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How to Make Chili Con Carne (Chili with Meat) - Easily! With Step-by-step Directions, Photos, Ingredients, Recipe and Costs

homemade canned chiliHow to Make and Can Chili Con Carne (Chili with Meat) - Easily!

Yield: 7 to 9 pint jars

Click here for a PDF print version

Making and canning your own Chili Con Carne is easy and safe with this recipe.  It closely follows the USDA's tested recipe for safety, and I explain what you can modify safely!


Yield: 9 pints

  • 3 cups dried pinto or red kidney beans
  • 5-1/2 cups water
  • 5 teaspoons salt (separated)
  • 3 lbs ground beef, chicken or turkeychili seasonings and spices
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped peppers of your choice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin (seed or powder)
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 quarts crushed or whole tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

Modifications You can substitute the spices.  For example, You could add 1 tablespoon of Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce, add a couple more tablespoons of chili powder (or use less).  You can reduce or omit the onions or peppers, but don't add more of them.


  • 1 Pressure Canner (a large pressure  pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars after filling (about $75 to $200 at mall kitchen stores and "big box" stores, but it is cheaper online; see this page for more information).  For low acid foods (most vegetables, you can't use an open water bath canner, it has to be a Pressure Canner to get the high temperatures to kill the bacteria. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
  • Jar funnel ($4 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)
  • At least 1 large pot
  • Colander or sieve
  • Large spoons and ladles,
  • Canning jars (often called Ball jars, Mason jars or Kerr jars) (Publix, Kroger, other grocery stores and some "big box" stores carry them - now about $12 per dozen quart jars (up 50% in 2 years!) including the lids and rings)

Canning Chili Directions - Step by Step


Step 1 - Prepare the jars and pressure canner

Wash the jars and lids

This is a good time to get the jars ready! The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. Otherwise put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) to pull them out.

Get the pressure canner heating up

Rinse out your pressure canner, put the rack plate in the bottom, and fill it to a depth of 4 inches with hot tap water. (of course, follow the instruction that came with the canner, if they are different). Put it on the stove over low heat, with the lid OFF of it, just to get it heating up for later on.


kideney beans being washed

Step 2 - Wash and soak the beans

Wash beans thoroughly and place them in a 2 qt saucepan. Add cold water to a level of 2 to 3 inches above the beans and soak 12 to 18 hours. Drain and discard water.canned kidney beans


 OR use drained, rinsed canned beans.





Step 3 - peppers and onionschopped red peppersChop the onions, peppers and tomatoes

I dice the onions and peppers into small pieces, about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm), and the tomatoes I leave in larger pieces, around 1 inch (2.5 cm).

Step 4 - Boil the beanskidney beans in pot

Combine the beans with 5-1/2 cups of fresh water, and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.



Stkidney beans being drainedep 5 - Drain the beans

Drain and discard the water.

browning onions and peppersStep 6 - Brown the onions and peppers

Brown the chopped onions and peppers in a pan with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, if needed, to avoid burning!




Step 7 - Add the meat to the pot

browning the meatNow, brown the meat (ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey), along with the chopped onions, and peppers, (the onions and/or peppers are optional), in a skillet.



Step 8 - adding the spicesDrain the fat and add the spices

Drain off the fat (I put it in a colander or sieve and let it drain in a pan in the sink).  Put the pot back on the stove and add the spices.






cooking the chiliStep 9 - Add the chopped tomatoes, beans and lemon or lime juice and heat for 5 minutes

Put the drained, cooked beans and the drained browned meat in a large pot. Add the, lemon or lime juice and the drained, cooked beans. Simmer for 5 minutes, so everything is heated thoroughly. Caution: Do not add starch or other thickeners.

Step 10 - Fill the jarsfilling th e jars with chili

Fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and tighten the bands, gently, by hand.


Step 11 - Put the lids and rings on

Put the lids on each jar and seal them by putting a ring on and screwing it down snugly (but not with all your might, just "snug").

Step 12 - Put the jars in the canner and the lid on the canner (but still vented)

Using the jar tongs, put the jars on the rack in the canner.  By now the water level has probably boiled down to 3 inches.  If it is lower than that, add more hot tap water to the canner. When all the jars that the canner will hold are in, put on the lid and twist it into place, but leave the weight off (or valve open, if you have that type of pressure canner).


Pressure canner ventingStep 13 - Let the canner vent steam for 10 minutes

Put the heat on high and let the steam escape through the vent for 10 minutes to purge the airspace inside the canner.


Step 14 - Put the weight on and let the pressure build

After 10 minutes of venting, put the weight on and close any openings to allow the pressure to build to 11 pounds.







Step 15 - Process for  minutes

Once the gauge hits 10 or 11 pounds (depending on the type of canner , see the tables below), start your timer going - for 75 minutes.  Adjust the heat, as needed, to maintain 10 or 11 pounds of pressure.

Note: the chart at right will help you determine the right processing time and pressure, if you have a different type of canner, or are above sea level.

It is important to learn how to operate your pressure canner by reading the owner's manual that came with your particular canner. If you cannot find your owner's manual, you can obtain find one online: Here is where to find some common manufacturer's manuals:

or by contacting the company that made your canner. Give the model number to the manufacturer, and they will send you the right manual. Click here for more information about pressure canners and a variety of models you can order.

process according to the recommendations in the table appropriate to your type of pressure canner below:

Recommended process time for Chile Con Carne in a dial-gauge pressure canner.


Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of

Style of Pack

Jar Size

Process Time

0 - 2,000 ft

2,001 - 4,000 ft

4,001 - 6,000 ft

6,001 - 8,000 ft



75 min

11 lb

12 lb

13 lb

14 lb


Recommended process time for Chile Con Carne in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.


Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of

Style of Pack

Jar Size

Process Time

0 - 1,000 ft

Above 1,000 ft



75 min

10 lb

15 lb





Step 16 - Turn off the heat and let it cool down Presto 23 quart Pressure canner

When the processing time from the chart above is up, turn off the heat, and allow the pressure canner to cool and the pressure to drop to zero before opening the canner. Let the jars cool without being jostled. After the pressure drops to zero (usually, you can tell but the "click" sound of the safety release vents opening, as well as but the gauge. Let the pressure in the canner drop to zero by itself. This may take 45 minutes in a 16-quart canner filled with jars and almost an hour in a 22-quart canner. If the vent is opened before the pressure drops to zero OR if the cooling is rushed by running cold water over the canner, liquid will be lost from the jars. Too rapid cooling causes loss of liquid in the jars!

Step 17 - Remove the jars

homemade canned chiliLift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a wooden cutting board or a towel,  without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight), here they won't be bumped. You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok. You're done!



Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

[ Easy Home Canning Directions] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]