How to Remove Burnt Food From Pots


Even a careful cook will sometimes burn food in a pot, but rather than disposing of the pot you can salvage it by scrubbing away the burnt parts. There are several techniques that can be employed to handle these little culinary disasters, and each type of pot or pan will respond best to a different approach. Before leaping in with one solution, read over the others to find out which works best for your pots and pans.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Steel wool
  • Sponge
  • Paper towel
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Vinegar

For Most Pots and Pans

  • Fill pot or pan with an inch of water and several drops of dish soap.

  • Put pot or pan on stove and bring to a boil. Let boil for one to three minutes.

  • Pour out boiling water and then rinse with cold water until pot or pan is cool to the touch.

  • Scrub using steel wool. For nonstick pans, use a sponge, instead, as the steel wool will scratch the nonstick lining.

Cast Iron

  • Fill pot with an inch of water. Do not add dish soap, as the soap will remove the cast iron's oil coat.

  • Put on stove and bring water to boil. Let boil for one to three minutes.

  • Pour out boiling water and rinse in cold water until the cast iron is cool to the touch.

  • Scrub with a sponge. If the burnt food is still stuck, use steel wool.

  • Dry pan and then coat with 1/4 tsp. of vegetable oil. Pour into pan and then spread with fingers or a paper towel.

Copper Pots and Pans

  • Sprinkle the burn with salt and vinegar and then let soak for an hour.

  • Scrub with sponge or steel wool.

  • Rinse out with water.

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  • Photo Credit frying pan - closeup image by askthegeek from
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