How to Clean a Burnt Pan

Have you ever placed something on the stove and then walked away, became occupied with something else and burnt the pan? Or maybe you just forgot you left something on the stove and came back to a burnt pan. Or maybe you just left your best grill pan on too long or cooked something too hard on it and now it is burnt.

Well, first off, it’s a good thing you didn’t burn down the kitchen in the process and only ended up with a burnt pan. But now are wondering how to clean said burnt pan, is it even going to be worth the trouble? Is it even possible to clean the pan or should I just throw it away? Well don’t fret because there are plenty of different things you can try to clean the pan.
There are several methods to use on the pan, many different cleaner available to you at the local store and even a few items in your home already that will work even better that you never would have thought about.

In this article, we will teach you several different methods to use to clean that burnt pan sitting outside as well as show you some different cleaning supplies you have in your home now to get that puppy clean and back on the stove!

What to do first

Chances are when you burnt the pan you probably just put it outside and forgot about it until another day. This probably left plenty of black particles and burnt food in the pan that have almost become part of the pan at this point.
So, the first thing you want to do is try to get some of that off the bottom of the pan before anything else. Use a wooden spoon or wooden kitchen utensil to scrape out as much of the burnt food as possible. Make sure to use a wooden utensil because plastic is too weak and metal will ruin the pan forever with scraps, cuts and scratches that will be permanent. This could also be one of the mistakes that is ruining your non-stick pans as well.

After you get as much of the burnt food out that you can, the next step is the most logical. You will need to soak the pan. Fill the pan or pot with boiling hot water and plenty of dish soap. You can even fill the kitchen sink with hot water and dish soap to submerge and soak the pan over night. Once you have done that, tray and scrape out the remainder of the burnt food with a wooden utensil. Most likely this will get the burnt food out of the pan and possibly even clean the pan a bit. But most likely it will still have a burnt appearance. But no worry, move on to the next steps!

Put some elbow grease into it!

Next, you are going to want to use the old-fashioned method and scrub the pan. Make sure to use a scouring pad, scrubber sponge, Brillo pad or stainless-steel scrubber. The wire scrubbers will work the best. Make sure you use very hot water and the best dish soap you can find at best. Who knows, this may even clean the entire pan and you won’t have to resort to any crazy methods. But if you have burnt the pan really good, then you will most likely have to clean it with something a little more abrasive than just dish soap.

You can also try using some of the other cleaners you have in your kitchen or bathroom arsenal. Sometimes these cleaners will be able to remove even the toughest stains and burns on pans with little to no scrubbing. We have also heard that dishwasher tablets will also work pretty well when trying to clean the bottom of a burnt pan. Just make sure to read the label on the bottle to make sure it is safe to use on the type of pans surface. Sometimes some cleaners are not always acceptable to be used on different surfaces. It could cause a chemical reaction with the surface of the pan and you could ruin the pan forever.

Some of the best secret methods

For starters, there are few types of household items that will be able to finish the job for you. Some of these sound crazy, but trust us, they actually do work and will actually work on even tougher situations like rust and corrosion.

  • Vinegar – it works pretty well to clean a lot of different things. Most people will clean their oven with vinegar and baking soda. Or sometimes you will hear you should clean the microwave with vinegar. Try boiling the vinegar in the burnt pot and then maybe scrubbing with a scouring pad after to remove the burnt crust.
  • Baking soda – this is probably one of the best unknown cleaners out there and can be used on just about anything. It will also disinfect and remove odors from places like the fridge or freezer. Just make a paste from the baking soda with a little water and rub it generously on the burnt surface of the pan. You can let it sit for a while to let it set and then try scrubbing with a scouring pad and rinsing with hot water.
  • Lemons – these will probably work the best when trying to clean a burnt pan. The acid from the lemons is able to penetrate most anything. You need to make sure to use fresh lemons and not lemon juice from a bottle. You can rub them on the surface over and over and let them sit just like the other methods or you can place plenty of cut lemons in the pot with water and boil for 5-10 minutes then scrub with a scoring pad and rinse with hot water. At the very least, you will be left with a lemon scented pan.
  • Ketchupketchup and coco-cola have been a combination to remove rust from plenty of metal objects including on cars. Just rub the ketchup on the rust or burnt part of the pan, allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then pour the coca cola over the ketchup to rinse the rust or burnt away. You will need to rinse again after this with hot water.
  • Dryer sheets – some people will say that you should try using dryer sheets, hot water and dish soap to scrub the pan. We think this may be a myth as there is not much science to back it up, but hey you should probably try everything out when comes to cleaning the bottom of a burnt pan!

The last resort

If you have tried all of these methods then try going to the store to look for the heavy-duty cleaning supplies that will remove just about anything. Some of these cleaners can be very expensive but they will work or your money back most of the time. If that fails, then I guess it is time to throw the pot out, look in to buying a new one and never leave it on the stove unattended again!


So, whatever it is you end up doing to clean the burnt pan, make sure you remember what you did because chances are you will probably burn another pan in the future or someone you know will do the same and you will have the remedy for the situation.

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