Stainless steel is not the best surface for frying foods. It is better suited for making acid-based sauces and other food that is unlikely to stick. When food is burned it sticks like glue to stainless steel, and trying to clean it off can be next to impossible when using ordinary cleanser and a sponge or dishrag. Instead of rubbing and scrubbing without much success, try the following ways to clean burned-on or stuck-on food from a stainless steel pan. It will be easier than ever, and you will no longer dread washing dishes after cooking with a stainless steel pan of any variety.
Soak the Pan in Hot Water and Dishwasher Soap
Those without a dishwasher should keep dishwasher soap on hand. The uses for this type of soap go beyond the dishwasher and straight to the sink. It contains ingredients that work exceptionally well to remove burned-on, stuck-on food from dishes, and it is great for soaking stainless steel pans. Gel, liquid, and powdered varieties all work very well, and store brands works as well as expensive varieties.
To clean burned-on, stuck-on food from a stainless steel pan, pour or sprinkle a tablespoon or two in the bottom, and fill it most of the way with very hot water. Allow the stainless steel pan to soak for at least thirty minutes. Use a scrub sponge to wipe away the burned-on food. Food that was once stuck to the pan will be softened and very easy to remove.
Fill it with Water and Cook Away the Burned Food
If dishwasher soap is not available, try the next best method to clean burned food from a stainless steel pan. Wipe away as much of the food as possible using paper towels, and fill the pan halfway with hot water and a little dishwashing liquid that contains degreaser. Turn on the heat, and allow the water to gently boil for a few minutes. Turn off the heat, and allow the water to cool to a comfortable temperature. Use a plastic scraper to scrape away as much of the burned-on, stuck-on food as possible, and continue by washing the pan with the usual dish soap, hot water, and a scrub sponge. The burned-on, stuck-on food and any remaining residue should come right off.
Finish with Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser
After using one of the aforementioned ways to clean burned-on, stuck-on food from a stainless steel pan, follow up with Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser to remove any remaining stuck-on food. The cleanser will also polish the pan to a brilliant shine.
Bar Keepers Friend cleanser is my top choice. My mother has used it as long as I can remember, and I use it regularly to clean and polish my stainless steel frying pan. My favorite stainless steel pan is twenty-five years old, and despite the rusty screw that holds the handle in place, my stainless steel Duncan Hines frying pan looks almost as good as new.