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Cleaning a Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Category Metal
Removing burned on food or burn marks from your stainless steel cookware can be difficult. There are products and techniques that will help and not damage the finish in the process. This is a guide about cleaning a burnt stainless steel pan.
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Solutions

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June 9, 20160 found this helpful

Pot with burnt residue on the left and the same pot cleaned on the right

This guide is about cleaning burnt sugar from a stainless steel pot. When sugar is burned onto a pan, it can be a challenge to remove.

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October 16, 20130 found this helpful

A stainless steel pan with burnt oil.

A stubborn substance that can adhere to your pan is cooking oil. This guide is about cleaning burnt oil from stainless steel pans.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

1 found this helpful
November 2, 2010

How do you remove burnt popcorn from stainless steel pots? I have scrubbed with Comet and pads that won't scratch.

By Linda from Syracuse, NY

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Answer Was this helpful? 1
June 22, 20110 found this helpful

Just used the vinegar method today to remove scorch marks from my house mate's stainless 3-qt pot. Thank you, it worked like a charm, and now I don't have to tell him I scorched it or cough up $50 to replace it. Well done- Thank you so much.

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June 28, 20110 found this helpful

I turned the exterior of my calphalon pot yellow by boiling the water out of it. I only had rice vinegar, and I poured it into hot hot dishwater and soaked the pot. It worked beautifully!

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0 found this helpful
July 8, 2011

How do I remove the stain from a stainless steel fry pan? The burnt on food has been removed, but the stain is still there. An help would be appreciated.

By Roberta

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July 11, 20110 found this helpful

Try putting water in the pan and bringing it to a boil and then use the soap pad when it cools off enough. If that does not work buy some stainless steel cleaner, which I know works for me.

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July 11, 20110 found this helpful

Try Barkeepers Friend. It is less abrasive than a brillo pad, and removes stains or discolorations on stainless steel. I use a lot of it.

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January 4, 20120 found this helpful

How do I remove black burnt stains and restore luster/brilliance to interior of a pan? While boiling eggs I forgot and the water boiled out! My aluminum stainless steel pan has black burnt marks and no luster. I left baking soda in pan to many days and still have black burnt stains and no luster to pan. What do I do to restore pan?

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By Peggy B.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 6, 20120 found this helpful

If the above tips don't get it back to new, try using a product called Bar Keepers Friend. It's a powder that works wonders for stainless steel and porcelin.

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January 6, 20120 found this helpful

I keep fabric softener sheets under the sink for this purpose. Just add water to cover burn.

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0 found this helpful
October 16, 2006

I burned mac and cheese on my new frugal stainless steel pot and I can't for the love of god get this thing to come clean, please help. It's been soaking for 3 days and still nothing. I tried to scrub it, baking soda, boil soap, nothing works, HELP.

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Kimberly from Akron, Ohio

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October 18, 20060 found this helpful

after having soaked it in Dawn and removed all that can be. i then use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. good luck.

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December 2, 20070 found this helpful

Thank you to Syl (10/17/2006) and jean (10/17/2006). I tried the dishwasher powder on my very stuck and burned cheese fondue pot. It soaked overnight and I was able to scrape it clean with a wooden spatula. It's good as new. I will remember that for other burned and stuck foods.

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0 found this helpful
May 19, 2015

How do I get burned on popcorn out of my pot?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 22, 20150 found this helpful

For some burnt on messes you can add water to the pot and put it back on the stove until the water boils a while. Many times it pulls off the burnt materials. Good Luck!

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13 found this helpful
October 11, 2010

How do I remove burnt cheese from a stainless steel pot?

By Al from Erie, PA

Answer Was this helpful? 13
October 14, 20100 found this helpful

To remove burnt-on food in cookware, try soaking the pan in hot water with a touch of dish soap and a new dryer sheet (like Bounce) added to the water. Sounds weird, but it works for me.

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October 30, 20100 found this helpful

Burnt a brand new high quality stainless steel 3 qt pan - really bummed. Black and crusted on the bottom (steaming veggies on high heat and water boiled away). Tried scrubbing with a Dobie scrub pad and some came off, but not much. So I read about using vinegar in the prior posts on this topic. Boiled a mixture of vinegar and water (mostly vinegar), let it sit for a couple of hours, boiled it again, took it off while it was still hot, poured out most of it, and tried the Dobie scrub pad. I was SHOCKED at how easily it came off and the bottom of pan is sparkling clean with no scratches. Made my day to say the least!

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0 found this helpful
March 7, 2011

I have stainless steel pan that my boyfriend used to toast bread. He burned the bread and then right after poured water into hot pan. The pan now has a copper color to it on bottom, sides, and inside. There is also crusty burned black bread inside that won't come off. The pan is new and I hate that the rest of the set is so nice looking! Any ideas on how to make it shine again? Especially, the outside of it where it totally changed color.

By Jay from San Diego, CA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 8, 20110 found this helpful

Try this...place a dry softener sheet and very hot water in the pot and let it sit overnight. It should come right off using the dryer sheet as the scrubber. To lessen the marks on the outside dampen a rag or sponge with hot water and sprinkle baking soda on it and scour. Several applications may be necessary. The baking soda will not scratch the stainless steel and helps to shine it up with regular use.

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March 8, 20110 found this helpful

Go to the store and buy a product called Bar Keeper's Friend. You'll find it with the cleansers at Wal-Mart. I am never without this product. Sprinkle a little into the bottom of the pan, add a little water and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with a scrubber sponge. The pan will shine like new. This product also works on the bottom of pans to remove burned on food and burn marks. You can use it to clean glass cook tops as well. There are tons of other uses. Bar Keeper's Friend has been around since the 1800s. Your great-grandmother likely used it. Try it. You'll love it. You can visit their website to find out more.

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October 2, 20110 found this helpful

Once a stainless steel saucepan has been burnt, but then thoroughly cleaned, is it then more likely to burn again?

By Val S.

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October 5, 20110 found this helpful

Not in my unfortunately considerable experience, lol! Uhm, you're not talking about a pan burned so badly that it was deformed, right? That might make a difference.

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October 13, 20110 found this helpful

No.

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July 13, 20120 found this helpful

I burnt my best saucepan. I filled it with water and detergent and left for 24 hours. It mostly came off, then I used a stainless steel soap pad which helped, but there are still block spots and discolouration on the bottom of the pan. Can I use the half vinegar and half water mixture to bring it back? And what can I use on the base of the pan as it is discoloured?

By Edwina B

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July 15, 20120 found this helpful

Easy-Off heavy duty oven cleaner might work. Spray it on and let it sit overnight.

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Archives

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October 11, 20100 found this helpful

I was making plum jam. I thought I turned the pot off, but I turned it to low. I was gone too long and my new 18 qt. All-clad pot is burnt. I am boiling with salted water now. Any pointers would be great. I am so bummed.

By Jasmine from ID

Answers:

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Maybe try baking soda water? (08/15/2010)

By nursehageman

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

I find that using a Bio washing powder works on most food, as it is designed to digest foods. I expect you would need to cook up a solution in the pan and let it boil away then leave to cool and hopefully you should have a clean pan. It's best if you can leave it overnight. Good luck. Hope the jam was good! (08/17/2010)

By Kentishmaid

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

My sister-in-law was head cook for a major company in the Seattle, Washington area for many years. She told me to cover the burn area with simmering water with baking soda added. I have used it successfully several times. She did not give me any exact proportions, so I just add a little at a time (which usually bubbles up). I wait until it settles down and then add a little more, all depending on the size of the pan. (08/17/2010)

By Kathryen

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Try Easy-Off oven cleaner. (08/18/2010)

By Ann Parker

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Try placing a Bounce or other fabric softener sheet in the pot filled with water. Place on stove and heat the water to boiling. Shut off the heat and let it sit a couple of hours or overnight. Then use the softener sheet to wash the burnt pieces away. Wash and rinse well. I have used this method successfully a number of times and have saved expensive and not so expensive pots from being thrown out. Good Luck!

Laurie (08/18/2010)

By FoyCat

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Barkeeper's Friend works wonders. (08/18/2010)

By Noella

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Salt is not likely to do anything. I use baking soda, like 1/2 to 1 cup for a big pot, water, boil for a half hour or so, and let soak. This works reasonably well, but you often need to do a couple of times, and still need a lot of elbow grease. Give those dryer sheets a try, as others have suggested. (08/18/2010)

By louel53

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

August 14, 20100 found this helpful

I have a heavy duty stainless steel pan that I was using with my bamboo steamer. It had boiled dry and really left it badly burnt. I managed to get the burnt part cleaned, but it has really left a dark stain at the bottom that seems to be right into the finish. Is there any way to get this off or is the finish ruined?

By Verna

Answers:

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Try boiling some rhubarb in it. (07/01/2010)

By skinnyjinny

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

June 29, 20100 found this helpful

My son burned my new stainless steel pan. How can I clean it? The inside has black stains all over the bottom and sides.

By Cathy from Phoenix, AZ

Answers:

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

First wring your son' neck. LOL! Bon ami polishing cleanser can be purchased at most grocery stores. It's a 14 oz. can and printed on front are the words "Cleans Without Scratching".

It will take a lot of elbow grease to remove the burnt areas. The product can also be used on Corning Ware so you know that it will work on stainless steel. (02/25/2010)

By MCW

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Try using Bar Keeper's Friend. I use this all the time and I love it. It even takes the rainbow stains that are in the bottom of a stainless steel pot. (02/26/2010)

By Deeshep

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

The same thing happened to one of my best stainless steel pots too except I did it myself. I tried everything, nothing got it all off. I was on the verge of saying forget it then in a last ditch effort I found a tip in a web search to use emery cloth and that did it! It scratched the surface in the bottom a little so use the finest emery cloth you can find, but it will buff it off.
It saved my pan, I'm so glad to have the complete set usable again. Good luck. (02/26/2010)

By gr8dnm

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

Pour in some Coca-Cola (not diet) and heat it up on the stove. Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes. Throw out the cola and wash with a scouring sponge to get off what you can. Repeat the process as often as is required and it will soon be all gone and shining like new! (02/26/2010)

By Monique63

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

I have a nice set of SS pans and do burn things occasionally in them. I only use Cameo Stainless Steel Cleaner in them. You can find it next to the Bon Ami and Barkeeper's Friend cleansers. If it is really crusted on, I sprinkle some on and leave it to soak overnight. The next day it usually cleans right off. (02/27/2010)

By arsonhorse

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

I sprayed on EZ Off, let pan soak, and next morning rinsed and wiped the pan with a sponge, all gone! (03/27/2010)

By rajalance

Burnt Stainless Steel Pan

I have stainless steel cookware. When something gets burned on, or stuck on, I cover the bottom with white vinegar and some baking soda and let it sit overnight. They come clean with no scouring.

One pan was extremely burned (it boiled dry when I was out gardening) and it came out. There are a few black smudges, but they are gradually disappearing.

I wash dishes with vinegar. It removes the grease and polishes all of the dishes and stainless silverware, pots and pans. If the dishwater looks like it has grease on top, I simply make a new dishpan of vinegar and hot water to finish up.

I use vinegar to clean my ceramic top stove and it looks like new. Actually, I use white vinegar for everything in my house, kitchen, bathroom, windows, floor, you name it. And, it won't harm the septic tank. (05/08/2010)

By clynnaltemus

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

February 25, 20100 found this helpful

I have a stainless steel pan that was burnt on the inside. Now it has a dull look and grayish smears; it is not shiny anymore.

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November 18, 20090 found this helpful
I burnt my stainless steel saucepan making jam, really bad. I rang my mum and she told me to cut up onions and boil it in water.

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June 22, 20090 found this helpful

How do I clean a burnt stainless steel saucepan without damaging it inside?

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June 11, 20090 found this helpful

I was cooking some tea on the range after dinner and completely forgot about it until the morning. By morning, my pot was completely scorched on the inside.

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May 17, 20090 found this helpful

I let my stainless steel grill to hot. It is burnt, scorched. Any suggestions on getting it back to looking shiny?

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November 18, 20080 found this helpful

I did a dumb thing. I boiled water to heat a baby's bottle.

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April 16, 20070 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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February 18, 20070 found this helpful

Is there a way to clean or restore stainless cookware after water has boiled dry in it and turned it dark?

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October 22, 20060 found this helpful

I left my stainless steel saucepan sitting on the stove after the water had boiled out.

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September 16, 20060 found this helpful

How do I clean the inside of a stainless steel pan that is burnt inside due to water evaporating?

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October 7, 20050 found this helpful

I totally burnt a stainless steel pan by attempting to create a simple syrup for my iced tea.

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