Canning Beans

Several already commented that they don’t like beans.  We love beans!  Pinto beans are my very favorite but there’s not a bean I don’t like.  Yes, I’m fully aware that I can buy cans of pinto beans or baked beans at the store.  I can also buy a can of tomato soup or I can make homemade tomato soup that I think tastes a whole lot better!  Just like you can buy a “quilt” at most department stores for $50, or you can make one for way more than that!  I think home canned tastes a lot better and I know exactly what ingredients are used.  Or I can buy storebought, and sometimes I do . . and we all eat it and never complain.

There are many blogs I follow, mostly it’s homemakers and moms who think the way I think and do similar things that I do.   Last week I had washed my pinto beans and let them soak and was going to blog about it and I clicked on the Creative Chicks at Play blog and wouldn’t you know it . . Emily was blogging about canning pinto beans.  I said . . well, I’m not going to blog about it because it will look like I’m copying what she’s doing.  Same thing happened a while back when Chickens in the Road blogged about bean sprouts.  I can’t tell you how many times CJ and I blog about the same thing at almost the same time.

I don’t mind making pinto beans from scratch for dinner without using canned beans because I can cook them in the pressure cooker quickly.  But I think they taste better when I can them and let them sit in the spices for a while.  Then, it is so nice to be able to open a jar and just heat them up without having to cook them.  For baked beans, because they take so long to make, I almost never make them just when I need them.   I try to keep a good supply of them ready to use.

For both of these, I try to get it all done before summer because these take a lot of cooking time and once tomatoes start getting ripe, there’s no time to can much of anything except tomatoes.  We eat at least 2 quarts of pinto beans and 1 pint of baked beans most every week.  The good thing though is that they aren’t like tomatoes in that you have to can them all at once . . when they’re ripe!  I can can 14 quarts of beans now and another 14 quarts when my supply is getting low.  Same with the baked beans.

Here’s the last batch I did.  There are 14 quarts of pinto beans and 9 pints of baked beans.  My canner holds 7 quarts or 20 pints.  Normally I make a double batch of baked beans so I can have 18 pints and I make a double batch of pinto beans so that gives me 14 quarts.  Of course, it never comes out perfectly so whatever jars don’t fit or get filled, we have for dinner in the next day or so.  Remember that I don’t measure too well so use these recipes as a guideline.

For the Pinto Beans:

Start with 8 cups of dry beans, rinsed very well.  Place beans in a large pot and cover with at least 2″ of water.  Bring to a boil and let boil, uncovered for 2 – 3 minutes.  Remove from heat (but do not drain), cover and let sit for 1 hour.  Drain, rinse again with cold water.  Cover with at least 2″ of water.  Bring to a boil, uncovered.  Continue boiling uncovered for about 30 minutes.  Stir often so they don’t stick.  At this point, you can add whatever seasonings you like.  I had a lot of cumin.  I’ve never measured but I’m thinking 3 tablespoons??  I’ll pay more attention next time.

Here . . I’ll figure you know the basics of canning.   Pack beans and liquid into jars, leaving 1″ of head space.  Note:  I only fill the jar about 3/4 full of beans and then fill with liquid, leaving the 1″ head space.  This way your beans will have plenty of juice and will not be dry.  To the quart jars, I ad 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 of a seeded jalapeno pepper and a clove of garlic I’ve sliced in half.  Kinda stir those things around a bit and make sure all the air is out of the jar.  Clean the tops well, place the lids and rings on.  Process quarts at 10 pounds pressure for 1-1/2 hours.  Yep  . . it takes a long time.

Since I’m making 2 batches, I keep the remaining beans in the pot and heat them up just before time to put them in jars to put into the canner.  Do not put them in the jars and allow them to sit and cool before you put them into the canner.

For the Baked Beans:

2 pounds navy beans, rinsed well
1/2 pound salt pork
3 large onions (nice when you can get Vidalias)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2/3 cup molasses

The original recipe says to chop the onions but even Vince picks the onions out so I put them in the food processor and . . poof . . can’t find them any more!  🙂

Place beans in a large pot and cover with at least 2″ of water.  Bring to a boil and let boil, uncovered for 2 – 3 minutes.  Remove from heat (but do not drain), cover and let sit for 1 hour.  Drain, rinse again with cold water.  Cover with at least 2″ of water.  Bring to a boil, uncovered.  Reduce heat.  Cover and continue to gently simmer until skins begin to crack or loosen.  Drain but save the liquid.  Pour beans into a large covered oven proof pan or bean pot.  Add pork and onions.  Stir in remaining ingredients and 4 cups of bean liquid.  If you’re short on liquid, add water.  Cover and bake at 350º for 3-1/2 hours.  Add more bean liquid or water if necessary.  Beans should be soupy.  Pack beans in pint jars, leaving 1″ headspace.  Remove air and clean edges well.  Place rings and lids on jars.  Process pints at 10 pounds pressure for 1 hour, 20 minutes.


  1. 1

    Dawn says

    I do a lot a water canning but was always afraid of pressure canning. I heard stories of an aunt who had an explosion with one so I guess it why I always shyed away.
    What is the secret? I would love to be able to can things that you cant use water bath canning for.

    Dawn in MA

    • 1.1


      The secret Dawn, is modern pressure canners. 🙂
      All American is hands down the best canner to be had.

      But you still have to babysit them and pay attention!

      Judy, I think a lot of people believe they don’t like beans, because they’ve not had them cooked well, or with much variety. Jim and I also eat a LOT of beans, beans and rice is one of our favorite meals.

      Small red beans are my favorite, pintos are my second favorite.

      There are some excellent cookbooks out there for just beans, grains and rices, and a gazillion ways to season and make a variety of bean dishes.

      Thanks for sharing your baked bean recipe, I’ll have to give it a try!

  2. 2


    Well, I think store bought canned pinto beans are pretty yucky. But, I do love pinto and great northern beans cooked on the stove. I haven’t thought about canning them. I didn’t know if they would taste as good as stove cooked beans. We don’t have them very often because I don’t want to wait for them to cook.

    Thanks for the directions. I think I’ll try to can some this summer. I have my husband’s pressure cooking just sitting in storage waiting to be used.

    • 2.1


      Vivian, before using an older pressure cooker, you should check it carefully. The gasket may need to be replaced and the pressure regulator should be checked for accuracy. Our county extension office does that.

      • says

        Thanks Judy, I’ll do that if I decide to use it. My husband is kind of like yours– Too much trouble, get a new one.

  3. 3


    I agree with you. I have discovered that once you start making things from scratch (tomatosoup, tomato sauce for pasta etc), the store bought variety just don’t taste so good anymore.
    An alternative can be organic food. Lots of organic foods taste homemade. Unfortunately, they are very expensive.

  4. 4

    Sandy Gail (Sandra Neel Hutchins) says

    Judy, You are a jewel to share your canned bean recipes with us! Meals at your house must be a special treat every day! Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

  5. 5

    Cynthia H., El Cerrito, CA says

    I’m a home canner, too, but have always shied away from using salt in long-stored products. Do you find that the salt becomes stronger in flavor in the beans? (Bear in mind that I’m on a permanent Very Low Sodium way of life, 1,000 mg sodium/day…)

    Although the beans might not hang around at your house long enough for you to find out! 🙂

  6. 6


    Judy is the absolute BEST cook I know! I would eat 3 times a day at her house if I could.

    We eat lots of beans too, but I cook and freeze them in qt containers. I have a pressure cooker that I do use, but I’ve not tried canning beans. May have to give it a whirl! This would beat having to wait for beans to thaw and we don’t care for commercially canned foods.

      • says

        If we eat them and live to tell about it, we figure they were safe! 🙂

        Seriously, if the lid is bulging or leaking or if the beans smell funny or look foamy or anything weird, I wouldn’t eat them. In many years of canning, I’ve never had anything go bad.

  7. 7


    Judy, I have to amend what I said, well, I still don’t like beans, but have learned to eat them in somethings, mixed up with other things and it depends on the type of bean. Black beans are my favorite. My DH loves beans, two boys will sort of eat them. The most funny, to me, thing about me not liking beans is with my Mama being from New Orleans, we ate red beans and rice every Saturday night of my life living at home, well, everyone else did, I ate rice….

  8. 8


    I cook my dry beans and peas in the slow cooker. Then what we don’t eat right away, I freeze. It is so nice to pull them out all done.

  9. 9

    Sandie says

    My baked bean recipe includes sausage. Would they be canned following the same instructions or is it best to continue to make them and freeze the excess rather than canning them?

  10. 10


    I was very interested in your recipe for baked beans. I have eaten lots of just plain pressure canned beans, but this was a new idea to me. Perhaps it is something for me to try down the road. Thanks for the idea.

  11. 11

    Linda Sass says

    I am currently making homemade baked beans using soilder beans. I would love to can them but dont have a pressure cooker. would it be safe to do so with a water bath for about 1 hour and a half? any help would be greatly appreciated.