How to Clean a Burnt Pan in Under 5 Minutes

You are ready to cook the most delicious meal of your life. You have gathered the ingredients, pre-heated the pan, and are ready to rock.

But as soon as you are about to make the best dish ever you realize you did something wrong as the aroma of the ambiance is accompanied by smoke.

When you turn off the stove and bring the visibility by removing the smoke, you find the burnt remains of your masterpiece. It’s turned into a black residue, and sadly it isn’t the only problem. The pan you were using has an imprint of the burnt food.

It has happened to you, right? Don’t worry; it’s not our first time. We have burnt & fixed many pans before jumping on to write this.

Preliminary step: 

This step is mandatory, regardless of what you do next.

The remains of the food would still be having some absorbed heat.  Run some cold water on the surface of the pan just to ensure the remains stop withering out the pan and that you do not burn your hand while cleaning.

Below are 5 super-effective methods to bring your pan back to life from the dead. Each process is tried and tested, so all you have to do is implement and wait for the magic to happen.

Note: These DIY methods are good for most pans such as stainless steel, aluminum, or cast-iron pans and also carbon steel woks. Avoid using the below methods for a non-stick pan. We have mentioned the most-effective method for non-stick pan right after the five methods.

Here we go!

How to Clean a Burnt Pan that isn’t Non-Stick

1. Do it with Vinegar & Baking soda 

It’s the best solution you will find to clean a burnt pan losing every pinch of grime. It will bring your pan back to its shine and will make it as good as new.

What you’ll need:

  •  Two tablespoons of baking soda
  •  1 cup of Vinegar
  •  1-2 cups of water
  •  One scouring pad
  •  And of course, one burnt pan with the remains of the world’s best dish


  1. Put the burnt pan back in the place of the crime scene a.k.a the stove-top and fill it with a light layer of water.
  2. Add a tsp of vinegar to it.
  3. Turn on the stove and wait till it boils.
  4. As soon as it starts boiling turn off the stove and add the baking soda
  5. You will see some foam rising.
  6. Wait for some time as the foam settles.
  7. Empty it and bring on your scouring tool
  8. The burnt residue will quite quickly leave the surface of the pan.
  9. Wash your pan after the unwanted guests leave and enjoy your pan smooth as new

2. Your cooking-time best friend, NaCl (or Salt) 

It is an equally effective method to clean a burnt pot, but it is undoubtedly time-consuming. You won’t need many ingredients to perform this except for salty water and a lot of time.

What you’ll need:

  • Two tablespoons of salt
  • Water
  • Sink
  • Scouring pad or a wooden spatula
  • And the pan


  1. Submerge the affected pan with water and add two tablespoons of salt in it.
  2. Let the mixture sit for 60-80 minutes.
  3. Use your preferred scouring device and remove the remains without throwing out the salty water.
  4. Take it back to the stove and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  5. Maintain this temperature for about 10 minutes.’
  6. As soon as the timer hits 600 seconds, turn off the heat, and leave the pot overnight.
  7. In the morning, the pot would have soaked comprehensively. Bring the pan with the saltwater solution to a boil again.
  8. Scrape out the last remains of grime and empty the solution
  9. Lastly, bath your pan with normal water.

3. A fabric softener to remove the grime 

A fabric softener is surprisingly a great choice when it comes to removing the residue of a burnt pot.

What you’ll need:

  • Warm water
  • Fabric softener sheet
  • A sink
  • And the burnt pan


  1. Submerge the pan with warm water.
  2. Take the dryer sheet and place it over the water.
  3. Gently push it under the water.
  4. Wait for a couple of hours before scrubbing.
  5. Use the fabric softener sheet as a scouring tool and lose the grime.
  6. The residue will get cleared after certain scrubbing.

4. Cream of Tartar

No baking soda? We have the perfect alternative

Cream of tartar is the ultimate alternative to bicarbonate of soda. Just follow the given instructions and clean the burnt pan without putting in much effort.

What you’ll need:

  • Cream of tartar
  • Water
  • Scrubber
  • Empty sink


  1. Fill the pan with water and add cream of tartar.
  2. Turn on the stove and leave it on simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the solution and start scrubbing
  4. The residual should come off quickly at once
  5. If some part of the burnt residue remaining, repeat the process with some more water and a little bit of extra cream
  6. Leave the pan to soak.
  7. And it should shine brightly the next time you scrub it.

5. When life gives you lemons, scrub grime with it 

Lemons are a great solution to your burnt pan. Just grab some water, add lemons to it, and let its natural power take care of the rest.

What you will need: 

  • 3 full-size lemons
  • Water
  • An empty sink
  • Wooden spatula
  • The burnt pan


  1. Submerge the pan with the water
  2. Cut the lemons in halves and drop them in the water
  3. Put the pan on the stove and bring it to a boil
  4. Let it boil for 3-5 minutes
  5. After 5 minutes, empty the solution
  6. Start scrubbing with the wooden spatula as soon as you empty the ingredients
  7. Give the pan a nice wash with regular water. This is how you clean a burnt pan by using the ability of nature.

Note: The aluminum and iron pan can be destroyed with a scrub which is too scratchy or a cleanser which is ultra-strong. So try to use a scrub which is a gentle fix.

Must Read:

How to Clean a Non-Stick Pan

Your non-stick saucepan could easily wither out. They are more prone to early deterioration than any other pan. So you need to be very careful while cleaning the burnt pan. Here’s a very effective method that will easily clean your non-stick pan without exposing it to any future deterioration.

What you will need: 

  • Hot Water
  • Liquid Detergent
  • Soft sponge
  • Burn non-stick pan


  1. Submerge the burnt non-stick pan with hot water. The normal water at the boiling stage would work just fine.
  2. Keep in mind the entire surface that is burned should be covered.
  3. Add 5-6 drop of liquid detergent (any normal dish detergent would do)
  4. Stir the mixture so that the soap mixes well with the water
  5. Then put the pan with the soap water on the stove-top and turn on the heat.
  6. Bring it to boil and let it stay intact in the stage.
  7. After letting it boil for about 15 minutes, turn off the heat.
  8. You will notice the burnt residue will begin to leave the surface of the pan.
  9. Let the pan cool for about half an hour.
  10.  After that throw the residues away and clean whatever’s left with a soft sponge, detergent, and water.
  11. Your non-stick pan will be back in shape as good as new.

Okay, so this was a mini-guide throwing light upon different ways to clean the inside surface of a burnt pan.

But what about the outer surface?

The area is usually not coated in non-stick material, making it easy for any remains to stick. This makes the task a little difficult.

But you don’t have to worry about it; fortunately, we have one of the simplest solutions that will. So turn that frown upside down, and let’s move on to it.

Also Read: Best Omelette Pans for 2020

How to Clean the Bottom of any Burnt Pan?

The outer grime would be covered with grease, and that must have been burnt along with the residue. We will have to remove the burnt grease along with the grime and any other stains.

The burnt grease can be easily removed by applying any of the following two methods:

Warning: Do not put any of your burnt pans. It will ruin the surface, making it impossible to be fixed. Use a non-scratch sponge to perform these methods, especially with the non-stick pans.

What you will need: 

  • Baking soda or Barkeeper’s friend
  • A small tub of Water
  • Non-scratch scrubbing pad


Baking Soda:  Make a paste using three parts water and one part baking soda. Spread it on the burnt surface of the pan and leave it there for 10-15 minutes. Take the non-scratch scrub and start with the scrubbing. You’ll notice the burnt grease leaving the surface of the pan.

Barkeeper’s Friend: This stuff works wonders for removing burnt grease from your pan. Just make a paste as above, using 3 parts water and one part Barkeeper’s friend and let it rest on the surface of the pan.

In about 15 minutes, take out your non-scratch sponge and start with the scrubbing. The grease will leave the surface soon.  Wash it with the normal water and your pan is ready to undergo further steps.

Note: If you have aluminum pan then make a solution of salt and lime water and spread over the surface. If the pan is made of stainless steel, the old-school baking soda paste is good enough (using equal parts water and baking soda)

We have fixed all that was burnt up till here, but how cool would it be if there wasn’t any need of fixing anything in the first place?

Super cool right? Here are some ways to prevent the burning of your pan: 

  1. Ensure proper cleaning of the stovetop: The plethora of food residue resides on your stovetop. The spilled sauces, various ingredients, and some of the food that popped out of the pan. You don’t want to expose the spilled material sticking to your (not non-stick) bottoms of your pans to direct heat.
  2. Incorporate high-quality pans made up using heavy materials: Low-budget pans are often the first ones to get burned as they as not made of the best quality. You don’t want to invest in the same pan twice resulting in you shelling a lot more than the cost of a good quality
  3. Always pre-heat oil in the pan: Before making food, spread some oil on the pan regardless of the material. Pour enough oil that covers the pan with a thin layer and heat it on simmer. Add food only when the oil is hot enough that you can see some vapors. It will prevent the food from sticking and ultimately resulting in no burnt food residues.


Cleaning burnt pans can be a tough job, but when you see the shine at the end as good as new, all the efforts seem worth it.

This was the comprehensive information on how to clean a burnt pan. These five methods will help you clean even the densest of grime.   Just implement them in the right way and don’t forget to skip any of the steps.

Jennifer Dumas

My name is Jennifer! Welcome to Dinners and Dreams. My goal here is to encourage you to try out recipes you never thought you could make at home. Furthermore, I also review products that I have used in the past or currently using to make every day buying decisions easier and to ensure you get the best value for your money.

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