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Pressure Canning Dried Beans

We use a lot of dried beans here. Sometimes I cook them with a piece of ham or other cured meat. Mostly though I use them as an ingredient in other dishes like chili or soup.

Dried beans are one of the most economical items you can home can. They’re getting expensive in the stores right now so stock up and plan to preserve them by canning some. Canning dry beans does require a pressure canner.

This is not a tutorial on how to use a pressure canner. If you don’t know how to use one or don’t have one, you’ll need to get that taken care of before canning dried beans. I’ll give instructions for using my Pressure Canner which is a Mirro 23 quart Pressure Canner, and you can take it from there.

An important thing to remember when pressure canning ANYTHING: Time your canning according to the ingredient that needs the most time. So if you put meat in your dried beans, you can them as long as you would a whole quart or pint of meat.

There are several methods you could use to home can dried beans.

  1. Soak, cook, can. In this method you soak the beans in water eight hours or overnight. Then you rinse the beans and put them in clean water and cook them. Finally, you can the cooked beans. I am not personally fond of this method because it cooks the beans twice and they are very mushy. If you like mushy beans, for example if you were going to do nothing with these beans but make re-fried beans, this method might be the best for you.
  2. No-soak, can dry beans. This method is definitely the easiest. It works just fine, BUT I can never really work out how much water to add to the beans especially if I have meat in the jars taking up some of the space. I usually end up with lots of water and not enough beans. I’ve experimented with this method a lot and I CAN do it, but I prefer the next method. If you need fast, easy, uncomplicated method, try this one.
  3. Soak, can. This is my go-to method for canning dried beans. I like the soak time, it gives the beans a great texture after they have cooked in the jars. This is the method that I have consistent success with. They’re not mushy. Plus, after soaking I can add meat and I know the beans aren’t going to swell up much more in the jars so I know how much water to use.

I’ll start with my favorite method: #3, Soak, Can.

My Mirro 22 quart Pressure Canner hold 7 quarts. So to fill 7 quarts with beans I’ll use 2 pounds of dried pintos. Its hard to estimate how many dried beans you need for canning because beans dry at different rates. But a rule of thumb is 2 pounds for every 7 quarts of finished beans.

First, wash your beans. Dried beans are an agricultural product so they’re going to have soil, bugs, twigs, rocks, in them. Wash them in clear water and rinse them. Pick through them while you’re washing to remove debris. Beans that float are probably OK but the ones that are discolored should be removed and discarded.

Now that you’ve got your beans washed, put them in a big bowl or pan that is twice as big as you have beans, at least. Cover the beans with water by several inches and check on them throughout the day or before you go to bed if you’re soaking them overnight. They will soak up a lot of water and you may need to add more.

After the 8 hour or over-night soaking time, pour off the water and get your jars and canner ready.

Your lids, rings and jars should be hot.

Get a big kettle or pot of water boiling to put in the jars after adding the beans.

I put 3 inches of water in my Mirro 22 quart Pressure Canner and start getting it hot while I prepare the beans in the jars.

In each quart jar you’ll put 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 cups of soaked beans and a chunk of cured meat if using. This much salt seasons the beans well. If you think you need them to be less salty for recipes, decrease the amount to 1/2 teaspoon.

If you use pints, you’ll use 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of soaked beans in each jar, plus the chunk of meat if using.

Next, pour boiling water over the beans and meat in each jar, leaving a 1 inch headspace. this water doesn’t HAVE to be boiling but I think it gives the beans a good head start and shortens the heating up process a little.

Wipe the mouths of the jars clean and dry with a clean cloth. Add the hot lids and rings. Tighten the rings just hand tight don’t force it tight.

Put the jars in the pressure canner, I use a rack and I weave a clean cotton cloth between the jars to keep them from bumping into one another and breaking. That doesn’t always happen but I’ve done it a few times so the cloth is a must in my opinion. It works.

Close and lock the Pressure Canner

After you have locked and vented the canner, let it process.

If you have never pressure canned, find someone who has to do it with you first, that’s my suggestion any way. I pressure canned by myself with my Mother on the phone the first time.

Process these quarts of dried beans with meat for 90 minutes. If you happen to use pints process them for 75 minutes after venting.

After the canning time is up, remove the canner from the heat and let it naturally depressurize. Don’t remove the weight yet. If you do, you risk all the liquid being sucked out of the beans.

When the canner is decompressed, remove the jars and let them cool on the countertop. They’ll still be really hot, probably boiling, so be very careful.

After they cool check to see that the lids are all popped downward and then you can store the jars.


  1. Annie Farmer

    I’m excited to try your version. I have only used the recipe from the blue book, soak and par cook. How’s the texture Sylvia?

    • Sylvia Britton

      Hi Annie! If you’re talking about the Soak-Can method, which is the one I prefer – the texture is great. The beans are not mushy and because they are not been pre-cooked, they hold up very well and most of the beans stay whole. They aren’t grainy feeling and are very flavorful.