How to Clean a Burnt Pot

Here’s how to make a burnt mess a thing of the past.

  • Team Made In
  • Jul 14, 2022
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Cooking with Stainless Steel or Non Stick Cookware should be fun. But cleaning up, well, that’s always the bad part. Add in a way overdone egg or a scorched pan of rice that is burnt and stuck to the bottom, and the situation goes from bad to worse.

Unfortunately, even the best and most high performance Stainless Clad and Non Stick Cookware is not exempt from an overdone dinner mistake. But that doesn’t mean they’re ruined. If you’re looking to learn about how to clean a burnt pot, here are some tried and true methods that will help you get your favorite Cookware back in shape and have you cooking a new dish in no time.

Our Favorite for Stainless: Made In Like New Cleaner

Our Stainless Steel Cleaner was specifically designed to restore Stainless Clad pots and pans back to their original shine. With lower pH levels than a lemon, this cleanser is a great choice for cleaning burnt stains or scorched pots.

Please note that this formula is designed for Stainless Steel pots and pans. It can be used on the Stainless Clad exterior of our Non Stick Cookware, but not the interior.

Best for: Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Runner Up for Stainless: Bar Keeper’s Friend

When it comes to a seriously burnt mess, sometimes you need a product that has been proven to cut the grime.

After just one use, scorched pots and pans look brand-new by simply using a few shakes of the powdery product while scrubbing under hot water in circular motions. A few minutes later the burnt stains are gone and your pots will be shining brightly again.

Best For: Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Our Favorite for Non Stick: Baking Soda

When burnt stains are affecting the shine of your favorite Stainless Clad pots and pans, baking soda is a simple solution to restore them to their former glory.

Add baking soda to the bottom and top with boiling water. Once the solution cools down, rinse and wash with dish soap. If your pot is seriously scorched, just let the baking soda sit with a few drops of water overnight before rinsing.

Best For: Non Stick and Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Runner Up for Non Stick: Hydrogen Peroxide

A great no scrubbing solution for burnt pots and pans is hydrogen peroxide. Just fill the bottom of the burnt pan with a ½ inch of hydrogen peroxide and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

We recommend performing this with a mask on or with the windows open, as the scent can be overpowering.

Best For: Non Stick and Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

More Suggestions:

If none of the above options worked, it’s time to try something else. While the options above are our personal favorites. Here are some more suggestions to turn to in case of really bad scorching.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

If your pot is seriously scorched, this fizzy method is a good way to eliminate the blackened mess for good. You’ll need unflavored white vinegar and baking soda for this method.

Add enough baking soda to cover the burnt spots, then a splash of vinegar (roughly a 2:1 ratio), then wait for the vinegar to react with the baking soda and fizz. After a few minutes, the scorched portions should lift off easily when you rinse with dish soap and warm water.

Best For: Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Boiled Lemons

One of the easiest ways to clean burnt food is by using the lemons you probably already have handy—and the best part is, this method requires little to no elbow grease or heavy scrubbing.

Simply cut up three lemons and put them in the burnt pan with some water. Cover and bring to a boil for seven to ten minutes, and wait for burnt food particles to float to the top. Clean the pan as usual and any reminder from your botched dinner is now gone forever.

Best For: Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Aluminum Foil

When you want that “new pan look,” turn to aluminum foil to work its magic.

First, add three tablespoons of baking soda to the burnt pan along with warm water to make a paste. Grab the foil and crumple it up to use as a scouring pad, then gently scrub the burnt spots. Rinse the pan with hot, soapy water and your pot should be good as new.

Best For: Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Dishwasher Tablets

Just because your pans aren’t dishwasher safe doesn’t mean you can’t enlist the help of a dishwasher cleaner to clean your pans.

Add a dishwasher tablet and hot water to the scorched pan, then stir the mixture until the tablet dissolves. After soaking overnight, wash as usual for a fully restored Stainless Steel or Non Stick pot.

Best For: Non Stick and Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Boiled Water

Fans of Non Stick Cookware will appreciate this easy method for cleaning burnt-on messes.

Once your pot is scorched, first try to remove as much of the dried food as you can with a wooden spoon or spatula. Then, add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot or pan and return to the stove. Add a dash of dish soap and bring to a boil—the burnt pieces will loosen up, which makes scrubbing off the burnt bits much easier.

Best For: Non Stick Pots and Pans


Yes, you read that right—Kosher salt, known for its coarseness, is great for cleaning greasy, scorched pans.

Add some salt, dish soap, and hot water to remove the burnt mess by scrubbing with a cut lemon for a like-new shine.

Best For: Stainless Steel Pots and Pans


The extra can of cola that’s been sitting in your fridge for a few weeks has its moment in the spotlight with this cleaning method.

Simply pour your soda of choice directly in the burnt pan while it is still hot. The carbonation will loosen the burned-on food so you can easily wash away the grimy mess.

Best For: Non Stick and Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

Cleaning Methods to Avoid for a Burnt Pot

While the above tried and true methods are a sure way to resolve your burnt on kitchen disasters, be sure to avoid these cleaning methods that claim to clean but only waste your time and put your high quality cookware at risk for more damage.

  • Ketchup
  • Cream of Tatar
  • Dryer Sheet

No matter how badly you botch dinner, rest assured that your favorite Stainless Clad and Non Stick pots can be easily cleaned with one of these helpful methods.

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Born out of a 100-year old, family-owned restaurant supply business, we work to ensure our Cookware is as detail oriented as the chefs who choose to use it in their kitchens.

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