Help! Why Did This Lid Fuse to the Pan?

published May 3, 2011
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

A friend of ours was casually going about the business of making breakfast recently and grabbed the lid from another pan to cover some veggies while they steamed. When he went back to check on his breakfast, disaster! The stainless steel lid had fused to the non-stick pan! Has this ever happened to you?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Our friend tried letting the pan cool – nothing. Then he tried freezing the pan, thinking that might make the points of fusion more brittle – still no luck. Finally, he tried prying the lid off with a screwdriver and succeeded only in gouging the softer metal of the nonstick pan.

Another thought we had was that the pan and lid might contract (and expand) at different rates when heated and cooled. But if this were the case, it seems like cooling the pan would have solved the problem. We’re really at a loss with this one.

Besides the tragedy of losing his tasty breakfast, it’s looking like our friend is also going to need to replace his pan and lid!

Ever had something like this happen to you? Any ideas for getting the lid un-stuck?

UPDATE! We got in touch with a representative from Calphalon to see if they’d ever heard of this phenomenon, and it turns out to be more common than we thought! Those of you who said that a vacuum is created between the pan and the lid are totally right. Calphalon says that this can actually happen between any pan and lid of any material, not just nonstick and stainless steel. They don’t have a recommended method for un-sticking the lid, but do mention that the pressure will sometimes release on its own over time.


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(Images with permission of Adam Hilliker)