Canning Soup

with Sharon Peterson

jars of home canned soup

Home canning soup is a wonderful way to have quick lunches ready. There are a few things to remember.

  • Soups will always need to be pressure canned.
  • Do not add noodles, rice, flour, cream or any milk or any thickeners. All these can be added when you heat the soup to serve it.
  • If you are using beans or peas they must be cooked prior to canning.
  • The only ingredients you should use are ingredients that are safe to can.  So.... that means, since cabbage does not have a tested method of canning just by itself, it is not considered an acceptable ingredient.... (I know!  I hate that!)  Sauerkraut is a pickled item so that is different than just plain cabbage. 

It is not recommended that you can pureed type soups so I do not give directions for this. However.... what I would do is make the soup and can it prior to pureeing! Just can it chunky. Then when you open the jar to serve it, puree it at that point.

Home Canning Soup

First cook any meats and vegetables.

If you are canning soup with beans cook them by covering dried beans with water by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes, remove from the heat and let soak for at least 1 hour and drain.

Combine all solid ingredients and add whatever broth you may be using. Chicken broth, beef broth, canned tomatoes or water.

Add spices and seasoning at this point as well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remember no dairy, thickeners, pasta or rice. These can be added later when you serve the soup.

Fill your jars leaving a 1 inch head space. Be sure to fill each jar about halfway full with the solid ingredients. I use a slotted spoon. Then add the liquid to the cover. This way you don't end up with some jars being mostly broth and others having too much solid ingredients.

In this image you can see several jars where I've added the solids. Then one jar on the right where I've added the liquid. 

There is also a safety reason for this. The gist of it is; you want the heat to penetrate fully to the center of the jar. If your soup is too thick, it may not do so.

Having extra liquid can also be helpful if you'll be adding noodles or rice when you serve it. Canning soup a little... soupy is a good thing.  

Quick Canning Soup Tip

If you realize you will not have enough liquid to fill your jars there is a simple fix.  Evenly distribute the soup base you do have.   Then if needed top off each jar with a bit of chicken broth. (heat it up first). This has worked well for me.

You could just add water if you don't have extra broth, but it may dilute the flavor if you add too much. If you only need a little bit of extra liquid, hot water works fine.  

Place your lids and process following pressure canning instructions.

Process pints 60 minutes, quarts 75 minutes.

If you are canning soup with seafood you will need process either pints or quarts for 100 minutes.

Be sure to adjust processing according to your altitude.

For more information see this altitude adjustments page.

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

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Source - National Center for Home Food Preservation 

Canning Soup Questions from my inbox....

Question: Canning Venison Soup

by Tom 

How safe is what I'm doing? I make a large pot of venison vegetable soup tomato based, boil the noodles separate, put the noodles in the sterilized jar, bring the soup to a boil and fill the jar. that's it.

My Answer:

Hi Tom, Yes canning your own venison vegetable soup is OK. However, Soups should not be canned with any pasta, thickeners or dairy products. 

What you should do is can the soup without the noodles and then just add the noodles when you open the jar later. 

Also you really MUST pressure can soup. Botulism is a risk and any vegetables or meat (which your soup has both) must be pressure canned. 

Question:  Sharon,  I made a big crock pot full of potato soup and all that was left I decided to can for later...when I opened one of the jars it was spoiled... what did I do wrong??,   I love checking your site for different ideas and recipe... please keep them coming and in advance thank you for your help with this..

Answer: It is hard to say without knowing just what is in your soup and how you processed it.  My guess is you have cream or some other dairy in your soup. And unfortunately that is not recommended for canning.  

Question:  Hello Sharon,

I have read that you should not be canning pureed soup and I am wondering if this is true and why not.  Also if I make vegetable soup and put small cooked pasta in it, can that be canned?

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your support.


Karen,  It is true that canning pureed soup is not advised.  There have been no tests done to determine safety.  It all has to do with the density of purees.  What you can do is can your ingredients and then puree the soup when you serve it.  Use regular safety measures like any other canned soup.

And it is also true that pasta has not been tested for safety in home canning.  I get comments all the time saying that since commercially canned soups has pasta we can do it also.  But the issue is equipment.  Commercial processes use different equipment than home canners have available.  We cannot assume that if you can buy soups with pasta or rice that it is safe for home canning also.  It is not.  

Question: I canned some vegetable soup with turkey sausage.  I followed the USDA website canning guidelines for canning soup.  The soup has set for 24 hours and I have removed the screw bands and checked the seals which are good.  However, I have noticed that there is a slight oily layer on top of the soup.  I drained the turkey sausage before adding it to the soup but obviously did not get it all.  I have read that fat cannot be safely canned, but is a very slight oily layer on top okay?

Answer: Yes when you are canning soup with meat there may be some oils left in your soup.  That is fine.  As long as you drained the meat and followed all the other safety precautions it is not a problem.  

Question: I have awonderful recipe for potato soup which has quickly become a favorite in our household. I have canned chili, stews and other soups, but not sure on this recipe. It calls for 3/4 c of sour cream for one batch. 

Can I safely add this to my soup, then can it? Just not sure if the sour cream would break down during the pressure process. Thanks!   Elizabeth

Answer:  Elizabeth, It is not recommended that you can anything with dairy products. What I would do is try canning it without the sour cream or any other dairy, and then add it later when you serve it. 

Potato soup is a favorite at our house too. I almost always make it after a ham dinner with the leftover mashed potatoes and ham gravy as a base. My secret ingredient is chicken broth. The broth adds a wonderful, rich flavor. YUM! 

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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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