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7 Tricks for Opening a Stubborn Jar

Most people are familiar with the struggle of trying to open a jar when it really, really doesn't want to open. Luckily, there are plenty of tricks that we put together  to avoid this frustration, allowing you to open even the most stubborn jar. With these tips, you'll never have to waste another minute fruitlessly banging a jar on the counter as your hunger and frustration builds.

Get a Better Grip

Man Struggling To Open Bottle As Students Prepare Ingredients For Dish In Kitchen Cookery Class

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A stubborn jar lid can often be encouraged to open if you can get a better grip on it using a dish towel, paper towel, a silicone pad, or rubber glove. Just wrap the jar in the pad or towel and twist as hard as you can! 

Turn it Upside Down

If getting a better grip doesn't do the trick, you'll need to move on to another method. One tip is trying to pop the vacuum seal on a stuck jar by turning it upside down and giving the bottom of the jar a few good whacks. 

Use a Bottle Opener

You can sometimes break the seal with a bottle opener by pulling the lid away from the jar. If your jar is roughly the same thickness as a bottle edge, a bottle opener should fit well enough to break the seal and open your jar.

Use a Knife to Break the Seal

Person opening jar with pickled tomatoes

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My personal favorite method is using a knife to break the seal of the jar. I've found this trick to be effective no matter how stuck the jar is. Turn the jar over and place it on the counter. Put the thin part of a butter knife in between the jar's edge and the lid and wiggle it around. If you press against the lid with the knife, you should feel a release of pressure, which is when you'll know that the seal is broken. Flip it back over and open the jar! This can also work if you keep the jar right side up, but I've found it most successful when upside down.

Hit the Edge of the Lid

Lightly hitting the edge of the lid with a butter knife or wooden spoon also sometimes helps to break the vacuum seal. Hit it a few times in a couple different places on the lid for good measure, and then see if it budges. If not, try again, or move on to another method for opening a stuck jar.

Use Hot Water

Putting the lid of the jar under hot water or at least warm water can also often encourage the stuck jar to pop open. Just be sure to rotate the jar so all sides of the lid get wet, and the metal should expand and loosen up the lid a bit to encourage the jar to open.

Knock the Jar on the Counter

If using other tools or water to try to open the stuck jar doesn't work, you can try gently knocking the lid against an object like your kitchen countertop at a 45-degree angle. You should absolutely use caution with this method so as to not dent a jar or break the glass jar.

This post was originally published on January 27, 2021.

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