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How to Clean Burnt Pots & Pans

Don't spend ages scrubbing away at burnt saucepans – discover our tips and tricks for removing stubborn food and grease stains here.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

How to Clean Burnt Pots & Pans

It’s not just novice chefs who burn pans – it happens to the best of us. All it takes is one small distraction while you’ve got a pan of pasta on the go and you’re left with a cremated mess burnt-on to your favourite cookware. There are so many people who would simply throw the pan away and buy another, but why waste money? These people clearly don’t know how to clean burnt pots and pans, stainless steel or otherwise – it’s actually very easy. In just five steps, you can have a shiny pot that promises never to reveal your embarrassing cooking disasters.

Soaking your burnt saucepans will help to loosen and remove stains – especially if you use a product like Jif Cream, which is designed to remove grease and burnt-on food without the need for scrubbing. Don’t forget to check to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions beforehand, as some materials may require specialist care.

How to Clean Burnt Saucepans – Tip 1

Step 1: Soak in Hot Water

Before you even think about tackling the burnt on marks, the very first thing you’ll need to do to clean a burnt pot is simply soak the pan in hot water. The easiest way to do this is just to boil the kettle and carefully pour the water in until it covers the problem area. You may need to use two kettles of water if you’ve burnt quite high up the sides of the pan. Now, soaking in hot water isn’t going to make any difference to the burnt on marks. What this does is loosen any burnt on food, and helps to lift pieces of food off the bottom of the pot. You’ll then be able to drain the water and scoop out any loose pieces, which will make the cleaning process so much simpler. You can also add dishwashing detergent to the hot water. Let the pan soak for at least an hour, or overnight.

Step 2: Use the Right Products

Cleaning burnt pots is much easier when you use a good quality cleaning product, like Jif Cream or a good washing up liquid. Simply follow the directions on the label. If you’ve soaked the pan already, you’ll find that it’s much easier to remove the burnt-on marks.

clean burnt saucepans

Step 3: Apply Paste to Stubborn Marks

While step 2 is enough to remove the majority of the marks, you may find some stubborn stains remain. If you want to know how to clean burnt pans with stuck on grease, here’s a great trick – baking soda. Make up a paste consisting of baking soda and cold water. Add a small amount of water to the baking soda until it’s thick and grainy – you don’t want it to be runny. Apply the paste to the badly burnt marks, and leave for an hour or two. Baking soda is an excellent household cleaner, and will work wonders on those tricky, hard-to-remove stains that you were starting to think would never come off.

Step 4: Scrub & Wipe

If you want to know how to clean burnt pots and pans, there is one very important thing to remember – don’t go near it with steel wool or a wire scourer. In fact, it’s best not to even mention the words ‘steel wool’ around a stainless steel pot in case it hears you! Steel wool is the enemy of high quality stainless steel, so when you’re scrubbing the baking soda paste off the stubborn marks, it’s much better to use a soft sponge or cloth, especially as the baking soda itself is a mild abrasive – you don’t want to aggravate the metal further. For other types of pot, or for pots that are old and going to be disposed of soon anyway, it’s okay to use steel wool. Scrubbing is a much quicker way of getting the last of the burnt marks off, but wiping is gentler and will protect your stainless steel.

Step 5: Wash as Normal

That’s pretty much all there is to cleaning burnt pots, but you may like to add this one final step –washing your pot as normal. If your pan normally goes in the dishwasher, then that’s fine. All it really needs is a quick once-over after the wash just to make sure that ant remnants are completely gone.

  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands when cleaning your pan or pot.

  • Soak in hot water to help shift stuck-on food.

  • Never use steel wool or a wire scourer to scrub a stainless steel pan as this can damage the metal.

Originally published