How to Clean a Scorched Frying Pan

So, you’ve forgotten to turn off the stove and came back to find a horrendous burnt mess instead of your dinner? Don’t worry, it happens even to the best of us. When the food takes forever to cook, it’s super easy to forget about it.

Moreover, with many dishes, it takes just a small mistake in time calculation to end up with a scorched pan. As luck has it, more often than not, it ends up being our favorite pan which makes the whole thing even more devastating.

Luckily, scorched pans can often still be saved if cleaned properly. It is not even that hard. Try some of the tips and tricks we have prepared for you today and there is a good chance you’ll be able to save your scorched pan.

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Start With the Basics

Sometimes, the burnt food stuck to the bottom of the pan looks simply horrendous. However, this doesn’t mean the mess is necessarily uncleanable. In fact, sometimes all you need is a bit of patience.

To clean burnt pots and pans, we recommend starting with the basics. While fancy cleaning products can sometimes damage your pots and pans, plain water can do wonders in some cases.

The first thing you can try is to simply soak the pot or pan in question in hot water for an hour or two, or even overnight in more serious cases. The water will loosen the debris and make it much easier to scrape or scrub it off.

Regardless of what method you use, there is a good chance you’ll have to do some scrubbing when dealing with a scorched pan. Scouring pads made of stainless steel, or anything too scratchy should be used with utmost caution.

If the pot or pan is made of stainless steel, you can scrub it with almost anything as hard as you like, and it will still be usable. However, you could end up with a scratched cooking surface.

Cookware made of other materials such as enamel or aluminum is much easier to scratch. For this reason, we recommend using plastic scouring pads. They require more work, but they keep the cooking surface safe from scratching.

If soaking in water doesn’t do the trick, you can try adding some dish soap. To use this method, fill the pot with water with some dish soap added and let it soak for an hour or two.

Then, turn on the stove again and let the water boil for fifteen to twenty minutes. The residue should come off easily after this.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

For really stubborn stains there is another trick you can try. It’s simple and easy to do and it will save you a lot of scrubbing! To do this, you will need a cup of white vinegar, some baking soda, and some water.

To begin cleaning using this method, you will need to fill the pot or pan with a mixture of water and white vinegar. Put the pan or pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Even with the vinegar alone, the pan should be looking a bit cleaner.

The next step is to add the baking soda to the mixture. To do this, remove the pat or pon from the stove first. Adding the baking soda will cause a fizzy reaction that will help resolve any residue on the cooking surface of the pot or pan.

To avoid creating too much foam, you can pour the vinegar-water mixture out of the dish, until just the bottom is covered. Once you add the baking soda, wait until the “fizzy” reaction stops, and then pour everything out. You will most likely need to do a bit of scrubbing after all to remove all the residue, but it should be much easier now!

Non-Stick and Hard Anodized Pans

When cleaning a burnt pot or pan, you should definitely pay attention to the material it is made of. When it comes to stainless steel, you can use pretty much anything, but hard anodized pots and pans and those that have a non-stick coating can be a bit more tricky.

If you scratch the non-stick coating on a pot or pan, it will be effectively ruined. Not only will it lose the non-stick properties, but the damaged coating might also start leaching harmful chemicals into your food.

To avoid this, never use abrasive products or metal scouring pads. Stick to water and dish soap and be persistent. That is the only way to save a non-stick pan.

How to Clean the Outside of Pots and Pans

While we all clean the inside of our pots and pans, we often forget about the outside. Residue from hard water can build up on the outside of pots and pans, as well as the residue from burnt food and other particles.

This is why pots and pans often become black on the outside after prolonged use. The staining can be hard to clean, even if you put your pots and pans in the dishwasher.

When it comes to water stains, white vinegar will do the trick. Just soak a cloth in white vinegar and rub the outside of the pot or pan. The black burnt stains can be a bit tougher to remove.

One method you can try is soaking the pots and pans in water with dishwashing soap and baking soda. Fill the sink with hot water so you can fully submerge the pot or pan. Add around two tablespoons of dish soap and two tablespoons of baking soda. Stir the water so the baking soda dissolves in it.

Let the pot or pan soak for an hour or two and then scrub the outside with a regular sponge or a dishcloth. You’ll need to be persistent, but the stains should come off. For stainless steel pots and pans, many people also like using Bar Keepers Friend.

This product is non-abrasive and made without bleach, so it’s quite safe to use on stainless steel cookware. Nevertheless, it does a great job at removing stains from the outside of pots and pans.