Saving Your Burned Pots & Pans

A few months ago I was making quinoa and completely forgot it was cooking. When I checked on it, the bottom of the saucepan was completely black. I was discouraged, thinking that since the pan was stainless steel instead of nonstick, all the burned on stuff probably wouldn’t come off and I’d have to toss it. But the following two tricks will remove the burned on food with minimal scrubbing! (Thanks to my sister for the first one 🙂 ).

For best results, do this right away after the food has burned the pan.

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Use a silicone spatula (nothing that will scratch) to scrape off as much of the burned stuff as you can. Drizzle some dish soap in the pan then fill with hot water. Place it back on the stove and heat the water until it is at a low boil/simmer. Make sure you don’t add too much soap or it will get very bubbly and overflow!  While it is simmering, use the spatula to help lift off the burned food. When you’ve gotten as much removed as you can, empty the pan and let it cool.


When the pan is empty/cool, wipe it out so there’s no water in it. Drizzle dish soap again into the pan. Sprinkle baking soda in the pan and make a thick paste (more baking soda than soap) out of the dish soap/baking soda. Gently scrub at the remaining burned on food with a copper-wire scrubber (non-scratch), a stiff bristle brush, or a sponge with a good scrubbing side. You will have to rinse and repeat this step once the paste gets too brown. (Note: if there’s any water in the pan, the baking soda will not be effective).

These two tips have saved my pots and pans multiple times! I hope they work for you too 🙂 .

The “soap/baking soda/copper scrubber” method will also work on crusty spots inside your oven; just make sure to rinse/wipe well so no soap gets left behind!


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