What's the Best Way to Clean a Burned Baking Sheet?

December  7, 2013

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: We bring you the best way to remove messes from your beloved baking sheets.

How to Clean a Baking Sheet on Food52

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We've all been there -- you know you're supposed to put down a layer of parchment, foil, or a Silpat when roasting or baking to protect the baking sheet and cut down on your cleaning time. But mistakes happen, and inevitably there are times you forget; vegetables roast for a few too many minutes or cookies cement themselves to the pan. Not to worry, you can erase those dark, burnt, crusty stains, and save your baking sheets -- without having to make any extra trips to the store.

On the Hotline this week, ATG117 sought an alternative cleaning method to Bar Keepers Friend, after having little luck with baking soda on a badly stained baking sheet:

  • Pastry Chef Shuna Lydon recommends pouring boiling water over the pan and allowing it to soak in the sink. Once the pan's grease has loosened, scrub with a stainless steel scrubber -- the non-soaped variety. If you don't have the proper scrubber on hand, try scrubbing it with fine sandpaper and kosher salt (with a gentle hand!).
  • To avoid this problem altogether, Lydon suggests using an enamel cast iron pan for roasting as it is naturally non-stick.
  • A more labor intensive solution from Adianne involves placing the baking sheet in a garbage bag filled a 1/2 cup of ammonia, and allowing it to soak, tightly sealed. After 24 hours, cutting a corner to carefully release the ammonia (doing so outside is safest), and dispose of the bag. 

How do you revive your beat up baking sheets? Tell us your method in the comments below!

Photo by James Ransom

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Lactose intolerant cheese lover, who will walk blocks for a good cup of coffee. Recently escaped the corporate world, after discovering her favorite part of the job was ordering catering.


Jeannie February 2, 2014
I always use parchment paper, way worth the cost of the paper:-)
Jane January 12, 2014
I put the pan in the sink, put in a scoop of Oxyclean, add hot water and let it sit overnight. Also works for le Creuset pots.
Paula Z. January 3, 2014
Usually Brillo Steel Pads work well. If not, use any oven rack cleaner and let the pan sit in the bag for a while. If it has non-stick coating, buy a new one.
Karen January 3, 2014
Allow pan to soak with hot water and a fabric-softener sheet or liquid softener.
Pamela December 8, 2013
For virtually effortless cleanup of a burnt baking pan fill it with boiling water as Elena suggested but add a couple tea bags and let sit overnight. You can wipe clean with a paper towell, no scrubbing, no toxic cleaners.
Michele S. December 8, 2013
Ditto pjcamp--put it in the oven on self-cleaning cycle. I have also used this method to clean badly carbonized pots and pans. Two warnings: while it eliminates the burnt on crud completely, it will darken stainless steel pans, and it appears to be permanent, although it doesn't seem to affect the cooking properties of the pan at all. Second point--I used this method on a large skillet with double handles. Afterward, we noticed that the rivets securing the handle were warped--evidently they are aluminum or something besides stainless steel. Fortunately, no harm done, the handles are still secure. Moral to the story--be aware that your pot or pan will emerge with no carbon, but darker, and take a good look at how handles are fastened before you use this method.
Flwrn December 8, 2013
We have DR. Bronners at several grocery stores here in Seattle area. Definitely at co-ops, trader Jo's, I also have ordered it on Amazon. Or you can go to their website.
I love the lavender and the eucalyptist scents, spouse loves peppermint. He smokes salmon and this is absolutely the best stuff for cleaning the smoker sheets after 8 hrs of smoking.
Flwrn December 8, 2013
Cover burnt area with water, add a squirt of Dr. Bronners soap and let sit overnight. Wash like usual in am! Works on almost everything.
Pam J. December 8, 2013
Where can I find Dr. Bronners' soap?
Katie Z. December 8, 2013
Any liquid castille soap should work the same- Whole Foods and natural food stores/ co-ops should stock them. I personally prefer Vermont Soap Company's "Liquid Sunshine."
Joel S. December 8, 2013
Sure easy. Fill pan with hot water and add one gel packet of Dawn Complete dishwasher detergent and let soak. I had some intense burnt pan drippings after cooking my turkey and this did the trick.
Dennis M. January 29, 2018
I was just going to add that... I used boiling water, and Cascade liquid dishwashher detergent in a Stainless Steel Cuisinart Thermal coffee pot that was literally hard caked BLACK inside.. put it in, went to bed... next morning... just poured it out, and rinsed.. Dishwasher detergent is Super Caustic.... that's why there are some things they say you just cant put in a dishwasher.. cuz the detergent will destroy them...
Andrew K. December 7, 2013
I use a paste of coarse sea salt and water. Works every time and is safe for all surfaces. No soaking required!
henandchicks December 7, 2013
There is a product called Carbon Off that works well on really burned pans. (It would have to be a pretty nice burned pan to justify the use, as the cleaner is expensive).
col December 7, 2013
yes wisekaren - this is a tip that has filtered through...just haven´t had occasion to use it yet!
however thanks for the reminder!
pjcamp December 7, 2013
Put it in the oven during a self clean cycle.
dymnyno December 7, 2013
I once put a few of my favorite frying pans in the oven during a self cleaning cycle. The came out looking perfect. However, the very intense heat of the cycle annealed all the pans and they subsequently became very rough and pitted.
wisekaren December 7, 2013
When I have burnt-on crud in a skillet or saute pan, I put it over medium heat and add 1/2 inch or so of distilled white vinegar. When the vinegar gets hot and starts to bubble, the crud easily scrapes off with a spatula—no scrubbing needed! This works with baking pans too, but you may have to put it over two burners, depending on the size, and you may not be able to add much vinegar, depending on how high the lip of the pan is.