Clean Burnt Pots and Pans in Minutes

Clean Burnt Pots and Pans

Tired of scrubbing pots and pans? This is the absolute easiest way I have found to clean burnt pots and pans that doesn’t require soaking or scrubbing!

I will freely admit I have burnt my fair share of pots and pans. I like to cook, but I’m easily distracted in the kitchen. I’m always trying to do too many things at once. Unfortunately multi-tasking and cooking don’t go hand in hand.

The other night when I was making dinner, I had my chicken in the oven and quinoa on the stovetop and I went in the other room to check twitter (don’t judge me people…it’s addicting). I was making this Parmesan Lemon Chicken from Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke (which was quite good by the way…two thumbs up from all the kids), and completely forgot about the quinoa. Of course when I came back in, I had a burnt pot. I salvaged what I could of the quinoa, and set to work cleaning my pot.

How to Clean Burnt Pots and Pans in Minutes

  • Add a tablespoon of powder dish detergent to your burnt pot or pan, then add water.
  • Bring to a boil on the stovetop. I usually find 15 minutes is enough time, but if you want to check to see the progress, drag a spoon or any other stirring utensil along the side of your pot to make sure the burnt pieces are coming off.
  • After dumping your water out, give your pot a few swipes around with a scrubby sponge or brillo pad and everything that is left should come off fairly easily.

 What’s your best tip for cleaning a burnt pot?


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  1. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this, because you do not know how many times I have had dirty pots and pans having trouble cleaning them here. So, I totally pinned when I need it now!! :)

  2. says

    This is a great tip — I think we’ve all been there. When you saw powdered detergent, do you mean the stuff I put int the dishwasher? Typically I pull out the SOS pad and go for elbow grease. This sounds much easier!

  3. says

    Did you write this tip for me, Michelle? 😉 I am the queen of burnt pots…forever distracted and running back and forth to the computer! Thanks for the tip – Going to pin it in case, er, when, it happens again.

  4. says

    You must have known I need this. I have a pot right now soaking int he sink from yesterday that I refuse to clean lol I am about to go and try this method.

  5. says

    This is great. We have a big lobster pot that we use to make popcorn..or rather..Cassidy uses to make popcorn. The one time I tried I managed to burn the bottom of the pan in three places.
    Cassidy said, “I didn’t actually know it was possible to burn the pan that badly!”

  6. says

    Very good tip! I find just letting it sit in the sink overnight with soap helps too – I’m usually in no rush anyway. 😀 I’ve also heard of boiling water with vinegar and baking soda but never tried it. Have a great one Michelle! -Iva

  7. says

    This is such a great idea! And I am with Tamara, those popcorn stains are the worst! I stopped making popcorn in a pan because I just didn’t want to deal with the cleaning.

  8. says

    Definitely need to try this! As a non-cook and more pots burnt than I care to admit, my husband just rolls his eyes. We have a Mr. Scrubbie (I think that’s the name) and it’s saving my life… and making my husband think I’ve learned a thing or 2. Seriously, the best thing ever… until I read this!
    xo ~kim

  9. says

    Great tip! I’ve found it works without even boiling water in it though(none of those ackky fumes either). Just fill with hot water a splash of dish soap and a sprinkling of powdered dishwasher detergent. Let it sit for 30 minutes or more and VOILA- it wipes right off!

    • says

      I’ll have to try that too, Kari! I’ve soaked with dish soap before (not the powdered dishwasher detergent though) with limited luck…depends on how bad the pot is burned. I’ll try letting it sit with the powdered too.

  10. says

    Are…you…KIDDING ME?!?!?!?! This is SO VERY AWESOME!!! I have never had any trick like this and, the way that I cook, it could have come in handy dozens of times in the past year alone. WOW!! This is fantastic!! Whoo Hoo!! You rock!! Who knew???!!!! Thanks!! –Lisa

  11. says

    Great tip! I’ll be the first to admit that if it’s burnt bad enough it just goes in the trash. I’m for sure going to try this next time.

  12. says

    Wow what a great tip! Not that I ever, ever burn a pot!! ( Please, I burn them so often that the kids will walk in the kitchen and say, “Did you do it again?”) I have never heard this one before, can’t wait to try it. I’m sure I will get to very shortly!! Lol!

  13. says

    I’m always trying to multitask while I’m cooking also and have burnt many pans over the years. I have seen my husband do something similar when a pan really has the food cooked in and definitely seems to do the trick!

  14. says

    This is brilliant…. Love cleaning, love not having to kill myself while cleaning. Saving this one on desktop for easy reference til it is burned into my mind. Not that I burn a lot, I have a teenager!!!!

  15. says

    Oh my goodness! Thanks for the tip—I already have tried the boiling technique but never tried it with powdered detergent-love that. I am sure that works like a charm (I am remembering Chemistry from college how detergent breaks down other elements, lol:) Pinning it for a great household tip. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend!

  16. says

    Brillo pads have come in useful many a time when it comes to burnt on-gunk. Powdered dish detergent? Is that for dishwashers? I guess I’m thinking of dish soap because I don’t have a dish washer–I have heard that dishwasher detergent is a lot more powerful

    • says

      I like Brillo pads too, but I hate the scrubbing. I still use them with cleanup…it’s just a lot faster this way. I use powdered dish detergent for dishwashers.

  17. says

    Thank you, because I just burnt a pot today! I usually boil a mixture of baking soda and vinegar in it, but that still requires a lot of scrubbing.

  18. says

    It’s been awhile since I burnt a pot. I can remember burning one so bad I threw it away. My husband was so mad at me because it was a “before me” pot that his mom gave him. Now I know they were really good pots (Magnelite?) I should look on eBay and see if I can find once. Anyway there’s a candy I make once a year, while I don’t burn it, the pots is very had to clean and I just let it soak forever. It slows up the process because I like to make batches back to back for gifts. I’ve pinned it. Now watch I burn something in the next week.

  19. says

    This is great, I actually avoid buying stainless steel pans for this very reason, the cleanup is just brutal! Usually I lets my pots soak overnight but this is a great solution!

  20. says

    I usually use kerosene and a blowtorch. But ambulance rides being as costly as they are …

    I’m going to try this. When I make hashbrowns, I do this. Every time. I keep scraping with the spatula and can’t figure out where all the hashbrowns are going, until I realize they’re all caked and burnt on to the bottom of the plan.

    • says

      I try to stay away from the blowtorches. Matches too. I only use one of those long handled lighters. Haha. That’s the only way I can start a fire in the fireplace. Yes, you definitely want to stay away from ambulance rides…had that experience. BIG bill. It might be safer to make hash browns in the oven for me.

  21. says

    I’ve been doing this with regular liquid dishwashing liquid. I don’t use the dishwasher (that’s an entire blog post) so I don’t have dishwasher powder, but I might invest in some if the results are even better than what I’ve been achieving, Michelle.

  22. says

    Useful tip since I have burnt a few pots while cooking. My husband usually uses boiling coffee to clean burnt gritle, I wonder if it would work on burnt pots as well… we didn’t try it there.. yet!

  23. says

    I’ll have to give this a try. I’m notoriously guilty of burning things because I always have the heat set too high. I’m an impatient cook :)

  24. says

    That is awesome Michelle! I add a downy dryer sheet to a burnt pot, or one with food harshly stuck, fill it with water, and let it soak over night. Then the next day they wipe out easily!

  25. says

    OMG…so trying this…thought I don’t use my pots as much as I use my cast iron skillets. My hubby would be so thrilled to see clean pots though.

  26. says

    I have never tried that, definitely will have to. Usually if I put it to soak right away with some water and dish soap it works, but there have been times where more is needed.

  27. says

    Well this was certainly a popular post! Look at all those comments! :) What a great idea. I’m pinning this to my Cleaning tips and tricks board. Thanks for co-hosting with us this week!

  28. says

    It’s like you have been hanging out in my kitchen Michelle! This is a great tip. Thanks again for hosting with us at Let’s Get Real. We will make sure this gets pinned to our Let’s Get Real board so that you can save lots of us Twitter addicted food burners.

  29. says

    Michelle, this is a terrific post that anyone who cooks can use for reference! I’m so pinning this! Thank you for joining in our #PinUP Pin Party… Hope to see you again, there’s a new one every Friday :)

    • says

      You know I’ve never burnt a cookie sheet before, but if it has sides I would probably try the same thing and just put it in the oven. I’ve also heard baking soda and peroxide works, but I’ve never tried it. You might want to google it…I bet there is plenty of solutions out there! Good luck!

  30. says

    Can’t wait to try it, Michelle! But you know what will happen now — I’ll magically stop burning pots! Wonder if this would have worked on the worst burnt pan of my life. It was when I was in 6th grade and a friend came for a sleepover and had her toothbrush loose in her purse! Well, I’ve always been a germaphobe and I insisted she needed to sterilize it. Got the idea of boiling it and so proceeded, then, of course, forgot all about it till the acrid smoke came streaming out of the kitchen!


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