Baking sheets, muffin tins, and other pans used in the oven often quickly look absolutely terrible after using them only once or twice. Cleaning off the baked on junk can be a real chore that requires a lot of effort. We’ll cover the best ways we know how to get burnt stuff of a pan so that you can choose the solution that works best for you or for what you may have handy around your home. Continue reading to learn the details of all the best methods for cleaning a sheet pan.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Method
Probably the most popular method for thoroughly cleaning baked on grease from sheet pans or muffin tins is sprinkling baking soda over the pan, sheet, or tin that needs cleaning and then spray with vinegar. Scrub a bit with steel wool or similarly rough pad and then let sit overnight. Scrub and rinse and repeat the process again incase all the burnt stuff isn’t completely removed. This method does require some elbow grease if you want to speed up the process but you can cut down the amount of effort if you have time to allow the vinegar and baking soda to sit and work its magic on the burnt on grease.
Oven Cleaner Method
A more controversial method for getting burnt stuff off a pan is to use oven cleaner. You can spray your cookie sheet or pan thoroughly with the oven cleaner and then scrub with steel wool. This cleaner is much more harsh than baking soda and vinegar and you should use gloves if you plan to try it. You’ll also want to do so in a well ventilated area. Oven cleaner isn’t meant for this purpose and it can pit aluminum tins and pans so beware before trying it. After rinsing you may find you need to repeat the process but it should be more effective than baking soda and vinegar.
Dryer Sheet Method
Now this method sounds pretty nuts but it does work. There’s something about the chemicals in dryer sheets that is very good at breaking down burnt on grease on pans and tins. To do this you’ll want to fill your pan with soap and water or submerge it in your sink. Next add a dryer sheet and let it sit overnight. The next day you should have a nearly clean pan that will need only a little bit of scrubbing. Like the other processes, you may want to repeat the process again. This process is similar in effectiveness to baking soda and vinegar and isn’t as harsh as oven cleaner.
Can Coke clean a burnt pan?
Yes it can although we wouldn’t recommend it. Coke and most other soft drinks are acidic and will eventually break down the burnt stuff on a pan. It’s not clear how it will react to the pan itself though. Other methods are more well known and proven so messing around with Coke for how to clean burnt stuff off a pan really doesn’t make much sense.
Cleaning Burnt On Pan Buildup
The best method of the bunch is the baking soda and vinegar method. It is effective and much safer to use than oven cleaner. The dryer sheet method is the least effective of the bunch but does work. Results can be similar to baking soda and vinegar but it takes longer due to having to let it sit overnight for the process to work. Vinegar and baking soda works more quickly.
Again, if you decide to try the oven cleaner method take all the necessary precautions suggested on the product packaging. Oven cleaner is a very harsh cleaner and should be treated with respect. That said, being the most aggressive solution of the bunch will produce the best results assuming you don’t overshoot the mark and damage your pans. That should only happen with aluminum pans though. Steel pans shouldn’t be damaged by oven cleaner.
No matter which route you decide for getting stubborn burnt food off a pan you’re almost certainly going to need to apply a little elbow grease to get the job done completely. Corners and crevices are notoriously difficult to clean. If you have heavy buildup in a crack or seam you’ll want to apply your chosen cleaning method more than once.
One last suggestion is to try more than one method. You may want to try a more delicate process first and then step up the harshness to more thoroughly clean your bakeware if it wasn’t thoroughly cleaned with the first method chosen.
Photo Credit: Lars Ploughman