We've all been there -- struggling to open that jar of peanut butter or pasta sauce, twisting and twisting to no avail. So when your jar lid is stuck and you need the food inside to finish your dish, what can you do?

Here are some different methods to try when you need to open those pesky jars:

set of colorful rubber jar openers

Get A Grip

If you're struggling with a pesky jar and the lid isn't budging, the first thing you should try is getting a better grip to effectively twist it off. Use something as a gripper, whether it be a rubber glove or rubber jar openers. If you have a better grip on the lid, it's more likely to come off easily. All you have to do is simply place the grip-enhancing item over the lid, hold the jar steady and twist.

hot water coming out of sink faucet with steam

Use Hot Water

This method uses hot water to temporarily expand the jar's lid and break the stuck seal. There are two ways you can approach this method:

  • Heat up a small amount of water in the stove until it's close to a boil
  • Turn off the heat
  • Submerge the lid into the water without covering the jar in water
  • Hold the jar upside down in the water for one to two minutes or until you hear the seal pop

Another simpler way you can use hot water is by holding the lid under a running faucet until you hear the seal pop. Just be sure all the hot waterfalls on the lid and doesn't splash on you.

jar of peanut butter with spoon on blue wooden surface surrounded by peanuts

Push With A Spoon

If the lid won't budge, you might have to pry it open. The most recommended utensil is a spoon, but you can also use a butter knife, a bottle opener or any other slim, dull item you have lying around your kitchen. To pry the lid open:

  • Wedge the spoon or other preferred item beneath the lid in the groove between the lid and the jar
  • Push up and out repeatedly to loosen the lid
  • Rotate the jar and push up and out on other parts of the lid until you hear the seal pop
  • The lid should pop off with an easy twist
old man opening a jar of pickles
Alice Day/Shutterstock

Create The Water Hammer Effect

This is basically the tried and true method of "whacking the bottom until the lid pops off." And though it might be a bit brutish, it can work.

  • Hold the jar at a 45 degree angle, the lid facing down and the base facing up
  • Smack the bottom of the jar with your palm

This raises the pressure near the lid, creating a "water hammer" effect and breaking the seal.

pile of rubber bands on a table

Wrap It In Rubber Bands

This method is similar to using a gripping tool, but instead of a rubber jar opener you are using rubber bands to get a better handle on the lid. For this method, take a few thick rubber bands and wrap them around the lid. This gives you something to hold onto that isn't the smooth lid, and makes the jar easier to grip and open.

open empty jar with red lid sitting on wooden surface
Filip Olejowski/Shutterstock

Dent The Lid To Break The Seal

This method works to break the vacuum seal with a simple lid strike, which will allow the lid to pop right off.

  • With a spoon or other dull object, strike the side of the lid hard enough to make a small dent
  • Rotate the jar about an inch and continue striking the lid, making dents along the side until you hear a pop
  • The lid should then twist off
  • Be careful not to strike the jar itself
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