How to Remove Baked on Grease From Pans

By Heloise Blause Updated August 18, 2021

Save your pans and your money with these simple cleaning tips

How to Remove Baked on Grease From Pans

If you love to cook, you probably know that pans can become a bit gross after time. And when you cook at high heat, grease can become burnt onto the pan surface. Even scrubbing can’t get it off.

It may seem like tossing the pans is the best option, but this is a waste of money. That’s why we’ve created this simple guide to removing baked on grease from pans.

And you don’t need expensive cleaners or complicated tactics, just know-how. We’ll help you make cleaning even your worst pans simple and easy.

Remove Baked on Grease From Bottom of Frying Pans with Baking Soda

  • Create a paste of baking soda and vinegar

  • Spread paste thickly over the bottom of pan like cake icing

  • Let it sit for a few hours. Mist with vinegar to keep moist

  • Wash with soap and water, then rinse

How to Remove Baked On Grease From Pans

How To Clean Baked on Grease from Pans

The following methods are effective to clean baked on grease from all sorts of pans. This include:

Quick Note

However, you’ll need to follow a specific method for cleaning a bare cast iron pan. The following methods are not meant for seasoned cast iron, which requires a prescribed method to preserve the seasoning.

Non-stick pans, both ceramic and Teflon are compatible with most of our methods. The only one you want to avoid for non-stick pans is the Bar Keeper’s Friend method. It’s not recommended for the coating on non-stick pans.

No matter which method you follow, be sure not to scrub too heavily.

Remove Burnt Grease Inside of the Pan

We’ll take you step by step through three different methods for cleaning the inside of your pans. Because we’re dealing with the cooking surface, these methods are gentle as well as eco-friendly, with ingredients that you can find in your kitchen.

Boiling Water and Dishsoap

Dish soap is an efficient way to remove stubborn residue. It contains surfactants, which aid in releasing and lifting grease from your pans.

What You Need


1. Add Water and Soap

Add about an inch of water to cover the bottom of the pan. Then squirt in about a tablespoon of dish soap or non-lemon dish detergent.

2. Bring to a boil

Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the soapy water cool in the pan.

3. Scrape the Residue

Use a sponge, scrubbing pad, or wooden utensil to remove the clean baked gunk from the inside of the pan.

4. Rinse

Rinse out the pan, and wipe dry. Repeat the process if necessary.(1)

Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Dish Soap

This method is a combination of three powerful ingredients to remove grease.

Baking soda is a mineral abrasive. When mixed with water, it creates a compound that efficiently scours residue like grease and stains(2).

Sodium bicarbonate is also an alkaline substance. When mixed with hot grease, there is a saponification effect. This means it creates a soapy foam and can be used to remove grease.

White vinegar is a common household cleaner. It can remove mold and mildew, as well as mineral deposits. It is also an excellent deodorizer(3). When mixed with dish soap, these compounds formulate a powerful grease-cutting solution.

What You Need


1. Fill Your Pan

Fill the frying pan halfway up with warm water. Add about a half cup of white distilled vinegar. Sprinkle this mixture with a quarter to a half cup of baking soda. The mixture will foam.

2. Add Dish Soap

Drizzle soap over the foaming mixture in the pan. The foam will start to bubble, and you’ll notice the burnt grease begin to release. Let this soak for at least 30 minutes (longer is fine).

3. Scrub Your Pan

Dump the water mixture into the sink, and use a sponge or scouring pad to wipe off the baked on grease. It should come off easily.

4. Rinse and Dry

Rinse out the gunk lifted by the sponge. Don’t forget to dry. To watch the entire process, you can view this YouTube video.

Salt and Lemon Juice

Salt and lemon each contain ideal characteristics for cleaning. Citric acid is not only non-toxic but antibacterial and antiseptic as well. Salt is a natural abrasive that uses friction to remove detritus and grease. Together, lemon juice and salt make a highly effective cleaner.

What You Need


1. Prepare a Lemon

Slice a lemon in half. Then, dip the sliced side into salt. (Table salt or sea salt will work equally well).

2. Scrub

Rub the salt-covered lemon on the pan surface to release residue. Continue until the stains are gone.

3. Wash As Usual

Now all you have to do is wash and rinse your frying pan as usual. It should look just like new!(4)

Remove Burnt Grease Inside and Outside of the Pan

Powerful yet gentle, the following techniques can be used for cleaning both the inside and outside of the pan.

Baking Soda

As explained, baking soda is an excellent method to get rid of oil stains that have built up on your pan over time.

What You Need


For the inside of the pan, do the following:

1. Fill the Pan

Add one cup of white vinegar to your pan. Next, add a cup of baking soda.

2. Bring to a Boil

Put your pan over heat, and bring the mixture to a boil. Allow the mixture to cool, then drain and scrub residue with a dishcloth.

3. Wash and Rinse

Give the inside of the pan a quick rub down with soapy water. Then rinse and dry.

For the outside of the pan, follow these steps:

1. Create a Paste

Mix baking soda and vinegar to create a spreadable paste.

2. Spread on Pan

Spread this paste onto the bottom and sides of the pan as if icing a cake. Allow it to sit like this for a few hours.

3. Keep Paste Moist

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar. Spritz the paste on the pan every so often to keep it moist.

4. Wash and Rinse

Wash the pan as usual with soap and water. Then rinse and dry.

Cream Of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a very mild acid salt. With just a little water, you can make it into a paste and use it to clean and brighten metals like brass and copper. It can also be used to remove rust, shine aluminum, and freshen coffee makers.

Mixed with vinegar, it can be used as a non-abrasive mildew remover for grout, and a cleaner for oven tops and cookware.

In this method, it’s efficient enough to be used on its own.

What You Need


1. Create a Paste

Use water and cream of tartar powder to make a paste. It should not be liquid, but thick and spreadable.

2. Spread on Pan

Spread the cream of tartar paste directly on to the greasy spots of your frying pan. Allow it to soak for ten minutes

3. Rinse and Scrub

Rinse your pan, and then scrub the residue using a Magic Eraser scrubbing pad. To watch the process, you can visit this YouTube video.

Bar Keeper’s Friend

In this method, we recommend Bar Keeper’s Friend. But you may also use other commercial cleaners such as Bon Ami, Elbow Grease, or Cameo.

Keep in mind that this method is not recommended for non-stick cookware since it may damage the coating.

Also, be sure to wear gloves when handling commercial cleaners, or wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

What You Need


1. Apply Cleaner

Wet the areas that you want to clean. Then, sprinkle a small amount of Bar Keepers Friend over the dirty areas.

2. Rub It In

Using a wet washcloth or sponge, gently rub the product over the stains. Add more Bar Keepers Friend, if necessary. Allow it to sit for a minute or two.

3. Rinse and Dry

Rinse the pan thoroughly until all product and residue are gone. Dry the pan.(5)

Remove Burnt Grease Outside of the Pan

The following methods are specifically for cleaning the outside of a pot or pan.


Ketchup is made up of tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar, so it has acetic acid. And as we explained, vinegar removes both mold and mildew, mineral deposits, grease, and deodorizes as well.

What You Need


1. Apply ketchup

Apply a liberal layer of ketchup to the bottom of your burned pan. Let the ketchup sit for an hour.

2. Wipe

Use a soft sponge to wipe the ketchup (and debris) from the bottom of the pan.

3. Rinse

Rinse the ketchup and debris from the pan under clean water and dry. To see this method done, check out this YouTube video.

Coca Cola

Coca cola is a combination of water, sugar, phosphoric acid, caramel color, caffeine, and flavors. Phosphoric acid is more powerful than acid found in vinegar and lemon juice, yet is still very mild.

It’s commonly used to remove rust, and is helpful in removing bathroom stains. Phosphoric acid can be found commercially in tub, tile, and toilet bowl cleaners. It’s also an excellent grease remover for cookware.

What You Need


1. Add Baking Soda

Flip your pan upside down to expose the burned bottom. Sprinkle well with a layer of baking soda.

2. Apply Cola

Soak a paper towel in Coca Cola, then lay it on top of the baking soda layer. Allow it to sit for about an hour.

3. Scrub the Pan

Remove the towel, and then use a soft sponge to wipe off the cola. Rinse off the remaining gunk, and then dry.

Soap and Mustard

Mustard is a combination of mustard seed, vinegar, salt, and lemon juice. As explained previously, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt are all efficient at removing baked-on grease. Dish soap surfactants excel at this as well, so the combination is powerful.

What You Need


1. Grate Soap

Grate hard soap into a bowl.

2. Create a paste

Add mustard powder and water to your soap to create a spreadable paste and apply to the bottom of your burned frying pan. Let it sit for 30 minutes.

3. Scrub the Bottom of the Pan

Start with a hard utensil like a spatula. Scrape it along the bottom to try to get the dirt to come off in one big piece. Then scrub any remaining residue with a sponge.

4. Rinse

Rinse your frying pan with clear water and dry.


Potatoes contain a chemical called oxalic acid, an efficient rust remover. When you combine this with baking soda, it creates an effective natural cleaner.(6)

What You Need


1. Grate Potato

Grate one potato into a bowl.

2. Create your paste

Add a tablespoon of baking powder to the grated potato and mix well. Spread this combination on the bottom of the pan and let sit for 30 minutes.

3. Wipe and scrub

Wipe the paste away with a towel, then scrub any extra debris with a sponge.

4. Rinse

Give the pan a rinse in clean water, and dry.


Like lemons, grapefruit contains citric acid–an excellent natural cleaner.

What You Need


1. Prepare the grapefruit

Cut the entire grapefruit into pieces, preserving the skin. Place in a blender and liquify as much as possible. (The texture should be pulpy)

2. Spread on Pan

Take your grapefruit mash and spread it on the bottom of the pan. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.

3. Wipe

Use your towel to wipe the grapefruit blend from the bottom of the pan. If you notice any residual scorch marks, use a soft sponge to remove them. Rub gently in a circular motion.

4. Rinse

Rinse your pan with clean water and dry.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Used as a bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide is also effective at removing baked on grease from your cookware.

What You Need


1. Apply peroxide

Apply a generous layer of hydrogen peroxide onto the bottom of your frying or baking pans. Let it sit for about 30 minutes.

2. Scrub

Use a soft sponge to clean baked residue and burn marks from the bottom of your pan. Rinse with clean water and dry

Oven Cleaner

You want to avoid using oven cleaner on the inside of your pots and pans. The harsh chemicals can damage the cooking surface. However, it’s quite a powerful solution for cleaning the stains cooked on to the outside of your pans.

What You Need


1. Heat Water

Fill your pan with about a half cup of water. Bring the water to a boil, to heat the bottom of the pan. Empty the water into the sink.

2. Add Oven Cleaner

Spray the bottom of your greasy pan with oven cleaner. Be sure to cover all of the dirty spots, and let it soak in for a few minutes. (Be sure to wear gloves while handling the oven cleaner.)

3. Scrub

Use the scrubbing pad side of a sponge to remove the grease. It may take some elbow grease to get all the scorching; continue til the pan becomes cool.

4. Rinse and Repeat

Rinse the pan in clean water. You may repeat the process until the pan becomes entirely clean. To see a demonstration of this method, watch this YouTube video.

Does Vinegar Dissolve Grease From Pans?

No, used alone, vinegar doesn’t dissolve grease from pans.

Vinegar contains a chemical called acetic acid. This acid removes hard water stains from glassware, rust stains from stainless steel sinks, and tarnish from both brass and copper. After using an alkaline cleaner (salt or baking soda), you may use acetic acid as a mild deliming rinsing agent.

However, the acetic acid in the vinegar doesn’t remove grease. It is only effective at grease removal when paired with baking soda.

Baking soda is an alkali salt, an excellent agent for grease removal. Alkalis can help clean food spills, oil, and grease. In fact, alkalis work well cleaning any everyday object that becomes dirty. They remove oily dirt or grease easily, without the need for rubbing. And they vary in strength from mild to moderate to strong.

Greasing the Grease

Scorch marks and burned on grease are a pain if you’re a home cook. But there’s no need to ditch perfectly good cookware. It’s easy to revitalize your frying and baking pans with the right know-how.

You can remove baked-on grease from pans in any number of ways. Take the commercial cleaner route, or opt for a more natural approach. Even use items that are already in your kitchen.

Now that you have the know-how, make your pots and pans shine like new–even without steel wool. Save both money and time with these simple cleaning tips.

Now that you’re really cleaning, be sure to share your success stories in the comment section. Also, feel free to share this article with any home cook who struggles with cleaning their cookware.

Heloise Blause

About the Author

Heloise Blause

Since always, I am passionate about food; I enjoy writing and want to share my passion and offer quality articles to my readers. On Homekitchenland, I like to research, review, and compare kitchen appliances, write product reviews, and develop recipes.

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