How to Remove Burnt Food From Stainless Steel Pots

Removing seriously stuck-on foods from pots can be a pain.

Stuck-On Food Fix

The following tips can cut the time and effort it takes.

Stove soak. Fill the pot or pan with a few drops of liquid dish soap and cold water to cover the stuck-on food. Heat the pan over medium heat for up to a half hour. The water in the pan will heat the stuck-on bits and make them easier to scrape off. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. When the water is warm enough to put a hand in the pot without injury, move the pot back into the sink.

Scrape. Run the edge of a hard plastic spatula along the smooth surfaces of the pan, paying special attention to the areas that feel rough. Keep the pot full of water as you scrape.

Buff. Rub the steel wool in light circular motions over any residual food stains. Move around the whole pot in gentle circles until no part of the pan feels rough, adding more liquid soap as needed.

Things You Will Need

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Water
  • Spatula (hard plastic)
  • Steel wool
  • Stovetop


  • While scrubbing with steel wool, be sure to keep the buffing gentle and circular to avoid scratching the pan.

About the Author

Sarah Greesonbach is a former teacher turned content and new media specialist whose career and personal finance writing has appeared on MSN Money, AOL Jobs and in the "Chicago Tribune" business section. She holds a Masters in Arts in teaching and a degree in English.