Canning Chicken or Poultry

Raw Pack or Hot Pack Directions
Bone-In Chicken or Boneless Chicken

with Sharon Peterson

Canning Chicken: It's Great for Homemade Soup or Casserole Recipes

These canning chicken directions work for chicken, rabbit, duck, goose, turkey, or wild game birds too. It is great for homemade soup or casserole recipes.

The directions and pictures here are for a raw pack, bone-in or boneless chicken.

For hot pack directions, simply cook chicken until about 2/3 done. Pack and process with the directions on this page the same as a raw pack. Personally, since it does not save any processing time, I don't see the point in hot packing chicken. However, the NCHFP says, "The hot pack is preferred for best liquid cover and quality during storage."  You may prefer hot pack too.

When canning chicken, you must use a pressure canner.

Canning Chicken Prep

Gather your canning supplies:


Chicken - Your choice of boneless or bone-in. Any chicken part can be canned. Separate meat at the joints.

Depending on the size of your chicken pieces, quarts will hold 6 or 7 drumsticks or 5 to 6 thighs. These estimates are bone-in.

Start by preparing jars and getting water in your canner heating. (See pressure canning for full directions.)

Procedure for Canning Chicken

Raw chicken.

Prepare your chicken. Separate pieces at the joints if needed. Debone if you prefer.

I don't care for soggy chicken skins, so I remove mine. You can leave skin on or remove it according to your preference. Pack raw chicken into hot jars. Leave 1-inch headspace.

I used to always add liquid to my chicken. I like having the broth. But I've found that packing and processing raw without liquid is my preferred method now. The chicken will produce it's own juice. 

It is your choice. Try it both ways and see what you like better. Either way you pack, be sure and leave 1-inch headspace.

Packing Tips for Canning Chicken

Drumsticks for Soup

I love canning chicken drumsticks on the bone. I then open the jar to make soups. The bone is so well cooked it will crumble in my hand. All the the nutrients have gone into the broth. I don't actually use the bone in my soup! (I had someone ask me about that.) But that bone is well done by the time it is cooked.  

I truly enjoy serving this to my family.   

  • For drumsticks, it works well to pack 4 legs with the meaty sides down. Then add 2 or 3 to the top, meaty sides up. This way, the drumsticks nestle together and fill the jar nicely.
  • Another packing tip if you want to add water is to pack half the jar and add a little boiling water. Then top the meat off and fill the rest of the jar with hot water or broth. This makes it less likely that you will have large air pockets stuck between your chicken pieces. You'll still need to remove air bubbles.

Adding liquid is optional. You can add either boiling water or broth.

Canning chicken.
Placing lids.

After you have filled your jars, remove any air pockets by sliding a narrow, non-metallic item between the jar and the meat. I like to use an orange peeler. A small spatula or other instrument would work also. Do this even if you've filled half of the way and added water, then filled the jar the rest of the way.

Wipe the rims of your jar clean with a damp cloth or paper towel. This prevents any food particles or grease from interfering with the seal.

Add your lids and screw bands.

Place jars in your pressure canner and process according to pressure canning instructions.


Boneless chicken has a different processing time than bone-in chicken. Be sure to read carefully and get the correct time requirements.

  • Bone-In Chicken -  Process Pints for 1 hour 5 minutes, Quarts for 1 hour 15 minutes.
  • Boneless Chicken - Process Pints for 1 hour 15 minutes, Quarts 1 hour 30 minute.
Adjustments for Pressure Canner
Altitude in Feet Dial Gauge Canner Weighted Gauge Canner
0-1000 11 10
1001-2000 11 15
2001-4000 12 15
4001-6000 13 15
6001-8000 14 15
8000-10,000 15 15

Processing instructions from NCHFP's Chicken Page. 

Members' Extra: Access Your Video Tutorial in Your Members Area

Canning school members, click here to log in.

Canning Chicken Bone-In.
Canning Chicken Boneless Skinless.
Pressure Canning Chicken

Canning Chicken FAQs

I've been asked how to butcher a chicken, and in our is my husband's job. I would do it if I had to's not my favorite thing. LOL? I'm blessed that HE loves me enough to process the chicken and bring it to me ready for the pot! Yay, husband!  

My friend Melissa has a great article on how to butcher a chicken.  

Is my canned chicken safe to eat?


I canned cooked cubed chicken today and I didn't have quite enough to fill that last two quarts up to the inch headroom. They were probably about 1 1/2 inches below the top. I filled each quart with boiling water and processed for 90 min. Now that they have settled it looks like the jars are only a little more than half full of meat, plenty of water though. 

My question is this: will they be safe to eat? Everything sealed fine I'm just wondering if the lower level of food will affect the shelf life somehow.

Thanks for any help.


Hi Carol,

Yes, as long as the jars sealed and you used the correct pressure for your area, your chicken should be just fine! It is good that you added the liquid to the correct headspace. It sounds as if you did it just right!

Comments from Simply Canning Facebook


My husband is slaughtering 26 chickens today, and for the first time I'm thinking I'd like to can some of the meat/broth. I've always froze them whole before and then used them as a three night dinner/stock source. Thinking I'd like to can breasts/drumsticks/thighs/and stock. A couple questions. Will I be limited with soups/stews/casseroles if I can the meat (I've heard it is tender and delicious)? Does the nutrient value of the meat and stock go down after canning chicken? I use bone broth as a healing food for my family. Is the mineral value depleted at all? Thank you so much in advance! love this page!

Sharon's Addition:

Remember, if you can it first, it is more suitable for casseroles, etc. It is not like you can open it up and eat it like fried chicken. However, it is perfectly good to just eat it as it is. I'll open up a jar and heat it up and serve. Canning chicken does take away some nutritional value. I have not done extensive research on this, but it is still WAAAAYYY healthier than the stuff you get at the grocer.  :) 

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by Sharon Peterson, Copyright © 2009-2019

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Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You are encouraged to verify all canning and food preservation advice on the USDA food preservation website. 

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