Cleaning Burnt Oil From Stainless Steel Pans

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


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I forgot to remove my pan from the burner after frying taco shells, causing the oil to burn onto the pan.

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp Dawn dish soap
  • water


  1. Add Dawn dish soap to the pan. Fill the pan about halfway with water.
  2. Put the pan on the stove and boil for about 5 minutes. Be sure to set a timer.
  3. Using a metal spatula, carefully scrap away as much of the oil as possible. NOTE: Do not use a metal spatula on a non-stick pan.
  4. Empty the soap water into the sink. Then scrub with a sponge to remove any remaining oil.
Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 3


August 9, 2014

If you are having a hard time getting burnt oil off a frying pan, try this simple tip. This method will get your pan looking like new in no time!

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes


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.

June 22, 2005

I scorched a stainless steel skillet after spraying it with PAM. It looks glazed on. Baking soda did not help. Any ideas?

Mike S.


June 22, 20050 found this helpful

Try putting the baking soda in the pan with water and bring to a boil. This may help some. Also you can try putting hot water in your pan and a sheet of Bounce that you use in the dryer and let it soak over night. It will help take off the scorched part of the pan and maybe the glazed look. Hope this will help you.


Pat in GA

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Debbie (Guest Post)
June 23, 20050 found this helpful

Use a steel wool pad (like SOS). This has always cleaned my stainless steel pans after all kinds of embarrassing disasters. Let the pan soak a few minutes (or overnight) first.

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By Sandra (Guest Post)
June 24, 20050 found this helpful

I use oven cleaner. It works great. Spray on, leave awhile. Then wash as usual.

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Answer this Question...

January 6, 2011

How do I clean burnt oil from a stainless steel pan?

By RichardT from Sterling Heights, MI


January 7, 20110 found this helpful

Apply any of the following (as available) to the burnt parts, leave overnight and scrub with a stiff scouring pad next day:


- scouring powder + vinegar paste
- baking soda
- ash + lemon juice
- tamarind paste
use very little water, so it creates abrasion, and scrub away, it should come off.
All the best.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 7, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Richard!
What I do is to sprinkle liberally the burned part with baking soda, and then pour just enough water over the soda to make a paste. Let the pan sit overnight, and then take a scrubby and scrub the burned part. The debris should come off very easily, along with the baking soda paste.
Easy, good for the environment, and cheap! :)
Hope this helps,
Bron from Augusta, Georgia

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Answer this Question...

August 30, 2015

I burned oil in a stainless steel pan, about 10 minutes on the stove burning. The pan has a burnt oil smell I can't get out. Any suggestions?


October 18, 20170 found this helpful

Try scrubbing it with some baking soda and water then wash it normally with hot water and dish soap. This should work.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 6, 2011

Someone had the heat up too high in my stainless steel frying pan and burned the olive oil right into it. No amount of scrubbing or soaking has helped, not even boiling Cascade. Any ideas?


By Mel from Frankfort, IL


Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

If the pan is ruined and unfit for use, try spraying it with oven cleaner (outdoors on cardboard or newspaper) with you wearing rubber gloves. (11/19/2010)

By OliveOyl

Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

I think easy off oven cleaner will do it. (11/19/2010)

By Lilac

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 19, 2010

I had an oil fire in my stainless steel pot. I got the burned oil off the bottom of the pot, but the black marks on the side won't come off, neither will the black dots on the outside. Anyone have any suggestions?

By Judy from Cornwall, Ontario Canada


Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

Barkeepers Friend and elbow grease. (10/20/2010)

By Noella

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

October 18, 2010

I have burnt a stainless steel saucepan. I had a little oil in the bottom of it and left it on the stove, it caught alight and now is quite burnt. I have tried cleaning it in the dishwasher to no avail. Please help.


By Janet C


Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

Wow! I posted a response to similar question back in 06. I've been here for a while!

Sorry! I found an even better idea, is Bon Ami cleanser. Get some on a scrubby and scrub it away. The dishwasher doesn't work, it just heat sets it! But if I have some oil burnt on or some pans just looking not so shiny, I use the Bon Ami and it's better. It comes in a gold can, next to the powdered cleansers in the kitchen cleaning section. Cheap and works on your stove without scratching too! (05/06/2010)

By Michawn

Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

Try this: fill your pot with enough water to cover the burnt oil residue (if the stain is only on the bottom, an inch of water should be enough). Add 1 teaspoon of dishwasher powder or powdered laundry detergent (a bit more if using liquid detergent). Boil hard for 5-10 minutes, after which the oil should come off easily. I've found that this works well for many burnt veggies too, but alas not as well for burnt rice which requires a lot of elbow grease too. (05/07/2010)


By Dolna Garbary

Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

If Easy Off oven cleaner won't take it off, it won't come off. Try it. (05/07/2010)

By Lilac


I've done this with steel pans and butter and it just takes a lot of soaking, with soaking time being correlated with how much oil residue is burned onto the pan. You'll need a steel wool or tough rubber scrubber. When soaking, put fill the pan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and raised residue with dish soap. Let sit for a day and then scrub with water and soap still in the pan. If you get most or some, but not all off, then repeat process. Adding dish soap is important as oil and water don't mix, you'll need the detergent affects to dislodge the hydrophobic oils. No worries, your pan is not lost, that is the wonder of stainless steel pans! (05/07/2010)

By Danielle

Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

I use anlod's method only with dish soap or vinegar, and it works like a charm :-)

Please do not use oven cleaner on anything you're going to be cooking or storing food on/in! The materials are porous and the oven cleaner chemicals build up in those porous pockets. (05/07/2010)

By Deeli

Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

Try a paste of salt, baking soda, and dish soap (Dawn)
and elbow grease : ) (05/12/2010)

By Carly St.Clair

RE: Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

Burnt Oil on a Stainless Steel Pan

My husband sold stainless steel pots and pans of high quality for years. He said the way to clean them is to use Comet or Ajax with a brown paper bag. The bag is strong enough to cut whatever in on the pan.
I have kept my clean for over 40 years using this method. (07/13/2010)

By Bren

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May 6, 2010

I tried everything suggested on how to remove the oil stain on my stainless steel fry pan and nothing worked. So I decided to try a razor blade scraper.

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December 19, 2009

I have a question about cleaning a stainless steel pan: I was heating a thin layer of olive oil in my big frying pan when I got distracted.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

September 23, 2009

I have a burnt on food stain on my stainless steel pan from oil. I have tried baking soda, vinegar, simmering water with baking soda and vinegar and soapy water.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

August 12, 2009

How do you clean burnt oil from a stainless steel pan?

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