How To Clean Burnt-On Stains Off Enameled Cookware

updated Jun 9, 2019
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(Image credit: Cat Meschia)

Ugh. The other day I walked away from a pot of sautéing onions for all of two minutes (okay, maybe more like 10 minutes), and came back to find this blackened, burned-on mess. Not only was my soup recipe ruined, but I also worried that my enameled pan was, too.

Happily, the method I’ll show you here not only saved my pot, but it also kept me from having to soak it for hours or, worse, risk ruining the enamel with an abrasive scrub. All that’s needed is one secret weapon I already had in my kitchen.

To get my little pot back in perfect shape, all it took was a quick simmer with water and — drumroll, please — a couple tablespoons of baking soda!

The method is simple: Let the water come to a boil, add the baking soda, and give everything a good stir. After a few minutes of simmering, use a wooden spoon (no metal on that enamel surface, please!) to nudge off the burned-on bits. Just like that, all that yucky stuff will release from the pot — minimal elbow grease required. Amazing, right?

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

According to the helpful Chowhound thread where I found this tip, the method works not just for burned-on onions, but also pots scorched with sugary jam and batches of vegetable soup left unattended. Just about any carbonized food stains will release from your enamel when treated this way.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

As you can see, my pot looks brand new once again! I’m so glad I learned this little trick.

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Start with your dirty pan: Ugh, not ideal, but totally fixable! (Image credit: Cat Meschia)

How To Clean Burnt Stains Off Enameled Cookware

What You’ll Need


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda


  • Wooden spoon
  • Kitchen towel


  1. Start with your dirty pan: Ugh, not ideal, but totally fixable!
  2. Place the pot on the stove: Pick a large-enough burner and put the pot on the stove. Then, pour in one quart of water.
  3. Turn on the heat: Set the burner to medium heat.
  4. Wait for it to boil: Wait for those telltale bubbles and for the water to begin boiling.
  5. Add baking soda: Add two tablespoons of baking soda and stir with a wooden spoon.
  6. Let it sit: Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Scrape: Use a wooden spoon to nudge the burned bits off of the pot.
  8. Inspect the water: The stains will release completely — you’ll be able to see all the burned bits floating in the water.
  9. Rinse: Pour the baking soda and water solution down the drain, rinse the pot with hot water, then wipe it dry.


  • If you have a very large pot to clean (or the burned on bits go far up the sides of the pot), just use more of the cleaning solution. For every quart of water, use two tablespoons of soda.
(Image credit: The Kitchn)