Turkey canning recipes can be a lifesaver in November, when you have leftover turkey (but no refrigerator space), or when you find a deal on raw turkey in bulk the day after Thanksgiving. Turkey canning recipes work with both cooked and raw turkey, so they’re fine whether you’re canning leftover turkey after a meal, or simply canning turkey for your pantry.
Canning a high-protein, low-fat meat like turkey means you can pull healthy, ready to heat and eat meals in a jar right off your pantry shelf on a busy weeknight.
Whether you’re canning leftover turkey after the holidays, or simply find turkey on sale at the store, you’ll know just how to preserve it….even if you don’t have enough freezer space.
Is Turkey Safe for Canning?
Every year, I get emails from readers looking for turkey canning recipes, and everyone wants to know if you can pressure can leftover turkey that’s already been cooked. The answer is yes, you can! And now I’ve collected every turkey canning recipe I can find in one big list to help save you time.
It’s perfectly fine to pressure can turkey, and it can be either raw or cooked. It doesn’t matter whether it’s raw turkey from the grocery store, turkey raised and harvested at home, or wild turkey hunted in season.
You can even process turkey bone-in, or boneless. Both are fine, believe it or not.
Turkey can be used in any chicken canning recipe, even though it is technically a different meat. All types of poultry can be used interchangeably, so you can also use duck, goose or quails in chicken canning recipes as well.
That said, it is, in fact, a different animal, and there are some recipes where turkey works best. More often than not, you’ll be working with leftover turkey after a holiday meal, whereas with chicken, you’re often canning with boneless skinless pieces picked up already prepped and ready (but raw). Turkey is also available year-round as ground meat, while ground chicken is much harder to find.
Both of these facts mean that turkey canning recipes are sometimes a bit different than chicken canning recipes, so I’ve collected this list of canning recipes that work well specifically with turkey. Feel free, of course, to use turkey in place of chicken in any canning recipe though, knowing that it’s a safe and allowable substitution.
Instructions for Canning Turkey
Keep in mind that while turkey is safe for pressure canning, it is not safe for simple water bath canning. Pressure canning uses temperatures above 240 degrees F, and is reserved for meats and low-acid vegetables like green beans and potatoes. You will need a pressure canner for canning turkey, and should not attempt to can turkey in a simple water bath.
Water bath canning only works for high-acid fruits, jams, jellies, and pickles.
If you’re not familiar with pressure canning, I’d strongly recommend reading my beginner’s guide to pressure canning before you get started.
Turkey Canning Times and Pressures
With pressure canning, the canning time doesn’t change with elevation, only the canning pressure. Always refer to your own tested recipe to be sure, but in most cases, turkey canning recipes are processed for:
- 75 minutes for pint jars
- 90 minutes for quart jars
There are always exceptions to general rules like that, and a soup containing both turkey and seafood requires more time, while a simple turkey broth is processed for less time. But the vast majority of turkey canning recipes will use those processing times.
If you’re processing a brothy soup with turkey in it, and less than half the jar is solids, there’s a reduced processing time of 60 minutes for pints and 75 minutes for quarts (provided the recipe doesn’t contain seafood or shellfish). You can read more about that in my article on soup canning recipes.
With broth and stock, with all the solids filtered out, the canning times are 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.
Altitude adjustments for turkey canning recipes are as follows:
For dial gauge pressure canners:
- 0 to 2,000 feet in elevation – 11 lbs pressure
- 2,001 to 4,000 feet in elevation – 12 lbs pressure
- 4,001 to 6,000 feet in elevation – 13 lbs pressure
- 6,001 to 8,000 feet in elevation – 14 lbs pressure
For weighted gauge pressure canners:
- 0 to 1,000 feet in elevation – 10 lbs pressure
- Above 1,000 feet – 15 lbs pressure
Do You Have to Cook Turkey Before Canning It?
You don’t have to cook turkey before canning it, but you can if you want to.
All turkey canning recipes work exactly the same whether you’re working with raw turkey or cooked turkey. It actually doesn’t matter, and I know that’s surprising, but it is true.
Some turkey canning recipes will tell you to partially cook a turkey so that it’s halfway or 2/3rds of the way done before picking it off the bone. That’s not for canning safety, and you could just de-bone the turkey raw, but it’s much easier to pick cooked (or partially cooked) meat off the bone by hand than it is raw, and that’s the reason for that instruction.
When working with completely raw meat, you are allowed to simply raw pack the turkey without added liquid, since the meat will release liquid in the jar as it cooks. While that’s fine safety-wise, it’s just not great quality-wise. Turkey is just so lean that it almost always comes out dry that way, and that method is better reserved for something like pork shoulder (but even with pork, adding liquid will yield a better result).
If you’re using cooked meat, you always add broth or water to fill the jars, as the meat will not be releasing liquid on its own as it cooks.
Whether you’re working with raw or cooked turkey, I think it’s always best to pack it in a turkey or chicken broth with a bit of salt. The results are just best that way.
Bone-in or Boneless Turkey Canning
Believe it or not, you are allowed to can meat as a “bone-in” recipe, that comes in particularly handy with hard-to-bone chicken wings and beef short ribs. That said, turkey tends to have very large bones that won’t fit into canning jars. If you do leave the meat bone-in, you’ll need to ensure that the bones fit into the jar, leaving at least 1” headspace. And, of course, be careful when you serve the dish because it does contain bones.
Personally, I always can turkey boneless, but bone-in is a safe, tested option if you choose.
Turkey Canning Recipes
Turkey is incredibly versatile in canning recipes, and it can be canned raw or cooked. I particularly love that ground turkey is available most the year, which means you can add it to meat-based pasta sauces and chilis, too. Turkey can be used in just about everything from soups and stews to curries and pot pie fillings.
It also works well as taco meat, or seasoned with savory green herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary.
There’s really no way to go wrong with turkey.
Canning Plain Turkey
Plain turkey can be canned in water or broth, and either cooked or raw.
Again, as I’ve discussed, you can leave it bone in as well, but I think it works best boneless.
If you are canning ground turkey, you use the same recipe you’d use for canning ground beef as there are special prep instructions when working with ground meat. You can also season ground turkey sausage and can it that way too.
- Canning Leftover Turkey
- Canning Chicken (Same instructions, includes bone in and raw pack instructions)
- Canning Ground Beef (Same instructions when working with ground turkey)
Turkey Soup Canning Recipes
One of the very simplest things to do with leftover turkey is turkey soup, especially since you can use the carcass to make a hearty turkey stock too.
There are quite a few turkey soup canning recipes online at this point, so you can take your pick.
- Mexican Turkey Soup
- Turkey and Vegetable Soup
- Turkey Soup with Carrot, Celery and Onion
- Turkey Soup with Corn, Carrot, and Celery
- Turkey Tortilla Soup
- Turkey Posole Verde
Turkey Chili Canning Recipes
It’s not really a surpise that there aren’t many (or any actually) turkey chili canning recipes on the internet. There are actually only a few chicken chili canning recipes.
That said, you can use turkey in place of chicken in chicken chili canning recipes, so I’ll give you those options.
Since ground turkey is also an option, I’ve included a ground beef chili recipe that you can make with ground turkey too.
- Chicken Chili Verde
- White Chicken Chili
- Canning Chili con Carne (With Ground Turkey instead of Beef)
Turkey Pot Pie Filling Canning Recipes
Again, sadly there are not any specific turkey pot pie canning recipes online (Yet at least, I hope to get one posted shortly).
Both of these chicken pot pie filling canning recipes work well with turkey though.
Turkey Meal in a Jar Canning Recipes
Since there are a few specific turkey meal in a jar canning recipes available, I’ve included all I can find. There are easily a dozen chicken meal-in-a-jar canning recipes on my chicken canning recipes list where turkey could be substituted.
I hope to add a home canned Turkey Tetrazzini recipe shortly, which you’d serve over pasta. That’s a classic leftover turkey dish, and so common that Mountain House used to have a freeze-dried version. Soon, I’ll have the canned recipe up for y’all.
- Turkey and Gravy Meal in a Jar
- Turkey Goulash (with Ground Turkey)
- Asian Turkey Meatballs
- Italian Meatball Soup
- Turkey Tetrazzini (Coming Soon)
Turkey Broth Canning Recipes
Again, you can use a turkey carcass in place of chicken in broth recipes, but I find that it’s nice to have a specific turkey broth recipe for canning. Add a bit of sage, and some extra celery and carrots, and it’s perfect for using on Thanksgiving next year.
It’s tricky needing turkey broth on Thanksgiving…but not having the carcass until the day after, but this way, you’re able to can it ahead and have it when you need it.
Canning Recipe Lists
Looking for more canning ideas?