Taco night just got a whole lot easier with these home canned beans. Pressure canning beans is a simple way you can do more from-scratch cooking with all the convenience of precooked, shelf stable canned beans. Make them once and have enough to last you through six months of meals. Batch booking at it’s finest.
This is not a tutorial on how to use a pressure canner. Please follow safe canning recommendations as noted by your pressure canning manufacturer. For more information on pressure canning, check out this article. The following info is how I pressure can beans in my home.
Why pressure can beans at home?
Sure, you could buy a can of beans from the store and heat them up in a few minutes, but what about the trash it creates? The price? Those sneaky unwanted ingredients?
So you you decide to buy dry beans. Good move. They store well and they’re super cheap. Great, but you lost all the convenience of those heat and eat store bought canned beans.
What if instead you took those dry beans and pressure canned them yourself? Cheaper, you know just what’s in them, how they were prepared and you still have the convenience of a quick pantry staple without having to soak beans the night before.
Instead of stocking your pantry with store bought aluminum cans full of beans with undesirable ingredients, make them from scratch. What if you could scratch make them just once a year and have enough to last you through? That’s what I do, and it’s great.
Why not just cook dry beans from scratch?
Dry beans are cheap and easy to find. The only problem is you have to remember to soak them the night before. Some people don’t mind cooking them straight from dry without soaking first, but it takes a long time and they aren’t as digestible.
For beans to be easy on your stomach they need to be soaked overnight and very well cooked. I found a way to do this only once a year and make enough so I have ready to eat, healthy home canned beans from scratch for the whole year.
If you want to read TMI on properly preparing legumes, check out this article from The Weston A. Price Foundation.
Do you have to soak dry beans before pressure canning them?
Like with anything, there is more than one way to do this. The first time I pressure canned beans at home I simply filled them about 1/4 full and covered them with boiling water, adding a little salt. I then pressure canned the pints for 75 minutes.
That was before I knew the importance of soaking and properly preparing grains and beans to reduce anti nutrients and improve digestibility. Pressure canning is a great way to thouroughly cook the beans, but now I believe it’s the best choice to soak first, par-cook and then pressure can them.
I found the difference between the two methods to be pretty big. As far as quality goes, the soaked beans are better. I can also definitely see the value in canning dry beans without soaking. It’s so easy to just toss the dried beans in the jars, cover them with water and pop them in the pressure canner.
The best way to learn is by doing. If you’ve tried it both ways, let me know what you think in the comments below.
How to pressure can beans at home
- Soak beans overnight
- Rise and sort through beans removing any stones
- Add beans to a large pot and cover with twice the volume of water
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer
- Simmer beans for 30 minutes
- Place desired spices and salt into the bottom of pint size jars
- With a slotted spoon, fill each jar with beans leaving 1 inch headspace
- Ladle hot cooking liquid over the beans
- Debubble and adjust headspace
- Cover with flats and rings
- Pressure can pints for 1 hour and 15 minutes
Can you add spices to your home canned beans?
Yes! That is the beauty of making big batch pressure canned beans at home. Not only can you add spice, but you can make a variety of flavors in one canner load by switching up the spices in each jar. Just make sure to take note as to which is which so you can label them correctly after you’re done canning and cooling them.
Can you can black beans?
Absolutely! You can do black beans following this same method. You could even do half black beans and half pinto in each jar, or individually but in the same canner load. Kidney beans, navy beans, black eyed peas, the sky is the limit.
What spices are good for Mexican style beans?
I usually use my beans for tacos, burritos or nachos. I like to spice mine with garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, chili powder, oregano, a bay leaf and salt.
When I make the black beans, I do about the same spices but I also add some cayenne. I like spicy black beans and this works great.
This is not “authentic” anything. Unless you’re talking authentic Lanni from Preserving Today’s home cooking. I was winging it with the spices and just use about what I would use for my homemade taco seasoning. It tuned out good and I’m happy with it.
I don’t measure exactly, but I use about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of each spice per pint plus 1 bay leaf.
What other spices can I use to flavor pressure canned beans?
- Italian Cannelloni Beans: Basil, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper
- Spicy Black Beans: Cayenne, cumin, chili powder, salt
- Curried Navy Beans: Get this great curry powder from Granite State Spice Blends
- Make up your own! Share your favorite way to spice beans in the comments below.
How much salt to add?
I add about 1/4 teaspoon per pint of sea salt, Himalayan pink salt or canning salt. A heaping 1/4 teaspoon, really. Some other reliable canning sources say to use 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint. Depending on how salty you like things adjust that salt between 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon per pint jar.
If you want to skip adding spices that’s fine, but be sure to add salt to each jar. It helps with the flavor and helps the beans soften completely as they cook.
Can you pressure can refried beans?
Probably, I’m sure you can find someone who says yes. I am also guessing that there is no approved and tested ‘safe’ recipe. The reason would be because of the density of the food. Like, canned pumpkin purée is a big no-no for the rule followers. Same with canning mashed potatoes. If you want to play it on the safe side, try doing what I do.
I pressure can the beans with the spices. When I want refried beans I just dump them in a pot and heat them to simmering. Then I smash them up with a potato masher until they are refried bean consistency. You could add some fat (lard, anyone?) and additional spices if you want. Cook them longer if you want them thicker and you’re good to go.
I really like preparing it that way because it’s versatile. I didn’t just can 27 pints of refried beans. Instead I canned 27 pints of whole pinto beans with Mexican spices and I can use them differently in many recipes including refried beans.
How many dried beans do you need per pint?
About 3/4 cup of most varieties of dried beans will grow to fill a pint size jar after being soaked and cooked. It may be slightly more than you need, but not by much.
I usually don’t really measure, I just make a huge batch and can them until I’m done. I’m sure this method would drive some people crazy, but a lot of what I do in the kitchen is intuitive and not by the book.
Equipment to have or to buy
- Pressure Canner: I have this Mirro Pressure Cooker/Canner. It was only $58 when I bought it in 2019. A lot has changed since then, as so has the price! I think the price of this type of equipment will continue to increase. This Mirro is still the cheapest around.
- Fancy Pressure Canner: The All American Pressure Canners seem to be considered the top of the line by most homesteader types. With that price, it better be! Maybe someday, but until then I’m happy with the Mirro I described above.
- Canning Funnel: I use this simple cheap canning funnel.
- Jar Lifter: I have these cheap lifters and the more heavy duty jar lifters and they both work great.
- Slotted Spoon: The one I use came from my husbands grandma, but it’s a lot like this one.
- Ladle: I use a plastic ladle that came with my big crock pot, but when I need to replace that I want this cool wooden ladle.
- Measuring Spoons: Hopefully you already have measuring spoons but if not I recommend getting some cheap ones with long handles like these.
Now go do it!
Pressure canning beans isn’t quick, but it’s simple and once you get down pressure canning it’s pretty easy too. If you’re new to pressure canning, this is actually a pretty good practice recipe.
I love pressure canning beans at home because I can make them so many different ways and still share that canner load. I feel good feeding my family these from scratch beans, with all the convenience of store bought beans without the price tag or aluminum can.
Want to do more cool stuff at home?
Be sure to check out these other posts like How to Make Fermented Drinks or Everything You Need to Know to Get Started with Fermented Vegetables.
Have you pressure canned beans at home? Do you do it differently? Share your tips and ideas in the comments, and thanks for reading.
Pressure Canning Beans: Scratch Made, Big Batch Pantry Staples
- Pressure canner
- Jar lifter
- Canning funnel
- Slotted spoon
- Pint size canning jars
- Large stock pot
- measuring spoons
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt per pint jar
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder per pint jar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder per pint jar
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder per pint jar
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder per pint jar
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano per pint jar
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper per pint jar
- 3/4 cup dry beans per pint jar
- Water for soaking
- Water for simmering and filling jars
- Soak beans overnight in at least double the volume of water.
- Rinse and sort beans.
- Strain and add to a large stock pot.
- Cover with twice the volume of water, bring to a boil.
- Lower to a simmer, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- While beans are simmering fill pint jars with desired salt and spices.
- After 30 minutes, use a slotted spoon to fill pint jars with hot beans leaving 1 inch of headspace.
- Ladle hot cooking liquid onto beans.
- Debubble and adjust headspace if needed.
- Wipe rims and add lids and bands.
- Place in pressure cooker and pressure cook 1 hour and 15 minutes per your canners manufacturers instructions.
Try different beans and/or spices in each jar and make a variety in one canner load.
If you want plain beans leave out the spices but be sure to add the salt to each jar.