How to Clean a Burnt Pan

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Have you ever had that moment in your kitchen where you feel just feel like a complete idiot. (Please tell me you've had it more than once, it will make me feel a lot better about myself...) 

Well, I had one of those moments just the other night. I was making popcorn on the stove (something I've done a thousand times...) and rather than take the pan off the stove once the popping stopped... for some reason I left it on. Not for too long. But long enough. 

To do this: 

Burn the bajeebers out of my metal pan. Honestly, I feel like this picture doesn't do justice to the situation. There was smoke billowing from the pan, the fire alarm went off and even though it was freezing outside I had all the windows and doors open so we wouldn't die from the smoke. 


After my anger at myself had subsided and I had eaten the bit of popcorn that didn't taste like an ashtray, I rolled up my sleeves and decided to face the pan. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and, etc, etc, and so forth. You get the picture. NOTHING came off the bottom of the pan. I believe the popcorn now thought of itself as "one" with my pan.

It was on. This was war. And I would win.

Thankfully, I have a trick up my sleeve for removing nasty burns from pans that I learned from my mom (who learned it from her sister who learned it from...). It's very helpful in situations like this.

So here it is, my trick for cleaning a burnt pan. For those moments when you feel very, very special in the kitchen. 

How to Clean a Burnt Pan

  1.  Place a decent amount of dish soap (without added water) directly on the burnt spots and scrub really well.
  2. Add hot water and scrub until lots of bubbles from.
  3. Place pan on the stove and bring the soapy water to a roaring boil. Boil until most of the water has evaporated.
  4. Allow to cool just enough so you can touch the water and pan without burning yourself, and scrape of the burnt bits with a sponge.
Works like a charm every time. 

Note: with my lovely little popcorn fiasco I had to repeat this method twice which I've never had to do before... But after I did, the pan looked like this:

Ha. I win. Better luck next time, popcorn...


  1. I sometimes make a paste out of baking powder and soap to do my pre scrub with instead of just soap

    1. I will have to give that a try, too. Thanks for the suggestion! <3

  2. Great post. This week over on Wildcrafting Wednesdays we’re hosting a special Hygiene Edition and this post would be perfect in the carnival. I’d love it if you would pop over and share this post with our readers.

  3. I love this blog! Thanks for existing and sharing all this helpful information. You're AWESOME! :)


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