Why Do Pots Keep Burning After They Have Burned Once?

Washing a burnt pot in a sink.
If you have ever burned a cooking pot you may notice that it seems to continue to burn when used later. One possible reason for this could be that the pot has been warped creating an uneven heating surface. This is a page about, "Why do pots keep burning after they have burned once?".


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January 24, 2008

What causes pots to burn almost every time they are used, after they have burned once? They are clean and spotless.

Charlie from Southwest, LA


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 146 Posts
February 22, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Good Morning Charlie,

I've had a few problems with pots scorching or burning foods, and often times they'll "stick" to the pot in just certain places. I was told that stainless steel (especially stainless steel) often has "hot spots" which is the culprit to blame for food burning even if cooked on a medium temperature. I had a really nice stainless steel 6 qt. pressure cooker which I often used as a "soup pot"without using the "pressure", and almost invariably, the food would scorch in the same spot on the bottom every time unless it was stirred continuously while cooking.


Even when used as a pressure cooker though, it would scorch in that one spot, so I have to believe that "hot spots" do occur in certain pots. I don't know if there is anything we can do to "fix it" either. Since that pressure cooker pot was heavier than most stainless steel pots, I honestly don't think it had warped, but maybe it was warped in the process of manufacturing it. I don't know. I've never had a "hot spot" occur in a heavy aluminum pot, and even though I've often heard cautioning against using aluminum pots for any cooking (said to contribute to causing Alzheimers), I will never give up my huge oval roaster. I'm 75 now, and have been using it for at least 50 years without getting too terribly addled (so far).


You might try just lower temperatures for cooking if you're having problems though, and very careful watching or attention to stirring or moving foods around more while you're cooking. If it's only certain pots causing the problems, I might just hit the nearest "thrift store" to find a new pot, or as someone else mentioned, stick to cast iron which are probably the best pots and skillets to use for lots of reasons anyway.

All the best,
Julia in Boca Raton, FL

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By dar (Guest Post)
January 27, 20080 found this helpful

If you have burned something just once, it will warp the skillet or pan. This means, every time you try to cook you have to watch it as being warped means the butter, oil or what have you will get done on one side just fine, while the other side burns, because everything goes to one side.


One side has the butter or oil and the other side none or just barely some and so the burning problem. Sorry I have that problem also and am seriously thinking about buying cast iron pans and skillets, because you do not have to put up with this then! dar

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By (Guest Post)
January 28, 20080 found this helpful

If you don't want to replace them, try spraying them with a cooking spray (before every use) and use less intense heat. I spray everything with that spray (pans and utensils). Sure makes clean-up a lot easier! My husband has a tendancy to use the highest heat setting available...just because it's there!

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