It's a fairly common thing to do, but setting a hot pan lid with beads of moisture from steam on the slick surface of a kitchen countertop can cause it to clamp down to the granite. A pot lid stuck in a vacuum seal on the countertop can be annoying, but it isn't difficult to resolve. There are a few ways to quickly and easily break the vacuum seal that is causing it to adhere so firmly to the countertop.
This is a temporary problem at best, so don't go after the stuck lid with aggressive techniques, which can create bigger problems for the smooth granite kitchen counter. If the pan lid is stuck on the oven or counter, then it may need a quick release to break the seal that is trapping the top to the surface.
Damage From a Stuck Pot
A lid stuck on the counter is bothersome, but it more than likely won't damage the surface of the countertop. However, the techniques you use to pry the stuck lid from the counter can cause more harm than good in this situation.
Don't be too aggressive with pulling, shaking or moving the pot lid if it won't budge with gentle lifting. Using sharp objects to dig around the sides can damage the countertop, so don't attack the stuck lid with too much force. Blunt objects, such as a spatula or butter knife, can actually gouge the pan lid.
Why Pan Lids Get Stuck
Negative pressure creates suction. The smooth surface of a granite kitchen countertop creates a perfect surface for the concaved shape of a hot pan lid to get sucked down to.
The hot pan lid creates a hot spot on the counter and the air is trapped between the lid and the counter. Air condenses as it cools and occupies less space under the dome of the lid, according to Kitchen Craft Cookware. This creates a vacuum between the cooling pot lid and the room temperature countertop.
Lid Stuck Due to Food
A pan lid that is adhered to the countertop due to grease, oily sauce or sticky food can be removed with warm towels and patience. Soak a dish towel in hot water and wring it out. Place the steaming towel around the base of the lid where it meets the countertop.
Repeat this process until the grease oozes from the base of the lid or food is pliable. Use the tip of a knife to gently pry the lid from the counter as the food-based adhesion releases the lid from the granite.
Lid Stuck on Counter Removal
To break the vacuum seal between the granite countertop and the lid, 360 Cookware suggests soaking a kitchen towel in hot water and placing it over the lid. The heat from the towel will heat up the cooled air trapped beneath the lid and allow it to be removed from the slick granite surface.
To release the pan lid, air needs to be introduced into the pocket between the two objects. If you can twist it to the edge of the countertop, the vacuum seal will be released. If it remains firmly adhered to the granite kitchen countertop, you may need to remove the handle of the lid. This will allow air to enter into the pocket of cool air that has formed between the lid and smooth counter surface.
The tip of a sharp knife can be slid gently between the lid and the countertop. Use slow movements with the tip of the knife as parallel as possible to the countertop as you to try to gently work around the rim of the pan to break the vacuum seal.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.