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Canning Dried Beans Recipe
Learning to can dried beans is a huge convenience, a way to save money on groceries, and a way to take your zombie apocalypse/prepper stash to the next level. (Not my canning motive, but no shade if that’s you)Jump to Recipe
Dried Beans Canning Tutorial
If you’re brand new to the world of canning, there are few things simpler to can than dried beans. It requires just 2 ingredients, the prep work is practically nonexistent, and the same process carries over to canning all sorts of things. By learning to can with dried beans, you’re setting yourself up for lots of canning success down the road.
You may be asking “why bother canning beans?” Dried beans are already shelf-stable and pretty easy to store. The benefit to canning beans is that they’ll be cooked ahead of time while stored in the jar. This means that you won’t need to soak them or cook them for a long time before eating them- they’re ready to go right out of the jar.
The process of canning dried beans is pretty simple. Start by adding the beans to your jars, then add salt and water (and any other seasonings or add-ins you’d like). Then we process the jars in the pressure canner for 75 minutes for pint jars, or 90 minutes for quart jars. After processing, the jars are filled with cooked, ready to eat beans and are shelf-stable for 2 years or more.
There are just 3 ingredients that I use when canning beans, but you can use as little as 2 ingredients.
The most important ingredient- dried beans. You’ll need 1/ 2 cup of dried beans per pint jar, or 1 cup of beans per quart jar.
The second ingredient is salt, and it’s actually optional. But I think it lends to the quality and flavor of the beans in the end. I use 1 tsp of salt per quart jar and 1/ 2 tsp per pint jar.
Last but not least, we’ll need water to can the beans. This is vital for rehydrating and cooking them over the course of the canning process. Without water, we’d just be moving dried beans from one container to another- not a particularly efficient or purposeful project.
Substitutions when Canning Dried Beans
There are no shortages of substitutions or additions that you can make when canning beans, so this is where you can really let your creativity fly.
Beans themselves come in a wide range of types, and they all seem to handle canning well. Chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans) handle being canned very well and turned into hummus or crisped up as little chickpea snacks.
Pinto beans are great for canning because they can be turned into refried beans very quickly, right out of the jar.
Black beans are great canned, and make for convenient additions to burritos, casseroles, and skillets- no pre-soaking required.
Kidney beans can be canned and provide the base for a very quick batch of chili- just brown some ground beef and an onion, add tomatoes, home-canned kidney beans, and some seasonings and dinner’s ready for the table.
Canned red beans are a great way to have red beans and rice in a hurry.
Canning white beans will speed up a white chicken chili immensely.
And of course, any variety of bean is subject to reheating and eating on its own. You’ll find that any sort of dried beans you can buy or grow are also great candidates for canning.
What about substitutions for the salt?
First, know that you can leave it out entirely or adjust the amount to suit your tastes. But this is also a great place to consider what you’ll be using these beans for after canning- and what sort of flavor profile you want those dishes to have.
Adding cumin, chili powder, onion and garlic powder, etc. to beans will give you a jump start on the flavor of your chili.
Brown sugar or maple syrup can lend to homemade baked beans.
Seasonings and flavors are only limited by your imagination.
Worth noting that meat has the same canning time as beans, so you can even add cubes of ham or bacon for extra flavor, without having to adjust the processing time. Most vegetables (including onions and tomatoes) have a shorter processing time than beans, so you can add them for extra flavor and follow the usual bean processing times.
You can substitute the water in the canning process as well, but it needs to be some sort of liquid. I like to can beans in broth. They come out with a rich flavor and are a great boost to homemade soups. (New to the world of homemade broth? I have a post all about it, here)
Step by Step Directions for Canning Dried Beans
To can dried beans, begin by assembling your ingredients and supplies. You’ll need dried beans in the variety of your choosing, salt, and water.
You’ll also need jars, with lids and rings, a pressure canner, a towel, and a measuring cup. Having a canning funnel and a jar lifter will also help a lot.
Start by measuring out the dried beans.
You’ll use 1/ 2 cup per pint jar, or 1 cup per quart jar. This is where the canning funnel will come in handy- you can pour into a regular mouth jar without having beans skittering across the counter.
1/ 2 cup and 1 cup probably doesn’t look like very much in these empty jars, but keep in mind that the beans will expand significantly while cooking and we need to leave plenty of space.
Next, add the salt. I use 1/ 2 teaspoon per pint jar or 1 teaspoon per quart jar. You can eyeball it or measure it, or adjust to your taste.
Finally, we’re going to add water to each jar. It can come straight from the tap. Fill each jar to 1” below the rim, this leaves enough headspace for expansion.
Add a lid and ring to each jar. Tighten the rings snugly by hand.
Place the rack in the bottom of your pressure canner. Load the jars into the canner, it is okay if they are touching. In the 23 quart Presto pressure cooker, I can process 7 quart jars or 18 pint jars at once. (This is the canner I use)
Once all of the jars are loaded, add water to your pressure canner. Mine calls for 3 quarts.
Add the lid to your canner, leaving off the weight, and turn your stove on to high. We want to bring the water in the canner to a fast boil.
Once the water is boiling, a steady stream of steam will be flowing through your canner’s vent. We want to vent for 10 minutes to ensure that the entire canner is filled with steam. After 10 minutes, add the weight.
Let the canner continue to cook, on high, building up enough pressure for your altitude. I’m between 3.500’ and 4.000’ in elevation and process my canning at 12# of pressure.
Once your canner has reached adequate pressure, turn the stove down slightly to maintain that pressure without going too far above it.
This is the point when we start the timer. Processing time is “time under pressure” not total time on the stove.
Pint jars of beans require 75 minutes of processing time, and quart jars require 90 minutes.
Make sure to keep an eye on the stove throughout to maintain the correct pressure by adjusting the stove temperature up or down as needed. Turning the temperature up will raise the pressure and lowering the temperature will lower it.
After the jars have been processed for the correct amount of time, turn off the stove. Leave the canner to cool and depressurize on its own.
Once the pressure gauge has dropped to zero, you can remove the lid and unload the jars. They will still be hot! Use the jar lifter if you have one. Arrange the jars on a towel-lined counter to allow airflow between the jars.
Let the jars cool on the counter for 12 – 24 hours before checking the seals.
To check the seals, remove the rings and gently lift on the lid, straight upwards. Any unsealed jars can be used immediately or stored in the fridge for several days.
You can store the sealed jars with or without the rings. Either way, your home-canned beans will be shelf-stable for at least 2 years.
Tips for Canning
Using a canning funnel will make filling the jars SO much easier and faster. Plus you’ll avoid having to sweep dried beans off the floor and countertop for the next week. (Unless your canning companion is a toddler, then it’s probably still going to be a thing)
Err on the side of leaving more headspace when canning beans. They’ll expand a lot while cooking, and siphoning can sometimes prevent the jars from sealing.
To maximize the amount of canning you can accomplish in a single batch, order a second rack for your pressure canner. With a second rack in place, I can process 18 pint jars at once, instead of just 9 in a single layer.
If you don’t have enough jars to fill the canner all the way, you can process jars of meat, soup, or broth at the same time. Meat (or sauces, stews, chilis, and soups with meat) has the same processing time as beans- 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. You can find my tutorial about canning meat here.
(You can find a canning funnel at Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc. Most places that sell jars will sell a canning funnel and jar lifter together. Both are worth the investment. Extra racks can sometimes be found in store, but I ordered mine from Amazon.)
Canning Dried Beans FAQs
Do I have to use salt?
No, you do not have to use salt when canning dried beans, but adding salt will help with the flavor of the finished product. If you’d prefer to, you can can the beans without salt and then salt to taste when cooking with them later.
Can I use broth instead of water for canning?
Absolutely. Canning beans in broth instead of water is going to boost their flavor significantly. Plus, it gives you a head start on making soup or chili later on. In addition to canning in broth, you can add seasonings to the beans to shortcut later meal prep.
What about adding meat to the jars before canning?
Meat and beans have the same processing time requirements. (The amount of time they need to cook under pressure in order to be shelf-stable and safe to eat) This means that you can can jars of beans and jars of meat in the canner simultaneously. Or, you can combine meat and beans in the same jar and process. Adding chunks of ham, ham hock, or bacon are great ways to boost the flavor of your home-canned beans.
What kinds of beans can you can?
If you can buy them, you can can them. I’ve canned pinto beans, black eyed peas, white beans, 15 bean soup mix, kidney beans, small red beans, black beans, chickpeas, and even lentils. The only limits are your tastebuds- what kinds of beans would you actually use and enjoy eating? That’s what you should focus on canning.
What kinds of beans should you not can?
To date, I haven’t found a variety of beans that didn’t can well. Sometimes I’ve had jars that were a little short on water (or a few too many beans) and the beans at the top of the jar weren’t cooked as thoroughly as those at the bottom. They are still safe to eat and finish cooking later. But this doesn’t seem to be variety-specific. If you can buy them, you can can them.
Can I add other vegetables to the beans before canning?
Absolutely. Adding onions, tomatoes, carrots, or garlic to cans of beans is another great way to change the flavor of the finished product. All of these vegetables have a shorter canning processing time than beans, so they’ll end up overcooked. But if you’re going to add these jars to a soup or stew later on it’s a great idea.
How long are home-canned beans shelf-stable?
According to the manufacturers of the jars and lids, home-canned foods are shelf-stable for 18 months. In my experience, it’s at least twice that. I’ve also heard stories of people eating decades-old canned goods, so maybe no one really knows the limits yet. I’d suggest planning on 2 or 3 years, and rotating through your canned goods so that you’re eating the older stuff and storing the newer. “First in, first out.”
How do you use these canned beans?
The exact same way that you’d use dried beans or store-bought beans. Soup, stew, chili, refried beans, baked beans, rice and beans, hummus… The benefit for canning the dried beans is that you won’t need to soak or boil them ahead of time, that step has been done during the canning process.
Why not just buy cans of beans from the store?
I have 2 main reasons for canning my own dried beans instead of buying canned beans from the store. First, I know exactly what is in each jar. I know what kind of salt or other seasonings were used, and visually checked to make sure everything was a high quality before and after canning. My second reason to can my own is that it’s cheaper. A standard sized (15 oz) can of beans costs $1.79 at the store today. A one pound bag of beans can be purchased for less than that ($1.59) and would be enough dried beans to make the equivalent of 4) 15 oz jars. Saving over 75%. If you buy your beans in bulk, the cost per pound (and thus cost per jar) are even less.
Now that you know how to can beans and have a handle on the general process of pressure canning, you’re going to be looking for all sorts of foods to can. I have a plethora of canning tutorials (it is my favorite food preservation method) on the blog.
Canning Dried Beans- In Conclusion
Thanks for checking out this canning post. I hope that you’ve been inspired to give pressure canning a try. Tag me @EmigrantFarms on Instagram and show me how your canning projects turn out!
Thanks for reading and happy homesteading!
Canning Dried Beans
- Pressure Cooker, with rack, lid, weight, etc. (I'll be using my dependable 23Q Presto Pressure Cooker- as usual)
- Pint or Quart Jars, with lids and rings
- Canning funnel, Teaspoon, Jar Lifter, Kitchen towel
- Dried Beans
- Begin by measuring out 1/2 cup of Dried Beans per pint jar.(If you'll be canning in quarts, measure out 1 cup per jar)Use the canning funnel to add the beans to the jar without making a mess.
- Add 1/2 tsp of salt per pint jar (1tsp per quart)
- Fill each jar with water to 1" from the top of the rim.
- Add lids and rings to each jar.
- Load the jars into the pressure canner- it's okay if they touch. Add water as instructed in your pressure canner's user manual. (3 quarts in my case)
- Add the lid, leaving the weight off, and turn the stove up to high.
- Once the canner has begun to vent steam, set a timer for 10 minutes.After 10 minutes, add the weight.Keep an eye on the pressure gauge, making sure that it comes up to an appropriate pressure for your elevation.
- Once the required pressure is reached, turn the stove down slightly to maintain that pressure.Set a timer for 75 minutes (if canning pints) or 90 minutes (if canning quarts). Make sure to maintain the correct level of pressure throughout the entire cook time.
- After the cook time has passed, turn off the stove, and let the canner come down to 0# on its own.
- Once the canner has depressurized (indicated by the air vent cover dropping), you can remove the lid carefully, and pull the jars out of the canner to cool. (Use the jar lifting tongs and arrange them on a towel on the counter)
- Let the jars cool overnight (12-24 hours) and then check the seals. They're now ready to be labeled and stored for future use.