I need help! I just finished making sauerkraut and was using a mason jar inside of a larger mason jar to weigh down the cabbage. Now, I can't get the inner mason jar out.

I've tried soap around the rim of the jars.

Any suggestions?

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  • 2
    Try putting ice in the inner jar and put the outer jar in hot water.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 6:21
  • 1
    I should have specified that the inner jar is full of water and we can't take off the lid. We tried placing ice on top of the inner jar to no avail.
    – jmdg125
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 6:23
  • 1
    Can you puncture the lid of the inner jar? Those insets are disposable, right?
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 6:53
  • 2
    Despite the mention of making sauerkraut, I'm not sure that this is a cookery question...! Anyway, try this. Stand the outer jar upside down in the sink and pour boiling water in to cover the neck of the outer jar. If that fails, get a hammer...
    – Carl H
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 12:09
  • 3
    How did you get the sauerkraut out?!
    – SourDoh
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 15:48

6 Answers 6


Ok, first you had me wondering "How did he get the small jar inside?", but having kids I quickly realized this is a futile question. (For those w/o children, read Douglas Adams...)

The standard procedure for detaching two jars / glasses that are stuck, would be putting ice cubes in the inner one and then placing the outer one in hot water. But you said you can't open the inner one which is full of water?

Well, ice is frozen water. So freeze the entire contraption until you have one large ice cube in the inner jar. Proceed as usual.

Your inner jar might break due to expanding ice or the outer due to thermal shock, but currently you have two unusuable jars, after this, you might have at least one good one...

  • 3
    Chilling might be enough to avoid the possibility of the middle jar bursting from freezing (as someone who had a water line freeze not 2 weeks ago) ... and then put the whole thing in hot (but not boiling) water.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 21:23

Whelp - I know you all have been patiently awaiting the outcome of this puzzler.

I ended up freezing the entire thing as suggested by @Stephie. This didn't quite work - the inner jar still wouldn't come out.

So then I tried sticking the cold contraption inside of some warm water (off the boil for 10 minutes), which split the large outer jar in half.

So, I still have the small jar in perfect shape - but the large jar ended up dying a slow death. Don't know if this really constitutes an answer, but it should at least serve as a lesson for the next sauerkrauter using a similar mason jar method...choose your jar size wisely! Thanks everyone.

  • 1
    I'd suggest getting some Pickle Pebbles or something similar, they are much better for weighing down sauerkraut and don't get stuck. I learned as much after I also broke a big jar trying to separate it from a smaller jar that had gotten stuck in the mouth. At least Mason jars are cheap.
    – Dan C
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 17:01

Ball jars are not exactly round. Try rotating/turning the inner jar so it's positioned differently in relation to the outer jar.

Yes, you could puncture the lid. You should never re-use the lid. Keep the ring. Throw the liner (lid) away after one use.

If you happen to have what's called a spring hook, you could hook that under the outer edge off the liner and pull off the lid.

You could also take a hammer and pound a screw so it pierces the lid. Then screw it in a bit further so it grabs the lid. That will help get a good grip on the lid and pull it out by yanking on the screw. The bigger the screw, the better to grab hold of.

  • Never mind. Now I see you solved it...sort of.
    – user36802
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 14:46
  • Still a worthy answer. Remember, we answer questions for all potential users, not only the one that asks the question, so a future visitor with the same question may find your solution very helpful. :)
    – Catija
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 16:59

Mine got stuck like that too. All i did was pour a mixture of oil and soap around the small jar (inside the big jar) and it slid out. :)


I've had a canning jar stuck inside another jar multiple times, how it happens is beyond me, its almost like I turn my back and the jar jumps inside of the other one. I've tried everything and the trick to getting it out is spray coconut oil, if you love your jars you'll buy it.

If your stuck jar has a lid on it, take a thin dry washcloth, slide it by the side of the stuck jar this will keep it from moving and put your fingers in there and twist the lid off, requires finger muscles. once the lid is off, heavy spray the coconut oil, (maybe any spray oil will work, I don't know), on the inside of the rim of the jar (the one not stuck) also spray the lid, heck just spray it all and pull the lid out, trust me it slips right on out, and then spray a little more if you need to and pull the stuck jar out.

If your scenario happens to be a jar that is lodged in the jar, meaning halfway in halfway out, take a washcloth and lay it down in the bottom of your sink, lay jar down with rim only on the drain part of sink make like a tender toddler with your jar, grab the stuck jar and lightly press down and spray inside of rim, of course, you have to stabilize the other part of the jar, it's tricky work but you can do it, it's not going to be much of a movement but that tiny bit of space will allow the spray to get in there properly so it can do its work; repeat all the way around the jar. Then pull the jar but pull more on one side versus the way you think it should come out, slowly the stuck jar will slide out of the jar.

I hope that makes sense, I'm not good at writing but I'm good at canning! MOST importantly, I hope it works.


I did this same thing, and came across this post, and successfully got it out without damaging either jar. I did same as OG poster - placed all in freezer so water in inside jar froze (obviously would need to be filled w/ water in first place, which mine was as I was also weighting down sauerkraut...). Removed from freezer, let sit at room temp a while, then placed the large jar upside down in some warm water with small jar pushed up by a spatula so it didn’t sit in the water (too hot water and you’ll bust it like OG, so let whole jar warm to room temp then do, small jar will still be cold w/ frozen water in it). Then after a little tweaking I could pop the small jar out and voila ! Good luck to all who do this in the future :)

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