Troublesome pickle jars are a hungry person’s worst nightmare. Instead of giving up on your meal, try a few different jar opening methods! Whether the lid is too tightly sealed or stuck with food, any pickle jar can be opened with the right techniques.

Method 1
Method 1 of 4:

Adding Friction

  1. There are many factors that can contribute to a slippery jar lid, including condensation and moisturized hands. Fortunately, these jar lids can be easily unstuck by adding friction. This technique may not work on especially stubborn jars.[1]
  2. Drape a dish towel, sheet of plastic wrap, or a rubber glove over the lid. Alternatively, wrap the sides with a thick rubber band. These materials will improve your grip on the lid and help you pry the jar open.[2]
    • If the glass sides of the jar are slick as well, use another dish towel to help grip the jar.
  3. Grip the sides of the jar tightly with your non-dominant hand. Twist the lid in a counter-clockwise direction with your dominant hand. The jar should open easily. If not, the airtight seal on the jar will need to be broken with another method.
    • If you can’t open the jar alone, have a friend hold the sides while you twist the lid.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 4:

Breaking the Seal with a Spoon

  1. First, place the jar on a hard surface. Next, grasp the jar tightly in your non-dominant hand. If the jar has a lot of condensation on it, wrap the jar in a dish towel. The more secure your grip is, the easier it will be to insert the spoon.
  2. Use your dominant hand to force the tip of the spoon between the lip of the lid and the side of the jar. The side of the spoon that holds food should be facing away from the pickle jar. The swell of the spoon will angle the handle away from the pickle jar to create a lever.[3]
    • If you’re having trouble inserting the spoon, try a few different spots around the lid.
  3. Use the handle of the spoon like a lever, pressing it until you hear a gentle “swooshing” sound. This is the sound of the airtight seal between the jar and the lid releasing. Take care not to press the spoon too hard or you will bend the spoon.
  4. Now that the seal is broken the jar should be easy to open. If not, there may be food stuck under the lid. In this case, drape a rubber glove or dish towel over the lid to help force open the jar.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 4:

Making a Duct Tape Handle

  1. Find a roll of duct tape and pull out a long section. The section should be long enough to wrap halfway around the lid with about seven inches of extra tape. When in doubt, it’s better to measure out too much than too little.
    • You can buy duct tape at most grocery stores and hardware supply stores.
  2. Wrap the sticky side of the duct tape around the sides and top of the lid in a counter-clockwise direction. Wrap the duct tape halfway around the lid, letting the extra duct tape hang free. Press the sticky parts of the extra duct tape together to create an easy-to-grab duct tape handle.[4]
    • If your jar has a lot of condensation on it, wipe the jar dry before applying the duct tape.
  3. Grip the jar firmly in your non-dominant hand. Use your dominant hand to pull on the handle. The force of your pull should twist the jar lid in a counter-clockwise direction. Keep pulling until the lid pops off.
    • If the lid is especially stubborn, have a friend hold the jar while you pull the handle with both hands.
    • If the jar is slick, use a dishtowel to help you hold it steady.
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Method 4
Method 4 of 4:

Using Hot Water

  1. Run the hot water tap in your sink to let the water heat up. Alternatively, you can heat some water up in a kettle and pour it into a bowl. Make sure the water isn’t boiling hot! You should be able to touch the water safely. Otherwise, you may crack the glass of the jar.
  2. Hold the jar under the stream of hot water, focusing on the lid. If you’re using a bowl of hot water, set the jar upside-down in the bowl so that the lid is completely submerged.[5] Allow the jar to heat up for a few moments. The heat from the water will expand the metal of the lid and help separate it from the jar.[6]
    • Rotate the jar while running it under hot water to help distribute the heat.
  3. Hold the jar steady with your non-dominant hand. If the lid is too hot to comfortably touch, cover it with a dish towel to protect your hand. Using your dominant hand, grasp the lid firmly and twist in a counter-clockwise direction.
    • If the lid is still stuck, cover it with a rubber glove or a dish towel before trying again. This will help pry the lid loose by adding friction.
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About This Article

wikiHow Staff
Co-authored by:
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This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff. Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 334,752 times.
73 votes - 69%
Co-authors: 37
Updated: December 17, 2023
Views: 334,752
Categories: Food and Entertaining
Article SummaryX

If you’re having trouble opening a pickle jar, cover the lid with a dish towel, a sheet of plastic wrap, or anything that will add friction to the lid. You can also use a dish towel to help you grip the jar if the sides are slick. If the jar still won’t open, slide the tip of a spoon between the lip of the lid and the side of the jar. Push in on the spoon until you break the vacuum seal that is holding the lid in place. The jar should open easily after that. If you want to learn how to make a handle for the jar using duct tape, keep reading the article!

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