wide mouth pint jars at a time so I always make a full canner. Have the lids and rings ready in a small pot of boiling water.

In each clean pint size jar you layer the ingredients into each jar in the order given. You don’t have to mix anything up before putting in the jar as the actual canning process in the pressure canner will do all the work for you, isn’t that great. 

For each pint jar:

  • 1/4 cup dry pinto beans or any dry beans that you prefer ( rinsed well before hand )
  • 2/3 cup ground beef – already cooked, crumbled and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes – I used canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green chilis – these are in the mexican section of your store
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – I used kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • dash of black pepper
  • hot water – non chlorinated

Once the jars are layered with the ingredients fill the jars with the hot water to the 1-inch fill line. Remove air bubbles and top off the jars to be sure liquid is at 1-inch. Place lid and ring on jar and place in the canner. Continue until all jars are in canner.

Side note after making this recipe many times,  I do this in an assembly line system. Placing the dry pinto beans that have been rinsed very well into each jar, then I put the cooked ground beef into each of the jars, then proceed thru the list until all the jars have the ingredients. This way I am sure all of the jars got the same amount of each item and I don’t miss any and when they are done each jar will taste the same. Then fill all the jars with the hot water, place on lids and rings.

Dried beans, ground chuck, onions - yrcg


Green chilis, tomatoes and tomato sauce layers - yrcg


Spices layered into jars - yrcg


Jars being filled with boiling water to fill line - yrcg

Once all of the jars are in the prepared canned, process the jars for 90 minutes at 11 pounds pressure, or for whatever pressure you need for your altitude. You can check in the Blue Ball Book for their canned chili as a guideline for higher altitudes. 

Once the time is complete and your canner cools and pressure goes back to  zero you can remove the jars and set them in a draft free place on your counter for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, check to be sure each of the jars sealed. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used as soon as possible. The sealed jars can then be washed, labeled and placed into your pantry.

If you want to make quart size jars of this chili you just double all the ingredients measurements noted above for each jar. I hope everyone enjoys this chili as much as my family does and when you have a spare moment gone on over to Cyn’s blog at Creative Canning for some great canning recipes. I would show you some of the chili on a hotdog, but the jars all sealed and so they are now cooling on my counter until tomorrow evening. Until next time here’s sending a “yellowrock” from me to you.

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84 Responses to Easy Layered Chili Recipe for Canning

  1. Hello, I hopped over to your web site from digg. This isn’t not an article I would normally read, but I loved your spin on it. Thanx for making a piece worth reading!

  2. Norma Newton says:

    Carol aka yellowrockcountrygirl, you are absolutely amazing! I enjoy your blogs. Keep up the good work.

  3. james says:

    How long would you process it if you used 1/2 pint jars?

  4. Laurie says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I know my family with love it. I guess I’ll be busy this weekend and plan on using my fresh tomatoes … do you think that will work out OK?

    • Hi Laurie, Yes fresh tomatoes work. My sister and I canned up a case of chili using fresh tomatoes last weekend.

      • Laurie says:

        Well I took my first batch of layered chili out of the canner (I did quarts) and so far only 3 of the 7 sealed : ( …. is there anything I can do other than eat them up?

      • Hi Lauire, Sorry I was out of town yesterday when you sent your eamil. If you have not eaten the chili you can heat the chili back-up to boiling and then re can in hot jars. The beans may be a bit softer than the other three jars, but chili can cook for hours and hours on the stove and beans don’t seem to be effected. Just be sure to process at the same amount of time again. I would be sure to recheck the rims of the jars to make sure no grease on jars and don’t go over the required headspace but if 3 sealed it may have been the jar lids that are the problem. Hope you hive it another try. Sorry you had a problem. If you don’t want to recan you can place the chili in freezer containers and freeze and just eat those containers first.

      • Hi, I was wondering the same thing about fresh tomatoes. I do have a question, I am new to canning and was wondering about recipes with fresh tomatoes. I see that when we can tomatoes, we are supposed to use citric acid or lemon juice, is it the same for recipes with fresh tomatoes in it? I have several recipes that I want to give a try canning, they contain fresh tomatoes, and I don’t know if I should add the citric acid or lemon juice. I see you don’t mention it here, after Laurie asks about using them. So, do I need it or is it ok in a recipe and I only need it in canning strictly tomatoes without other ingredients?

      • The chili recipe does not call for citric acid as it is pressure canned at timing for the meat. A small amount of citric acid probably would not effect taste. The citric acid is used for the tomatoes for preserving the color , flavor and adding enough acid so that they can be water bathed or pressure canned, tomatoes from years gone by had much more natural acid in them than the tomatoes we grow today. Any recipe you try with fresh tomatoes, you should always check the Ball Blue Book or one of the other new canning books. Good luck. I am glad you like the chili recipe. The canning timing already takes into account the amount of tomatoes, onions,meat,etc so be careful if you change the amounts. Good luck, have fun as canning can be very addictive, just be safe and time the canning process exactly as any recipe you are working on calls for. Don’t use the old canning books and the ways our grandma’s used to can which are not safe. YRCG

      • gabrielandvalli says:

        Hi, I received your answer and replied. If I can just tomatoes in a pressure canner, do I still need the lemon? This is all so confusing, with contradicting answers on line.


      • No you do not need lemon juice or citric acid when you are pressure canning tomatoes. The pressure canning is at high pressure and at much higher heat level than water bath process and will take care of any safety issues for the food as long as you process at the correct times required for the jar sizes you are using.Many folks do not like the lemon or citric taste in their tomatoes and always pressure can. If I water bath the tomatoes I use the lemon juice when I pressure can I do not use lemon juice. Hope that helps clarify for you.

    • Thank you for the quick reply and the information. So, the reason we don’t have to use the lemon juice is because we are pressure canning, correct? I have just purchased a pressure canner and a new cook book. I am finding all sorts of recipe’s off of the internet, so I am excited to get started. Thanks again.

  5. Karen says:

    I have read that the beans may be a little too firm. What can I do to make sure they are soft enough? Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Karen, I have never had any issues with the beans but you can always soak them overnight , drain and rinse before canning or increase the canning time another 5-8 minutes which would softener the beans more. Love this chili. Yumm!!

    • Brigitte says:

      My experience at pressure canning pints at 75 minutes, which is what I do, they are usually too soft. I pressure can quarts for 90 minutes, and they are perfect. Never a problem, and I’ve been doing it for over 20 years.

  6. Peggy says:

    Can I use my canning stock pot or does it have to be a pressure cooker?

  7. SLA says:

    Normally you process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes. That’s the general rule for meats.

  8. Jeane says:

    Oh Yes!….have to try this, thanx for sharing….Looks YUMMY! 🙂

  9. Miss Nirvana says:

    This recipe is not considered safe by USDA standards. 😦 Dry beans need to be cooked before canning.

  10. Tina says:

    I have canned dry beans for 30 years…and my grandmother, who taught me how for 50 years before that. Never a problem.

  11. Jo Abair says:

    I have been canning dry beans my entire life. The FDA also says do not can pumpkin, but as its sold and I did not know that, have for years. Recently learned, at the store-that is squash which apparently has lower risk than pumpkin and its against FDA rules and regulations for anyone, even a home canner- to can pumpkin. Not advocating unsafe things, but dry beans are very normal and I think quite safe. It is the USDA and FDA that put a stamp of approval on all medications and most foods that kill people every yr in this country. Does not make them horrible, bad, scary or wrong, just means they are flawed and may sometimes be overcautious about home canning.

    • Melody Adams says:

      Love your post. my mother in-law did canned deer meat every year, now I want to do it and everyone is telling me I have to PC it, she never did, she did all her canning in a water bath and it was very, very good we all loved it and never got sick from it. I think the USDA and FDA go over board with things. I would eat my canned food before some of the medications they put out there.

      • PLEASE PC can all meat and low acid foods for safety. My grandparents also used to water bath can and no one got sick. They were lucky and the meat and low acid foods are different today than years ago and safety for your family and friends eating your home canned foods is of utmost importance. I never have problem with this layered chili, but it is pressure canned for safety.

  12. Judy Kouba says:

    I just found your recipe for canned chili and I am going to try it, but I need to know the shelf life after processing. Thank you for a great recipe

  13. I’ve been looking for a layered chili recipe like this to can! Will do some pints and quarts! Thanks!!

  14. april says:

    This may seem like a silly question, but I am very new to canning (have only done it twice) so I have lots of questions. 😉
    I see that the recipe says “non chlorinated” water.
    I didn’t know that could be a problem. I have water through the city. Is that bad? Is there a way to know if it is chlorinated? Do i need to buy water to can with? (it seems like that would get pricey)
    Can you please explain about that a little for me? Or direct me to information about it?

    • The recipe I have uses non chlorinated water. I think this is due to many city water systems have various chlorines, fluorides and etc in the water which can effect the finished product with off flavor and some areas have very hard water and in our area we have lots of iron in the water. I buy the gallon jugs of spring water from the local dollar store at $1.00 a gallon and the gallon goes a long way. We always have bottled water on hand for storm preps! This water is just for adding to the food inside the jar. The water in the canner can be from your tap. You can use your tap water and see how it tastes if you like the water that comes from the tap, then go ahead and use tap water.

  15. Pingback: Easy Layered Chili Canning Recipe

  16. Rhonda James says:

    We have tried this and Love it!! We have eaten 1st batch !! My husband calls it crack chili!!

  17. Kaye C says:

    OUTSTANDING! Thank you so much for sharing. I tried it first exactly as you had it. Before I did any more, we decided to have it for dinner so that we could adjust if needed. We loved it, I have made more staying with your exact recipe. Thanks again!

  18. Bennett R says:

    Might be tempted to buy a pressure cooker since reading your board. 🙂 All sounds great.

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  20. Donna says:

    I am making this now…. Let you know how me And my two guys Like it… I know I will but they’re very picky about they’re chili

  21. Donna says:

    I agree , once you get a pressure canner, you become addicted.. I just started canning in the last year. I’m ,48 yro … Why didn’t I start sooner!… I love it.!

  22. Kristien says:

    Is this chili very spicy? My family likes mild chili.

    • No the chili is not spicy, at least my family does not think so and my grandkids eat it, but everyone’s taste buds are different. The chili mellows while processing so the amount of chili powder and spices is not too much. Make a small batch to see how you like it before you make a full canner full.

  23. Cece says:

    I have never done any canning, so my question is-how do you know if the lids are sealed or not?

    • When they come out of the canner they will make a small “pop” noise as they seal, sometimes as soon as they come out or in an hour or so, some seal in canner before you get them out. You can see that the very center will be slightly concaved as the pressure inside pulls the lids to seal. Do not touch jars until 24 hours so the seal is complete and the rubber inside the ring cools. After that, remove rings and then you should be able to lift the jar by holding just onto the lid and it will not come off. Then you can wash the jars, label and put into your pantry. If the lid comes off it did not seal and you need to put in refrigerator and eat as soon as possible. This is for the standard jar lids and rings. I don’t use the reusable tattler lids so can’t help you there. I like hearing the jars pop and ping ,then I know my work was successful!!

  24. Brandy Michau says:

    I made a batch yesterday. Followed your instructions exactly, except that I did use tap water. After processing and letting the canner cool, I opened the lid to find my water in the canner tinted red and the liquid in my jars is all but gone. There seems to be plenty of juice near the bottom with the beans, but the meat is dry. I cleaned every jar and lid then tightened them well before processing, so I really don’t know what I did wrong. This is the second thing I’ve canned, first being ground beef. The same thing happened then also. Any ideas what I did wrong?? Please help!

    • Sorry I have been out of town and did not get access to email and internet! My jars with meat like chili and etc sometimes seeps into the canner while processing. If the jars of chili sealed , then everything is ok. My jars after cooling, I wash and gently shake and turn jar to incorporate the liquid thru the contents in the jar. I wipe the jars with cloth with vinegar when canning any soups, meat,etc to be sure completely free of any grease before I put on lid and ring and put into the canner. The beans will soak up a lot of the liquid during canning process as well. Did your jars seal? If so everything is good. The seeping into canner can also be from opening the canner immediately after pressure releases, I wait about 20 minutes after pressure releases so jars and contents are not boiling and have temperature shock when you remove lid from canner. With your canning of hamburger if meat is dry may want to have little less meat in jar and more liquid.

  25. Angie Hampton says:

    I was wondering if I could make this but omit the ground beef? Have you tried it that way? Would I need to change anything?

    • Sorry I could not respond before now. My internet has been down and have had no access. You could make the chili without the meat and pressure can at the same amount of time. I would probably added a few more beans and tomatoes to replace the amount of meat.

  26. carol pachniak says:

    First time EVER using a pressure canner, to can chili. It was easy to follow and can’t wait to try this recipe. I have a bumper crop of tomatoes, not sure what to make next.

  27. Sue Kocmund says:

    Love this recipe for the layered chili. I’m new to canning and this is just the second time I’ve used my new pressure canner. Everything went well, although I had to put in an emergency call to the customer service reps at Presto (manufacturer of my new pressure canner) when the stupid thing started to emit a totally deafening whistle while building up pressure. Just had to give the air vent a whack with a butter knife to cure that little problem. Of course, my hubby, myself and the 7 dogs are now hearing impaired but my seven quarts of chili look great!
    My question, Carol: are there any other canning recipes that you know of that use this same layering approach?

    • Cyn with Creative Canning that I linked to has some various layered canning recipes that you might try. That is where I got the chili recipe. Good luck.

    • Brigitte says:

      Sue, my Presto canner made this deafening whistle the other day. I have used this canner many times and knew something was wrong. I let the canner cool down and inspected the lid. I found that the little thing that pops up when it begins to build pressure, had come almost completely unscrewed. This little pop-up thing is 2 pieces that screw together. If your canner ever does that whistle again, you might want to check that thing. I will now check the tightness every now and again, as it is a total waste of time to bring it up to pressure and wait for it to come back down, then restart the whole process, when the problem could have been eliminated had I been checking the canner lid.

  28. Christina says:

    Silly question…I tried this tonight and my jars were overflowing! I didn’t even make it to the canner! I ended up dumping my jars together and mixing it the old fashioned way! What is your trick to getting everything in the jar?!? I love this idea! Please help!

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  30. Leslie says:

    I love this chili recipe! I double the ingredients and can in quart size jars instead of pints. The quart is perfect for two dinner size bowls of chili. Thank you for sharing.

  31. Vicki Casey says:

    We LOVE this recipe! I’ve canned three batches so far!

  32. aaron nippert says:

    I love this recipe! This is a good one, easy to do and turns out wonderful everytime. I have many quarts of this delicious goodness in my foodstorage for any SHTF situations—–thanks for the recipe!

  33. Sandy J says:

    Thank you for your recipe! You need a bigger pressure canner Girl! I have one that does 19 pints and makes it worth the effort. I can’t wait to try this. After canning dried beans for awhile, I think I will soak them for a few hours first. I am lazy, lol and want them good to go! Thanks again!

  34. monnalu says:

    I just tried this recipe today. We really like chili so I made 7 quarts. After processing, they all look like chili. We’ll see about the taste. I did add minced garlic–I can’t seem to cook without garlic. Also, I used dried red chili powder from New Mexico which is stronger than what is sold by McCormick and others, so I did not use as much. I figure if it is not spicy enough out of the jar, we can add more chilie powder. I love the convenience of not soaking and cooking the beans first. I have canned a lot of chili and a lot of beans, but never without the soaking. I was excited to try this.

  35. Heidi says:

    So my canner is a pressure canner/cooker that has the weights (in 5,10,15lb increments) instead of the dial on it. For pressure amounts, should I go by a similar recipe in the book it came with or will 10lbs of pressure be close enough to 11 to work?

    • The pressure has to be a minimum of 11 lbs for the prescribed time. If it goes under 11 lbs you have to start timing all over again. It sounds like you have a pressure cooker which is not the same as a pressure canner which has a dial. 10 lbs is not enough to safely can. 15 lbs would overcook. Do not try and can in a pressure cooker. Contact the manufacturer of you pressure canner/cooker to get exact instructions if this is a canner. Always err on the safe side. Good luck

      • Theresa says:

        According to the National Center for Home Preservation, beans need to be cooked 75 mins for pts and 90 for qts using 11 lbs for dial or 10 lbs weighted. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_04/beans_peas_shelled.html

      • Mrs Shannon says:

        Many “pressure CANNERS” have the weight on top that is either 5, 10, or 15 pounds of pressure. And yes, you use 10lbs. Pressure cookers have the weights also, but are usually much smaller. Pressure canners have the rack in the bottom also. Anyway, Heidi–you are correct. Teresa and Lindsey are correct in the comments below. Especially Lindsey that brought in the elevation reference. Check your area.

    • Lindsay says:

      Hi Heidi,

      What is your altitude?

      I am over 2000 ft so I use the 15 lb weight.
      Many recipes call for the 10 lb weight if you are under 1000 ft.

      My canner is the same as yours (there is no dial).

  36. Melissa says:

    Is it possible to use canned beans?

  37. Lindsay says:


    This looks awesome and I can’t wait to try it!

    In total, how much hamburger (in lbs) do you brown?

    And I am ashamed to ask this but, is there another name for pinto beans? Or green chilies?

  38. Theresa says:

    We made a batch of this last year. My son won’t eat any other kind of chili now. So making a batch of quarts and a batch of pints tomorrow. My son is browning all the hamburger!

  39. Virginia says:

    Have you ever tried adding the hotdogs to the can before canning?

  40. Lindsay says:

    I made this Chili. I made a mistake and it was too spicy for me BUT my husband (who is in the military) took it to work for lunch. They loved it! I can’t keep it in the house.

  41. Shai says:

    Harrumph. Chili ain’t chili if it’s got beans….

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