How Do You Remove Burnt Sugar From a Pan?

Burnt sugar is an unavoidable stain that can leave marks on even the best stainless steel pans, whether making caramelized sugar for flan or cooking a cheesecake with a thick sugar syrup on top. Sugar is difficult to remove from cookware, and attempting to chisel off a pan’s thick layer of burnt sugar can harm the cookware.

There are a few tried-and-true ways to clean a pan of burnt sugar that doesn’t require much effort and won’t hurt your good cookware. Sugar can be boiled or softened in a pan with just a few basic items:

How Do You Remove Burnt Sugar From a Pan?

There are a variety of straightforward methods for removing pan discoloration. However, burnt sugar traces on a pan can be more difficult to remove, so you may need to follow more specific rules and procedures. Here are some approaches you can take.

1. Baking Soda And Vinegar Method

This method is the heat-free way to remove light to moderate caramelized sugar residues from your pots and pans. This technique is safe for any pot or pan and does not require harsh chemical cleaners. However, you may require a bit of elbow grease to clear your scorched pan. You will need the following:

What’s Necessary

  • Hot water
  • Soda Sodium
  • Caustic acid
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge or brush scrubbing implement

Step 1: Fill the baking dish with baking soda, water, and vinegar.

Fill the pan with enough water and vinegar to cover the charred sugar. Gradually incorporate one or two cups of baking soda while stirring. The mixture should generate a few bubbles. This reaction is vital for removing stains from your utensils and pans. Simmering vinegar is preferable on heavy stains, but it is not required.

Step 2: Permit it to sit overnight.

The solution should rest overnight. As the sugar rests, the vinegar should soften it, while the baking soda helps remove the burnt sugar’s stains. The following day, the color of the water should resemble caramelized sugar.

Step 3: Drain and Scrub

Do not cleanse the pan after pouring out the solution. Using a cleaning sponge, scrub the residual bits of burnt sugar from the pan until you can no longer see or feel any residue. Caution should be taken when scrubbing nonstick pans, as you may remove the nonstick coating.

‍Step 4: Wash as Normal

Rinse the pan and wash it as you typically would with dish soap and warm water. If the previous cleansing sponge was stained with caramelized sugar, replace it with a new one. Ensure that you also clean the exterior of the pan.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Rinse the pan and repeat the procedure to remove any remaining traces. For stubborn stains, spot-clean the burned pan with viscous vinegar and baking soda paste. Baking soda, water, and vinegar should be sufficient for milder stains.

2. Bar Keeper’s Friend (BKF)

Bar Keeper’s Friend, also known as BKF, is a surface polisher and cleaner used on ceramic, tile, stainless steel,  fiberglass, porcelain, and many other types of tables. BKF is typically used for countertops, but this powerful powder is also useful for removing burnt sugar from cookware.

However, it is essential to note that you must check the material of your pan and ensure that it is compatible with BKF to avoid damaging the pan. The following items are required for this technique.

  • BKF in powder form
  • A sponge (used for cleaning utensils and pans in particular).


  • Spread BKF across the pan’s surface.
  • Allow two to three minutes to pass.
  • Utilize the cleaning sponge to delicately rub and wipe the surface in a circular motion. This will assist in dislodging the scorched sugar granules. There will be no need for scrubbing at this point because the cleanser will have already begun to degrade the sugar.
  • When dealing with stubborn pieces and clumps of burnt sugar, you can combine the powder and water to form a paste.
  • Before using the sponge, allow the material to sit for 2-3 minutes.
  • You can now obtain the cleansing sponge and use circular motions to remove the burned sugar from the pan.

3. Method With Hydrogen Peroxide

Also effective for removing stains without scouring is hydrogen peroxide. For this procedure, you must prepare hydrogen peroxide and your oven.

The Method:

  • Pour enough hydrogen peroxide into the pan to saturate the bottom.
  • Prepare your cooktop and bring water to a simmer.
  • As simmering hydrogen peroxide can be intense, ensure the room is well-ventilated, and a window is open.
  • After boiling, reduce heat to a simmer for ten minutes.
  • You can remove the stains from the pots and pans with minimal effort.

4. Method With Softening Fabric Sheets

Prepare the following items for the fabric softener sheeting method:

  • A sufficient quantity of fabric detergent sheets
  • One teaspoon of fabric softener (optional).
  • As much water as necessary.
  • Specially designed sponge for dishwashing

The Method:

  • Fill 1/4 of the saucepan with water.
  • Place the pan on the cooktop and bring it to a boil over low heat.
  • Take the pan off the burner.
  • Introduce the fabric softener sheet.
  • You can leave the pan for a few hours, or you can leave it overnight.
  • Remove the sheet before using the cleaning sponge to scour the surface.
  • Follow the instructions below if you are using fabric softener as a replacement.
  • Stir it thoroughly into simmering water after adding the ingredients.
  • Leave the pan overnight or for several hours.
  • Cleanse it as usual.
  • Cleanse the pan thoroughly with soapy water to avoid residue, regardless of your chosen method.

Other Techniques for Removing Burnt Sugar from a Pan Soaking

5. Soaking

Soaking burnt or adhered ingredients in water is a simple and common method for removing them. Add dish detergent to the mixture and let it marinate overnight to increase its effectiveness.

In addition to immersing your pan in soapy water, you can apply a thick layer of ketchup to the bottom.

The acidity of ketchup away at the burnt sugar clean-simplify the chance to be out of ketchup. You can use the following as a substitute:

6. Coca-Cola

  • Fabric softener
  • Dishwashing Tablet

Tablets for dishwashing can also be useful for removing stubborn discoloration. These granules are intended to dissolve food or ingredients that have become caked. Simply fill the pan with water and place the tablet like a bath bomb for this practical method.

Put the saucepan on the stovetop and bring the water to a simmer. Reduce it to a simmer for ten minutes once it has reached a boil.

7. Cream Of Tartar

This culinary ingredient is also mildly abrasive, which makes it ideal for scrubbing burned sugar off a pan. Additionally corrosive, cream of tartar aids in the dissolution of adhered food.

Mixing cream of tartar and white vinegar into a paste is required for this method. Then, you can scrub the scorched sugar away with the mixture.

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