Separating Pots That Are Stuck Together

Category Dishes
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to separate pots that are stuck together before being able to cook. Check out these tips and tricks for Separating Pots That Are Stuck Together.


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June 10, 2015

This is foolproof technique.

1) Immerse the stuck vessels in water by adding weight into vessel, anything heavy.

2) After water goes into the lower vessel, heat it on a flame, dry heating.

3) The water in the lower vessel evaporates. The steam pushes the upper vessel.

4) The vessels are thus separated effortlessly without causing any damage to the dishes.

Source: Mother's experience.

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November 1, 2010

I had 2 pans that were stuck together. After trying everything I've heard of, I finally sprayed WD-40 into the sides of bottom pan, put them in freezer over-night, dropped them on concrete this morning, and VOILA! I have 2 pans again.


Wahoo! I had earlier tried putting ice in the top one and putting them on the stove on low, but it didn't work. So glad I have my favorite pans back again.

By Patsy from Hadley, MA

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Separating 2 pans that have become stuck together can seem like a daunting problem. But it's not.

Using either heat or cold on both pans is a total waste of time.

To separate them use the heat = expand/cold = contract theory in simple physics.

Put the plug in your kitchen sink and fill it with water you have heated on the stove to not quite boiling and only deep enough to come close to the rim of the lower pan. Then put ice water in the upper pan. The hot water will expand the lower pan and the ice water will contract the upper pan allowing them to separate easily and safely with no damage to either one.


By Cricket from Parkton, NC

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 20, 2016

I made a mistake and thought I had the double boiler pans, not so. Now they are vacuum sealed together. I got the bottom one boiling then dumped ice in it, that did not work, so I frozen it overnight, dumped boiling water in the top, that did not work. Finally I tried to slide a thin knife between them. Anyone have any hints for this?


March 21, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

For the boiling water/ice to work, the bottom would have to be hot (to expand) and the top cold (to contract). That is the only thing that I can think of, and I encourage you to try it again.


However, what I would do is fill the top pot with ice, and then set the bottom pot in a sink of very hot water. You have to make sure the two pots have different temps. If that doesn't work, I'm out of ideas!! Good luck!

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March 13, 2019

How do I remove a pizza pan stuck inside a stainless steel pot? It's really stuck.


March 13, 20190 found this helpful

If you can fit it in the freezer overnight, the metal should shrink a bit and they pop apart.


There is another method with hot water and ice cubes, but I would have to Google that to remember how it works. The first one usually works for me!

Hope it works for you.

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March 13, 20190 found this helpful

I was going to suggest freezing it, too! Try it, I think it will work

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March 13, 20190 found this helpful

Dip the pan in hot water, and at the same time put ice cubes in it. The pan should expand and the pizza pan should shrink

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 1, 2010

I moved over the weekend, and my children were very helpful in packing. However, when I unpacked my pots and pans, one of the children (possibly the one named "not me") had nested two of my pots and they have become stuck together.


I tried puttting cold water in the top one and dipping the bottom one in hot water, but they would not budge.

Does anyone else have any ideas? One of these pots belonged to my grandmother and it always makes me think of her when I cook with it.

Kelly in Virginia


Pots Stuck Together

Try putting ice and water in the top pot, and fill the sink with hot water, and set the outside pot in the hot water. After a few minutes the pots should come apart. (06/29/2005)


Pots Stuck Together

Kelly if you find out please let me know. I have the same problem. I tried all kinds of things. Vegetable oil around the rim, the same thing you tried with the hot water in one and ice water in another, and now I am going to try to put them both in the freezer like one reader suggested.

Will let you know if it works (04/17/2007)

By sandy

Pots Stuck Together

Got them unstuck. What I did was put them in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle. Immediately when I got them out I took the end of a butter knife and gently tapped the lip of the bottom pot. I tapped it in the area where the top pot was the furthest down in the bottom pot. Then I took 2 of those rubber square pads that you use to try to undo jar lids and slightly pulled (using the rubber pad for grip) and thank goodness it came undone.

Hope this works for you.

By sandy

Pots Stuck Together

It worked. Ice water in the top pot and I sat the bottom pot in a sink of hot water. They were apart within 3 minutes. (02/27/2008)

By Dana

Pots Stuck Together

I had the same problem but all of the above did not work to release the top pot. So in the middle of steaming sinks, pools of melted ice cubs, greasy with oil, I opted for brute force. Screw drivers, knifes and hammers. When I was about to give up and having thrown the whole apparatus on the floor I realized that a screwdriver, strategically balanced on the floor and connecting to the little outside lip of the top pot allowed me to push the bottom pan with all my weight out of the top one supported up by the screwdriver. (Be sure to place the screwdriver under the lip of the part of the pan most 'out' of the bottom pan and push down on the bottom pan where it is most sunken
Good luck my fellow panhandlers! (05/16/2008)

By Berkeley Potsticker

Pots Stuck Together

I tried just about everything. The two pots were evenly stuck all around. My daughter had used the bottom one for steaming ingredients in the top one, therefore there was water still in the bottom one. The fit was so tight that not a drop of water could seep out. I figured as long as there was water in the bottom pan I could put it on the stove over my gas burner. I filled the top pot with ice cubes and cold water. It made quite the explosion when they finally separated after 8 minutes over the heat. This was my last attempt before thowing out these pots. Hope it works for you as well. (12/23/2008)

By Chris

Pots Stuck Together

For over six months I had two pots stuck together. I filled my sink with soapy hot water just below the top of the bottom pot. I heated a third pot with water on the stove. After that water began to boil. I poured it in the sink. I began to pull the top pot up at different points where it would move. Eventually, I was able to lift the top pot completely up. (07/08/2010)

By Ethel Craig

Pots Stuck Together

First, fill the top pot entirely with ice cubes and just leave it overnight in the sink, does not require any water in the sink. In the morning wipe the water from the pot and pull by both handles. The top pot should POP off, just go around slowly while pulling them apart. Good luck Kelly, I just got mine unstuck yesterday morning. This really works! (08/11/2010)

By Kitty B.

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November 16, 2010

How do you separate two pots that were put together to form a double boiler?

Charlie from grantham, NH


Two Pots Stuck Together

Reheat the bottom pot and put icewater in the top pot while heated. They should pull right apart. (07/18/2006)

By Craig

Two Pots Stuck Together

not sure this would work but try putting them inthe freezer (07/19/2006)

By Diana

Two Pots Stuck Together

Just yesterday, I had that problem with my canners that I had stacked together to store for the year. I sat the bottom pot in the sink of very hot water and used the sprayer and spigot to put cold water in the top. They came right apart!!! If I had thought of that in the first place, I would have saved two fingernails and quite a bit of frustration. (07/19/2006)

By Margie Minard

Two Pots Stuck Together

Craig and Margie, that worked. Thanks so much I was really struggling with two large pots inside one another. Great! (10/30/2008)

By Millie

Two Pots Stuck Together

Thank you so much. I have tugged and pulled, broken two screwdrivers and put pans in hot water with ice in the top. None of that worked. I have been working on these two pans for over two years. I put ice in the top one and put the bottom one on a burner with low heat. Within two or three minutes, I heard a pop and I was able to get them apart. Now I can use them for my holiday cooking! (12/05/2008)

By Mary

Two Pots Stuck Together

Thank you for the tip. I tried the ice cubes in the top boiler and put the pot on the stove on low heat. It took a few minutes, but I was able to finally get them apart. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (12/20/2008)

By Bev

Two Pots Stuck Together

I was just curious about this as I had a friend that just a couple of days ago dodged a bullet. They had the same situation where the pots were stuck together and did the ice in the top, heat on the bottom. They did it wrong. The steam in the bottom caused such pressure that the top pot shot out and hit the ceiling. The pot was embedded in the dry wall and broke some of the ceiling joists. If you are going to try this, I would try the ice in the top and let it sit and then put the bottom in a tub of hot water, if this doesn't work, then I would be extremely careful, if that is even possible. Had someone been above the pot, I am pretty sure there would have been a severe injury if not death. Thanks for listening.


By Jackie

Two Pots Stuck Together

Yikes! Jackie's post turned me away from the method. I was attempting to free two 4-quart pots stuck together. Thanks! I'd tried cooking oil, etc., etc., until somebody suggested WD40! Worked like a charm! (Gotta wash the pots really well after that, though.) One problem was getting leverage on the side of the pot away from the handle to "walk" it loose.

Don't use a screwdriver or chisel! I used a treated 18" 2x2 scrap that happened to be cut at a 45 degree angle, plenty of strength to grip the pot rim and no scratches. Could even use a hammer on it without hurting the pot, but didn't have to with the WD40. Glad to have our pots back! (11/05/2010)

By Len Bowman

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