How to Separate Two Stuck Cooking Pots

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Things You'll Need

  • Sink stopper

  • Ice cubes

  • Rubber dishwashing gloves


The heat from the hot water in the sink will cause the lower pot to expand. The ice cubes in the upper pot will cause the metal to contract. The combination of the two should cause an effortless separation.


Do not attempt to separate the cooking pots without wearing the rubber gloves. Hot water can scald your skin, causing serious burns.

Metal expands when hot.

Stainless steel pots and pans are a common cooking staple in most households. The best thing about stainless steel is that it is lightweight, and in many cases, easy to clean when coated. What you might not realize is that when you cook with your favorite pots, the heat makes the metal expand. If you are in the habit of piling your pots inside of one another after cooking, you might find one day that the pots are stuck together. Sometimes, all the twisting, turning, pulling and banging is simply not enough to separate two stuck cooking pots. The solution is temperature change.

Step 1

Place the stopper in your kitchen sink. Place the stuck cooking pots in the sink.

Step 2

Fill your sink with hot water, covering the bottom pot just below the brim. Do not fill the inside of the upper pot with the hot water.

Step 3

Place a handful of ice cubes in the bottom of the upper pot. Allow the stuck pots to remain in the sink for 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 4

Slip on a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves. Twist the stuck pots in opposite directions to separate. The stuck cooking pots should separate with little effort.

references & resources

Jonae Fredericks

Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.