Oh No...Did I just ruin my favorite pan!?

About this Recipe

You're cooking or boiling something on the stove, and you get distracted. Only to start smelling burning and you notice that your pan has burned food on it now. It happens more than we'd like to admit, but it's happened at least once to all of us. Sometimes there's just so much going on in your kitchen or household that you get super distracted and forget what you have in the pan.

Not to worry though because there are some great cleaning tips to help you clean those pans, so they look as good as new. The best way to clean pots and pans varies from situation to situation and also varies from which type of pan you're using too. If you want to learn how to clean burned stainless steel pan, that's going to be different from cleaning a burned Teflon or cast iron pan.

Since most pans on the market are stainless steel, cast iron, or aluminum, just be aware that when you're cleaning a burnt pan, you can damage it if you use a scrubber that's too abrasive like steel wool. So the best way to clean pots and pans will be, to begin with, the most gentle method first and then if that doesn't work move onto the more intensive cleaning tips.

Generally how to clean a pan with burnt on food is to loosen up the stuck on gunk first of all. If you just try and scrape it off right away, chances are, it's not going to budge so make sure you soak it first. Use some hot water in the pan and keep it on the stove. Turn on the heat for pans without the nonstick coating and allow the water to boil and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Add in a little bit of dish soap to help release and loosen the burnt on food. Then use a flat wooden spoon to scrape the food away, so you don't scratch the pan.


Using the same cleaning tip as the one above, you can use vinegar instead of water. Just don't do this for a nonstick pan. You can also use a dryer sheet in the pan with some hot water and let all of that soak for several hours or overnight if you can. Then scrub it with a wooden spoon and a gentle nylon scrubbing sponge.

Baking soda also works wonders on a grimy and burnt pan too. The best way to clean pots and pans with natural cleaners like baking soda is to make sure you clean them right away.

Make a paste using water and some baking soda. You will then add the paste to the pan, and you can let it sit for an hour or so if you like. Then, scrub the layers of gunk off using your gentle scrubber and rinse with warm water. Of course, there's also the tried and true cleaning tip of letting the pan soak with a bit of your favorite dish soap and hot water in it overnight and then return to scrub it the next day. That one always works when in doubt, and then you can also apply any of the other cleaning tips from this post too.

If you're cleaning burnt food from a cast iron pan, you should probably look up specific directions for how to clean a cast iron pan since they usually require special treatment that differs from stainless steel and nonstick pans. Usually these pans can't be soaked since it takes away their seasoning which is very important for cooking with cast iron pans.



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