How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans (and Skip All the Scrubbing)

Hint: deglazing isn't just a cooking technique.

One of the best things about high-quality stainless steel pans is that you can use them to cook at very high temperatures—and can even pop them into the oven to finish a dish. But all that high-heat cooking can mean a burnt-on mess (especially if you're not watching carefully). The trick to cleaning a burnt stainless steel pan without spending hours scrubbing is to deglaze the pan while it's still hot. The high temperatures that got you into this mess in the first place can actually help loosen up stuck-on food bits. Follow these steps to clean your stainless steel pans so they look shiny and new again.

What You'll Need:

  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Dish soap
  • Long-handled nylon dish brush (such as this one)
  • Soft sponge
  • Silicone pan scraper (such as this one)
  • Baking soda (optional)

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans:

  1. Once the food has been removed from the pan, put it back on the burner and turn on the heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, pour in about one cup of water. Careful, this should create some steam and may bubble up.
  2. Using the wooden spoon or spatula, scrape away all of the burnt bits of food and sauce, which the heat and steam should have loosened up.
  3. Turn off the heat and let the pan cool down. Add in a squirt of dish soap, then use a long-handled brush to remove any remaining food bits and break down the oil.
  4. Move the pan over to the sink. At this point, most of the grime should simply rinse away. Using a soft sponge and warm, soapy water, clean the entire pan, scrubbing in a circular motion. (Note: for stainless steel appliances, always scrub in the direction of the grain.) Rinse the pan thoroughly and dry it off completely before putting it away.
  5. Cleaning burn marks: If there are very stubborn stains on your stainless steel pan, try this trick after following the steps above. Mix baking soda with water to form a paste. Using a soft sponge, apply the paste to the pan and scrub in a circular motion. Rinse the pan and dry it.
Was this page helpful?
Related Articles