Clean Food Off A Burnt Pot Or Pan!


Melissa Maker shows us a quick way to clean off burnt food from pots and pans..

Tamara asked:

What’s the quickest way to clean uber dirty pots and pants?

What you need –

1) Dirty pot/pan/dish
2) A few drops of dish soap
3) 2 tablespoons baking soda
4) Water
5) Cleaning toothbrush/double-sided sponge

For stainless steel cookware:

To start, add a few drops of dish soap to the dirty pan.

Next, you’ll need to add 1 tablespoon of baking soda and fill the pan ¼ of the way with water.

Put the pan on high and let it simmer for a while.

Once the pot has simmered for a few minutes, pour the hot liquid down the drain.

BE CAREFUL! The pot will be very hot.

Add another tablespoon of baking soda to the pan and use either the cleaning toothbrush or the double-sided sponge to scrape away stuck on grease.

Rinse with water and enjoy you’re sparkly clean pan!

For a casserole dish:

Put it in the oven for a few minutes until it starts to simmer.

The heat will speed up the process of breaking down the soot.

For copper cookware:

Replace the baking soda with coarse salt and add to an inch of simmering water and soap.


  1. Ideas r good but mine is a little different. After blanching I had marks inside cause of me using a gas stove top. How do I go about cleaning marks that r in pan? Pan is stainless steel.

  2. In addition to having a little burnt residue remaining, it took me 30-45 minutes and three attempts to loose 95% of the burnt reside.

  3. Help! We’ve got a beautiful copper saute/fry pan that’s immaculate inside, but sadly, the exterior now has a build up of burned on food/grease, etc. I don’t want to use a scouring cleanser or just copper cleaner as the hard rubbing probably required will cause wear and scratches. Is there a solution I could apply and let just sit on the surface to magically dissolve the crud? How about oven cleaner on the copper surface??? thanks. Lynne NYC

  4. Wow that was good information but I have a major problem I have scorched burnt on stuff I’m talking bird on as and black you have any ideas for that

  5. Think you have a typo here – What’s the quickest way to clean uber dirty pots and pants? – shouldn’t that be “pans” or have I missed something?


  6. I found that filling the pan to the top of the burned level with water and then adding vinegar and letting soak will work………burned stuff comes off clean. add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar depending on size of pan.

  7. I did this and it scorched my pan! Now how do I get the scorch mark off? It made a ring all around the edge of the side (near the bottom) Help!

  8. what is a good way to sanitize cleaning brushes and sponges w/o a microwave? I don’t have a microwave. IS it true if u boil sponges it sanitizes them?

  9. For stainless steel pans, you can clean them quickly and easily by putting plain hot water in the pan after cooking your dish!! Do this immediately after cooking–do not allow the pan to chill at all!! Then use a green scour pad, and that’s all there is to it!!

    Another tip when using a stainless steel pan is to use wine, water, or oil to help break up the “crunchies” at the bottom at the end of cooking. This is called deglazing and this also helps to clean the pan.

    The trick to stainless is watch what you are cooking, deglaze when necessary–then clean up is a snap. Your baking soda and dish-soap tip is excellent for cleaning the pan and making it shiny!!

  10. My genius boyfriend burned popcorn in my stainless steel pan. And I mean really burnt! I tried to scrub it but it will NOT come off. Its been there for a while now. Is there any way I can still save it?

    • Same thing happened to my stainless popcorn pan! I used oven cleaner at room temperature and let it sit overnight. I then used a scrubbing pad and it was gone. Mine was so bad I had to do it twice but it looks like new now.

  11. This is great! It also works to use a squirt of Cascade dishwasher liquid in the pan with water. Same process. But I think it lifts off crud a little faster. Nice to have two ways to accomplish the yucky task.

Tell us what YOU think!!