How To Clean Burnt On Grease From Frying Pans

Knowing how to clean burnt grease from frying pans saves a lot of time. This will happen all through your cooking life, and finding a method to clean it off with ease will make cooking a lot less stressful.

In this guide you will learn new methods to clean burnt grease from frying pans using common household items and also learn what causes the build up of grease in the first place, as the best solution is to prevent it happening.

Out solutions have been tried and tested by us, and although some are not the best due to fragile cookware, we have listed the best ones for those of you have have durable frying pans such as cast iron or stainless steel.

How to Clean Burnt Grease From Frying Pans

Trying to clean burnt grease from the bottom of a frying pan is a hard task for those that don’t know the methods to do it.

We have found all the different methods you can use, and once you find the method that is the most convenient for you, you can use it forever.

All of these methods have been proven to work with a little elbow grease, I would recommend you go with the least intense methods first to prevent damage to your frying pan.

Dish Soap and Boiling water

This is the first method to try, it’s quick, easy and cheap.

Simply put some dish soap into the frying pan, then fill the frying pan with boiling water to completely soak the pan. The boiling water is important as grease turns to liquid at a high temperature in the frying pan, so any grease that isn’t fully burnt on, will come off straight away providing you soak the pan fully.

Now let the mixture sit in the frying pan for 30 minutes as this will make sure it gets to the right spots at the bottom of the pan.

Empty the water into the sink, and scrub the pan. Ensure you are not using anything to rough to scrub with as you could scratch the frying pan depending on what material it is made of.

Baking Soda Paste

This is a method most people try due to baking soda being the most common household item. It’s great for expensive stainless steel pots and pans as it’s not harsh.

Start by mixing equal parts of baking soda and water together to make a paste. Now apply the baking soda paste to the bottom of the pan, focusing more on the areas with burnt grease.

Leave it around 30 minutes as it gives the baking soda mixture time to develop and soak in to the frying pan. But if don’t have much spare time, just leave it for 15 minutes.

Grab yourself a sponge, preferably one with a rough surface that’s used for washing dishes, and soak it in hot water. Next, start scrubbing away at the burnt grease and it should come off. Finish off by rinsing the baking soda mixture off.


This method is not well known, but most people have vinegar in their household which makes it a perfect choice for getting rid of burnt grease and works like a charm for me.

Vinegar can range from 5% to 20% acetic acid which is fermented ethanol, and acidic products are great and removing stubborn burnt grease.

Start by coating the frying pan with vinegar, and keep on applying. once you have enough vinegar in the frying pan to cover the burnt grease, get the heat on and cook until it boils.

Once the vinegar has reached boiling point, leave it 20 minutes, this will give the acidic vinegar time to act on the grease. Now an oven cleaning pad, and start to scrub the burnt grease away.

Baking Soda, Sea Salt, and Vinegar

Start by coating the bottom of the pan in salt. Ensure there is a reasonable amount of salt and then spread some baking soda on top.

Now drizzle some vinegar over the mixture of sea salt and vinegar, and it will create a reaction.

Now while the reaction is taking place between the vinegar and baking power, scrub with a sponge and the salt will act as a good abrasive.

Keep scrubbing until you feel you have got all the burnt grease off the frying pan and rinse.

Heat and paper towels

This method is good if the grease has not turned black.

Heat the pan up and the grease will turn back into a liquid, now take the pan off the heat for around 20 minutes to allow the grease to cool down.

Once cool, lay some paper towels on top of the grease and these will soak it up.

Avoid rinsing the grease down the drain as grease is notorious for clogging pipes.


Don’t have any of the above items? Well do not worry, because you should have ketchup, unless you are allergic to tomatoes.

Apply ketchup over the grease and leave it overnight. Ketchup is very acidic, and acidity breaks down grease.

After you wake up the next day, soak the frying pan in some water and the burn on grease should scrub right off.

Oven Cleaner

Do not use oven cleaner on a non stick frying pan, this isn’t needed. You should be able to use one of the solutions above for a non stick pan. Oven cleaner is extremely harsh and can damage the non stick pans coating.

Oven cleaner works best to remove stains on cookware such as stainless steel pots and pans or cast iron frying pans as they are strong durable surfaces that can take the harsh chemical.

Oven cleaner has special acidic chemicals which break down proteins, especially in grease, which is why it’s so good for cleaning ovens and that’s why you should use it when you can’t remove those stubborn stains from frying pans. Just make sure you have tried every other solution first.

Simply spray the oven cleaner onto your pan, and leave it overnight.

Now grab some steel wool, and start to scrub to remove the baked on grease off, it should come off with ease.

Hob Cleaner

I personally use this method on baking trays and not frying pans, as my baking trays tend to get a much stronger build-up of burnt grease and methods like baking soda vinegar and soapy water just don’t do the trick.

Simple coat the bottom of the pan in hob cleaner, and let it sit between 15 and 60 minutes. I normally leave it for 60 minutes because it’s only going to do a better job at getting those scorch marks.

After 60 minutes, scrub it in with a sponge to try and remove the burnt grease, then when you think it’s all been removed, rinse it off with water and see.

If there is still some left over, repeat the cleaning process again.

What Causes Burnt-On Grease?

When you clean burnt grease, it becomes a difficult task. That’s why it’s always best to prevent the build-up in the first place. The more burnt grease that builds up, the harder it gets to clean.

Burnt grease is simply a result of oils reaching it’s smoking point temperature. When oils begin to smoke, their triglycerides break down into an insoluble resin, which is why water won’t wash it off. This is common when you have uneven seasoning on a cast iron as the unevenness increases the chances of more resin building up.

It’s for this exact reason, that most of our solutions to clean burnt grease involve acidic type products like white vinegar.

How to Prevent Burnt-On Grease Buildups?

To avoid burnt grease in the first place, you need to ensure you are not smoking the oils. When you cook in frying pans, you need to increase the heat slowly, and if you see smoke coming from your cooking oil, then immediately turn down the heat as the resit will start to form.

Different cooking oils have different smoking points, so the amount of heat you can use varies based on the cooking oil you are using.

If you do accidently reach the smoking point and get burn grease as a result, then clean bottom of the frying pan before you cook the next time to avoid a build-up of burnt grease.

The Bottom Line

We have covered many different solutions to clean burnt grease, these range from baking soda vinegar to soap and water.

Whichever method you choose, it’s always best to avoid having to clean it in the first place by preventing a build up of burnt grease on your frying pans.

Using harsh chemicals such ass oven cleaner is sometimes a bad option, as damaging the bottom of your frying pan defeats the object of cleaning it.

Always try using the weaker solutions first to remove stubborn stains, as using the powerful options first is more likely to result in damage.

Also, the next time you cook, keep in mind that smoking oils are a bad thing, not only for your frying pans, but for your health too. Not only do they cause a build up of grease, but the smoke is cancerous to humans. So make sure you avoid smoking cooking oils!

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