WFMW: The Boiling Pot

“A watched pot never boils,” the saying goes.

But in our house, the saying is, “An unwatched pot always boils over.”


It never fails, it doesn’t matter if I’m boiling eggs (a favorite snack in our house), potatoes or noodles, the pot usually boils over. I get distracted, answer the phone, help with homework, exercise (kidding) and I forget I’ve got water on the stove.

I heard about this tip over the holidays and I put it to the test: place a wooden spoon over the pot and the water won’t boil over.

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It works!

*UPDATED* While this tip did work for me, please do not leave boiling water unattended. Apparently, there are many naysayers it has NOT worked for. Some say it works for pasta, not rice, etc. Boil carefully, people. And if you find out HOW and WHY this *sometimes* works, there’s a lot of people who want to know!

What works for you?


  1. 1


    What a GREAT idea! I would have never thought about putting the spoon on top or that it would work.

    And by the way, thank you so much for hosting Works for Me Wednesday’s. I love it!

  2. 10


    You have got to be kidding me. lol. I would have never guessed this – how cool; I’m definitely going to try it – it makes no sense to me, but heck, it’s definitely worth a try.

  3. 11


    Happy Wednesday morning to you! I linked up my Easy Lace Shirt, which is rather cute if I might add. It’s a great project for a beginner sewer-or someone who can handle themselves behind the machine. Thanks for hosting the party once again. Have a great week!

  4. 12


    OK, I want to know why this works. Seems Mommy will be homeschooled today because I am going to start a googlefest to figure this out. However, I am also going to just do it. It’s not uncommon for one of my sons to need something just as an item starts to boil and I can’t turn it down immediately as evidenced by the “sssstttt” sound we hear often with supper.

  5. 19


    Once I put a pot of water on to boil and forgot. While it was boiling I ran out to the garage, to get something out of our freezer, and my 2 year old closed the door on me. SO he was locked in the house, with a pot of boiling water on the stove. Thankfully, a man was walking up the street at that moment and let me use his cell phone, the fire dept. was there is less than 2 minutes! They used a ladder to get to a 2nd story window that was open and in the end, everything was fine!

  6. 21


    I heard this tip a long time ago and tried it. Just as a side note – it does not work every time. For instance, it seemed to work okay with pasta for me, but not rice. No idea why.

    Just wanted to give a heads up that the spoon isn’t a fix all and the pot shouldn’t be left alone totally. You might find a bit mess like I did.

  7. 23


    I have seen this trick, too. I think it probably has something to do with the bubbles breaking as they hit the spoon…so I would think it would mostly work with anything that is starchy and creates the “foamy bubbles” and would only be effective for a short time. I would think it would not be as effective in the case of a very full pot at a big ol’ rolling boil. Let’s boil careful out there! :)

  8. 26


    I believe it has to do with the wooden spoon absorbing some of the heat from the metal pot. However, it won’t work if the water level is above a certain point.

  9. 27

    Carla Oates says

    Have you ever tried putting a little olive oil in the boiling water? I’ve tried it several times now when boiling water for potatoes or pasta and haven’t boiled over since…and I very often DID boil over before! Thanks for sharing these tips!

  10. 28


    Oooooh I will have to try this out. When I make mac & cheese the water boils over every time, so I would love to prevent that. Thanks for sharing!

  11. 29


    I’ll have to give that a try! Just found your blog by way of a holy experience, and I’m glad I did. I love the idea of Works for me Wednesday. I’ll try to remember to play along next week.

  12. 30


    I’ll have to try the wooden spoon. What has worked for me up to now is a timer. I set it for 5 or 6 minutes to remind me to check and see if the water is boiling yet and then reset it for the length of time it needs to boil or simmer.

  13. 31


    I found a nifty little item in the kitchen section at Bed Bath and Beyond. It is called a Pot Watcher. A little ceramic disc you put in the pot while cooking rice and/or pasta. Keeps it from boiling over every time! Runs about $4. (and unless you accidently run the disposal with a pot watcher inside of it, it should last a very long time.) I also tie one onto the ribbon of every bridal shower gift I give!

  14. 32


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