How to Get Burnt Stuff off of a Pan

Removing burnt food from cooking or baking pans requires a lot of elbow grease.
Removing burnt food from cooking or baking pans requires a lot of elbow grease. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

It happens all too often -- you decide to whip up something special for dinner, get distracted, leaving your dinner burnt, as well as your pan. Though takeout can fill-in for dinner, the burnt-on food can make the pan seem like a total loss. You don't need a miracle, though to restore your pan to cook another day -- all you need are your normal cleaning supplies and a few common items from your pantry.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm water
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Scouring pad
  • Rubber stopper

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Mix a cup of warm water and liquid dishwashing soap. Pour the mixture in the pan and let it soak for a few hours. Soak the pan overnight. The next day, try scrubbing the soaped pan with a scouring pad.

Stop up your kitchen sink with the rubber stopper and run some warm water into the sink if the burnt food is persistent and won’t budge. Pour 3 tbsp. of salt into the water. Put the pan in the water and let it soak for a few more hours.

Soak a piece of cloth in vinegar. Rub the soaked cloth on the burnt-on food. Let the pan sit for a few hours before washing it again using dish detergent, warm water and a scouring pad.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also try placing your pan in the freezer for a few hours and once the burnt stuff is frozen, you can try chipping it off with a non-abrasive tool such as a wooden spoon.
  • If you just took your pan off of a hot burner, don't pour cold water into the pan because you might damage it.


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