Kitchen Tip: How to Open a Jar with a Tight Lid

A couple weeks ago I found myself in a bit of a conundrum. I was making those Spinach, Ricotta and Tomato Calzones for dinner and needed sun-dried tomatoes. That sun-dried tomatoes that I had in the fridge were almost gone, so I had to open a new jar – but the lid would NOT come off. AND Eric was out of town, so I didn’t have a strong guy to do it for me.

First I tried one of those rubber grippers. That didn’t work. The lid didn’t even budge. I was starting to get a little irritated and my hand had a huge cramp in it. I put the jar down and walked away for a while. It was the tightest lid I had ever encountered. All the trying had left deep marks from the lid in my hand.

Then I remembered a few tricks for opening jars with too tight lids that I learned years ago. I had completely forgotten since I can almost always open the jar, or have Eric there to do it for me.

how to open a jar with a difficult lid

Kitchen Tip: 5 Ways to Open a Jar with a Tight Lid

I always try the jar grippers first because usually that does it for me. Sometimes you might need to try another trick if the vacuum is especially strong and stubborn.

If you don’t have a rubber gripper or opener, try wearing rubber gloves, such as kitchen cleaning gloves, on both hands. Hold one hand on the bottom, the other on the top and twist.

1. With a Butter Knife – Using a butter knife, give the end of the jar’s rim a few gently whacks with the knife’s handle. Air bubbles created can help loosen the vacuum seal.

2. With a Spoon – Wedge the tip of the spoon in the underside of the lid in between the jar and it’s lid. Wiggle it back and forth to try to break the seal. Do this all the way around the lide. Then, try to open the jar with your hands again.

3. With Hot Water – Hold the lid under running hot water for a minute or two. The hot water will warm the metal of the lid, causing it to expand which will make it easier to open.

4. With the Palm of your Hand – Hold the jar at a 45 degree angle in one hand. With the other hand, smack the bottom of the jar. Don’t use too much force that you loose your grip, just enough to create air bubbles that will help loosen the vacuum.

5. With a Few Bumps – Gently tap the bottom of the jar (hold it at a 45 degree angle) on the counter or a cutting board, moving it all around in a circle as you tap. Just make sure you don’t tap too hard because you don’t want to break the jar.

chicken with sundried tomatoes

Fabulous Sun-Dried Tomato Recipes

Need some recipe inspiration? Here are some of my favorite recipes using sun-dried tomatoes.