Kitchen Nightmares: Cleaning Scorched and Burnt Food Off Pots and Pans

Kitchen Nightmares: Cleaning Scorched and Burnt Food Off Pots and Pans

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Emma Christensen
Oct 26, 2016

Has this ever happen to you?

We'd just finished enjoying a home-cooked meal and went back to the kitchen for cleanup to find this. Scorched food burnt to the bottom of the pan.

Sigh.

Whoops. We were searing something and took it a little too far, or we were making soup and didn't realize the bottom burned until it was too late. It happens.

And when it does, here are a few things we try.

1. Deglaze the pan. If it's a stainless steel or enamel pan (not nonstick), put the empty pot on the stove and crank the heat up to high. When a drop of water sizzles and evaporates immediately, pour in a cup of room-temperature water. After the steam cloud dissipates, scrape the pan mercilessly with a wooden spoon or spatula.

If that doesn't work ...

2. Soak and sit. Fill the pan with warm water and dish soap, and let it sit for a few hours. Use the rough side of a scrubbie and some elbow grease to work away the burnt food.

If that doesn't work ...

3. Simmer and soak. Fill the pot with water, add a healthy squirt of dish soap, and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. Let the pot cool for 30 minutes and then use a scrubbie or a wooden spatula to scrape up the burnt residue.

If that doesn't work ...

We've also heard that baking soda works wonders, either made into a paste to soak the mess or dissolved into water and boiled.

How do you clean your worst burnt-on messes?

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