How to Clean a Burnt Pan to Make it Look New

How to Clean a Burnt Pan to Make it Look New

No matter how much you try to avoid it – it’s bound to happen. You look away for a second in the kitchen and bam, your best pan is scorched and completely burnt. Or maybe you left the stove on and left the house. If you have just returned home to a coal-black burnt mess of a pot – don’t panic. 

Here are the most effective and inventive ways to deal with the kitchen-disaster of burnt utensils. 

So if you find yourself facing any of these predicaments, then keep reading to find the best solutions:

  • Burnt stainless steel pan
  • Aluminium pan with a burnt surface 
  • Burnt cast iron pan
  • Scorched pots
  • Burnt copper pots
  • Kitchen accidents with non-stick pans
  • Burnt grease in frying pans 

Cleaning A Burnt Steel Pan With Baking Soda

Sometimes, you just can’t avoid it. You’re making curry or spaghetti in a steel pan, and you leave it on high heat for too long. You now end up with a burnt mess of pasta, and a burnt mess of a pan. 

Baking soda is an extremely versatile and multi-use chemical available in any kitchen. In addition to all its health benefits, it makes for an excellent pan cleaner too. 

Cleaning out the pan does not have to involve hard physical labor if you just follow these simple steps. Here’s how to clean a scorched pan in the easiest possible way:

What do you need?

  • Vinegar (1 cup)
  • Baking soda (3 tablespoons)
  • Water (2 cups)
  • Utensil scrub 

What to do?

  1. Fill the pan with water till all the burnt part is submerged.
  2. Add the vinegar in the pan. 
  3. Put the pan back on the stove and bring it to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat when the water starts bubbling. 
  5. Add the baking soda to the pan and let it react with the vinegar. 
  6. Once the fizzing stops, use a utensil scrub to scrape out the burnt bits from the bottom. 

This method is highly effective and easily softens the burnt parts on the pan. A little scrubbing is all it takes to restore your steel pan to its original form. 

For more stubborn stains:

If you still have remaining marks on the pan after scrubbing, make a paste of baking soda and 4-5 drops of water and apply it to the specific areas. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes. 

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Scrub again, and rinse off with water. This will get rid of even the most difficult stains. 

How To Clean A Burnt Pan With Salt?

Another home remedy to get a burnt pan clean quickly is using good ol’ salt. Surprised? Keep reading to know how you can use regular table salt to deal with even the most badly burnt pans.

What do you need?

  • Salt (½ cup)
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent 
  • Lemon (2 halves)
  • Scrub

What to do? 

  1. Remove as much of the burnt food from the pot or pan as you can with a spoon or knife. 
  2. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt onto the scorch marks till they are completely coated.
  3. Use half of a lemon to massage the salt into the bottom of the pan. 
  4. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. 
  5. Scrub off gently with warm water and liquid dishwashing soap. 

This method is ideal for thick copper pans or burnt cast iron grill pans. The combination of the acid in lemon juice and salt attacks the burnt food and breaks it down. This makes it easy to scrub away with soap and water. 

For Milder Stains

If you have light burn marks on material like aluminum, you don’t need to subject the utensil to heavy-duty cleaning solutions. 

Here is a simple way to clean burnt pots or pans using just club soda:

  1. When the pot is still warm, pour a cup of club soda into it so that it covers the bottom fully. 
  2. Let it sit and bubble away for 10-15 minutes. 
  3. The carbonation property of the soda loosens the burn marks on the surface. 
  4. Scrub gently and rinse off with cold water. 

You can trust this method to work for burnt milk or soup stains in a pot.

Clean Burnt Non-Stick Pans

If you have accidentally burnt the surface of a non-stick pan, using abrasive methods like steel scrubs is definitely not a wise idea. You need to find a way to clean out the gunk, without destroying any of the non-stick coatings. 

Fortunately, we know just the trick to make your pan good as new. 

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What to do?

  1. Gently scrape away as much of the burnt food as possible with a spatula.
  2. Chop up 2-3 lemons into thin slices and put them into the pan. 
  3. Pour in 2 cups of water, making sure that all the lemon slices are submerged. 
  4. Put the pan back on the stove and bring the water to a boil. 
  5. Let it bubble for 5 minutes and then remove it from the heat. 
  6. Once it cools, throw away lemon slices and rinse the pan with soapy water. 

The combination of citric acid and heat is great for loosening the burnt food on the surface, and with a little bit of dishwashing soap, it comes off super easily. 

You should use this method for any delicate vessels that you cannot scrub harshly. 

For Burnt Grease In Utensils

If you ever have ever gotten grease stains in your pans, you know that it is an absolute nightmare to deal with. If you have burnt grease stains – you’re better off just throwing the pan away, right?


With these simple steps, you can salvage all those pots and pans, and save yourself a ton of stress and hassle. Here’s how you can knock off that disgusting burnt grease from your pan’s bottom.  

What do you need?

  • Dry dishwasher tablets (1-2 tablets) 
  • Warm water (2-3 cups)
  • Clean paper towels 

What to do?

  1. Pour one cup of warm water into the pan such that all the grease is submerged. 
  2. Scrub at all the burnt areas with a dishwasher tablet soap till the tablet dissolves completely. 
  3. Soak up the loosened oil and grease with a clean paper towel. 
  4. Repeat 2-3 times till all the grease is wiped away.
  5. Rinse with warm soapy water. 

That’s how you send that burnt oil off your steel pans, deep-fryers, and metal pots. So don’t worry if you burnt that batch of fries – you always have dishwater tablets to the rescue.

For Burn Marks Outside The Pan 

Little kitchen accidents happen all the time – the pot boils over and you are left with a bunch of grime and burnt food on the outside of the pot. What do you do now?

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Follow this super inventive method to clean the outside surface of your pan’s bottom. 

What do you need?

  • Aluminium foil 
  • Baking soda 
  • Warm water 
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent 

What to do?

  1. Prepare a paste of the baking soda with a few drops of water. 
  2. Apply this paste all over the burnt areas and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Crumple the aluminium foil to make a ball-like scrub.
  4. Use the ball of foil to scrub at the paste-covered areas till the burnt bits are scraped away. 
  5. Finally clean with dishwashing soap, and rinse with warm water.

Bonus Tip: Use a Fabric Softener Sheet

I was astonished that this completely regular household item works wonders to clean burnt pots and pans. 

Here’s what you need:

  • Dryer sheet (fabric softener sheets)
  • Warm  water 
  • Dishwashing detergent 

What to do?

  1. Fill warm water in the burnt pot or pan. 
  2. Press a fabric softener sheet into it, so that it is in direct contact with the burnt surface. 
  3. Let it sit for 2-3 hours.
  4. Wipe away the burn marks and rinse with warm soapy water.

As unlikely as this method is, dryer sheets are super effective for dissolving away the burnt oil and food marks from utensils. All it takes is some patience – but the results are definitely worth it. 

Tip 2: Using professional cleaners

If you have a massive burnt pot situation, you might want to invest in a commercial cookware cleaner. These contain a mixture of acids (most commonly oxalic acid) and fine abrasive particles that can remove even the most stubborn burnt grease or food marks from pots and pans. 

Scrub in the cleaning solution for 3-5 minutes. Rinse it with cold water, and your pan is good as new.

In conclusion 

There are multiple home quick-fixes to clean burnt utensils. All you need is some resourcefulness and patience, and you would be able to salvage your favorite pots and pans. 

So don’t be afraid of making mistakes in the kitchen – cook to your heart’s content. Don’t let that burnt pot on the stove put you off. 

Read here: How to Clean and Shine Stainless Steel Appliances