How to clean a burned stainless steel pan: 6 home remedies that experts swear by

Everyone who has ever cooked something will have burned food at one point. You can easily get distracted and leave food to cook too long, resulting in burnt marks.

Despite this, cleaning stainless steel pans is not difficult, even when the food appears to be permanently stuck.

Cleaning experts share their tried and tested cleaning methods to remove burnt food from stainless-steel pans, resulting in a brilliant shine with even better nonstick properties.

How to Clean a Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Steel wool is often used to remove food deposits. Laura Avila warns that this can cause more damage.

Laura Avila is a cleaning enthusiast with years of experience. She now offers practical tips on how to keep a home clean and organized.


You can clean a variety of items with vinegar, including stainless steel pots. Natural food-safe ingredients help to protect stainless steel from further damage. Laura Avila says that mixing vinegar and baking soda will create a paste that is effervescent, perfect for removing tough deposits such as burnt food.

Apply the paste to the burned area. Let it sit there for a couple of minutes, then use a non-abrasive scrubber or sponge to scrub until the burned residue is removed gently. The pan should be rinsed with water and then dried thoroughly. Baking soda can be used as a mild abrasive to remove burned food without damaging stainless steel.


Burnt sugars can be loosened by boiling water and baking soda on the stove if the food is still fresh or hot.

First, add one teaspoon of baking soda to every quart of the water in the pan. The mixture should be heated on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, then cooled. You should be able to see some of the burned food separating from the sides of the pan once it has cooled. This is according to Justin Carpenter, owner of Modern Maids in Houston.

Next, use a metal spoon or spatula to scrape away any leftover bits of burned food. It would be best if you were careful not to scratch your pan.

Boiling Water and Dish Soap

It is often enough to use dish soap and boiling water to remove burned food. Dawn Powerwash, for example, is a strong dish soap. Fill the pan up with water enough to cover the burned area, and then add a couple of drops of dish detergent. Laura Avila, a cleaning expert, suggests bringing the mixture to a simmer and letting it cook for a few moments. Turn off the heat and allow the pan to cool. Remove the burned residue with a non-abrasive scrubber or sponge. Rinse the pan thoroughly and dry it.


Try a cleaner that is specifically designed for stainless steel if the situation is particularly bad. Bobby Griggs recommends using powdered stainless-steel cleaners to freshen stainless steel that is scorched or burnt.

He advises to wet the bottom of your pan before applying a powdered stainless-steel cleaner. Select a pot-safe cleaner instead of a product intended for stainless steel appliances, as the latter may not be safe to use.

“Rub the pan with a soft, circular cloth in order to rub the paste into any burnt areas. Lift them off to reveal a gorgeous shine and luster. Bobby says to wash the pan with dish soap, then dry it thoroughly.

BKF Cookware Cleanser & Polish is specially formulated to remove burned-on food and stains. It can make old cookware look like new.

Salt and Baking Soda

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda and salt on the burned area. Cleaning expert Laura Avilla recommends adding a little water to make a paste. Use a non-abrasive scrubber or sponge to scrub until the burned residue is removed gently. The pan should be rinsed with water and then dried thoroughly.


It is a common misconception that lemon juice can be used to clean the house. This highly acidic liquid is ideal for breaking down burnt food and grease without damaging surfaces or contaminating food. This method can be used with either fresh lemons or pre-packaged juice that you might have in your pantry.

Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water. Let it sit for several minutes, and then wash it with hot water. This is the advice of Jeniffer Smith, a professional homemaker at Urban Home Corner.

Citric acid is found in lemon juice, and it’s a natural cleaner that can remove stains from stainless steel.

Jeniffer is a blogger and homemaker with Urban Home Corner. Jeniffer Smith is a self-taught expert in appliances. She organizes appliance queries for the blog and helps clients find affordable solutions.

What are the downsides of cooking on stainless steel?

If you have a lower-quality stainless steel pan, it is not recommended to use it for cooking acidic food. The metal and acid can react, leaving stains or giving your food a metallic taste.


The base of the pan will often have a blackened texture. This is because the metal is not burned but rather a layer of food that has been boiled and stuck to the pan. This layer of burnt food can be removed with a little effort. Your pan will look brand new.

You may notice that your food has a burnt flavor, even though it was cooked perfectly if the metal has become discolored due to severe burns or excessive use. You may have to replace the entire pan at this point.

Burnt food on the bottom of a stainless steel pan does not mean you have to throw it out. There are some simple household solutions to lift even the toughest of burnt food away from the pan base and leave the steel gleaming.

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