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Easy way to remove a pan lid?

I need help getting my pan lids to release their seal. Here's what happens:

1. I place lid on hot pot
2. Pot cools
3. Lid seals tightly to pot
4. I need pry bar to remove lid

They will NOT come off. I can't move them at all, not even to spin them a little. I can pick up the entire pot by the lid's loop handle.

So far, I've placed the pan back on the heat, then waited for the lid to release. Which it does, with a very loud *bang* that scares the shit out of me. It sounds like an explosion in the kitchen. I know it's just air pressure forcing the seal to break, but still, it's scary as hell. I'm afraid the lid will fly off the pan, possibly spewing the contents as it does.

The photo shows why they seal so tightly, the flat lip seals right to a pot rim.

Are there easier ways? I can't run it under hot water for fear of losing the lid (and contents) or getting water in the pot. What else should I try?

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  1. You could drill a tiny hole in the lid near the lip, if your lids fit that tightly, they'll probably benefit from it during cooking anyway, as it'll prevent the lid rattling around when steam is trying to escape.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sirrith

      That was going to be my suggestion as well.

      When the pot is cooling add a spoon or something to provide a vent.

      1. re: MplsM ary

        <When the pot is cooling add a spoon or something to provide a vent.>

        Easy to do, thanks for the tip.

        Duffy

      2. re: Sirrith

        <You could drill a tiny hole in the lid near the lip>

        I'll have to pay attention and see if the lid rattles. I can't recall offhand. That's a good suggestion.

        Duffy

      3. I always slightly offset the lids on my pans when cooling so I haven't experienced this issue, but I can imagine how it would be rather disturbing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: autumm

          Disturbing indeed, autumn. The first time it happened, I was completely weirded out. It must have been a sight to see.... me, trying every way to lift the lid, instead picking up the pot every dame time.

        2. So this is something you're cooking uncovered and then, when done, you cover with the lid? That just seems darn weird. Is this with all your pots or just certain ones?

          1 Reply
          1. re: c oliver

            Hi cat,

            <So this is something you're cooking uncovered and then, when done, you cover with the lid?>

            Sometimes. A couple of weeks ago I dropped one onto a skillet that had some cooling breakfast sausage in it. First, I was tickled to see the lid was an absolutely perfect fit (loved that!), but not so happy when I tried to lift the lid.

            <Is this with all your pots or just certain ones?>

            It happens with any pan the lid fits. As the pan cools, contracting air pulls the lid tightly down.

            Duffy

          2. Snap a binder clip onto the lid to keep the cover slightly raised, or put ice cubes onto the lid to make it contract.

            4 Replies
              1. re: greygarious

                Ice cubes. That should gently break the seal and save my nerves. Grey, you're brilliant!

                Thanks,
                Duffy

                1. re: DuffyH

                  But, Duffy, those are all workarounds. The problem just seems weird. Why doesn't everyone have it?

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Hi cat,

                    I don't know. I'm special? I would think that cooks with All-Clad pans would have encountered this before. We're talking the same lid shape. My lids move around quite easily under most circumstances. It only seals tight (and not always) when I cover a hot pan and let it cool completely, right down to room temp. I think the last time was taco sauce. It simmers for 20-30 minutes, then cools before going into a squeeze bottle.

                    Vollrath has certainly brought new meaning to the term "tight-fitting lid".

                    Duffy

              2. Hi Duffy -

                A simple solution is at hand.

                It avoids one getting burned by steam as well.

                If your lid seals well on a pot or pan, simply SPIN THE LID before removing it. I was shown this trick at a Paris cooking school ages ago when steaming.

                That will break the seal or water vacuum, suction is then broken, and the lid should come off easier.

                This works for us and I will match any of our heavy, tight fitting Rösle lids to anything out there.

                One important note to add: Don't set that same hot wet lid down flat on your cooktop glass, as it may stick the same way there. That might result in cracking your cooktop glass.

                -R

                3 Replies
                1. re: SWISSAIRE

                  Hi Rob,

                  I have tried to spin the lid, but only after first trying to lift it. I haven't able to turn them at all. Not an inch.

                  Next time, I'll try spinning first. Thanks.

                  Duffy

                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                    Duffy couldn't have been clearer that the lids aren't spinnable:

                    "They will NOT come off. I can't move them at all, not even to spin them a little. I can pick up the entire pot by the lid's loop handle"

                    Sounds like quite a compliment to high quality design and production, however much of a nuisance it is!

                    1. re: Robin Joy

                      Hi Robin Joy -

                      Not quite as clear apparently, as a small facet of information was left out of the original post.

                      " I have tried to spin the lid, but only after first trying to lift it. "

                      Lifting the lid first, rather than spinning it first, will increase the suction on the lid, and the pressure required to lift the lid, or attempt to lift it.

                      Most of our round lids are heavy steel, but a few are glass. This technique works on both.