How To Clean A Burnt Copper Bottom Pan

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A burnt copper bottom pan is one of the most common kitchen disasters. If you have ever noticed burnt residue in the bottom of your pan, then you will know how difficult it can be to clean.

The problem with removing such a thing is choosing what products and tools to use. Any harsh and abrasive may cause the pan to become scratched. Anything too soft and it likely will stay looking burnt. 

If you don’t want to spend hours scrubbing away at the stubborn food, here are some tips on cleaning a burnt-on copper bottom pan.

Why Choose A Copper Pan?

Whilst there are plenty of variations of the pan, a copper pan can bring warmth and color to a kitchen. It also looks a little vintage and sparkles when hit by sunlight. It really is not surprising why a person might choose copper pans.

Whilst it is considered a soft metal, it does have its advantages. It can conduct heat quickly meaning your food doesn’t take ages to cook. Also, this advantage is why most people overlook the fact it needs extra TLC compared to other kitchen materials.

This TLC is not necessarily how you use it, but instead how you care for and clean it. The wrong tool can become scratched for life. Because of this, you will need to know how to clean it properly. 

If looked after, they will last for many years to come, as well as look beautiful whilst you make brunch.  

What Is A Burned On Copper Bottom Pan?

The term “burnt on” refers to foods that stick to the inside of the pan. When this happens, it is usually because there was too much fat or oil in the pan. This causes the food to burn before browning. It also makes the food more likely to the bottom of the pan. 

The easiest way to prevent this problem is by using less fat when cooking. You should use about 1/3 cup of oil for every pound of meat.

Another way to avoid burning is by not overcrowding the pan. This means that it is okay to use more than one pan if you have the space for it. 

If you do overcook your food, then you will need to clean out the pan. We’ll get onto that next…

How To Clean A Burned On Copper Bottom Pan

The problem with burnt-on food on the bottom of your pan is the fact it will cause your copper pan to be unable to distribute heat evenly. It also means your copper pan is more likely to suffer from wear.

Another thing you want to be careful about is leaving the burnt-on food in the pan for too long as this can ruin the pan and over time make it unusable. 

To avoid this, it is best to try to stop this from happening in the first place. Fortunately, there are lots of cleaning options to safely remove the caked-on burnt food. 

Items You Will Need

Here are some of the items to consider when cleaning a copper pan:

  • Hot water
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Soft sponge
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Lemon
  • Table salt

Hot Water And Baking Soda

Before you have at it with something scrubby and harsh, try this simple method. Firstly, pour a couple of drops of dish soap into the bottom of the pan.

Fill the burnt area with hot water and then add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. Let it sit for an hour – longer if needed – and let it do its job.

Once it has soaked for a while, use a sponge to try to dislodge the burnt-on food. It should come away easily. If it doesn’t continue to let it soak overnight, and stop scrubbing to avoid damage.

When you have left it overnight, you should find the burnt-on food easy to remove. Remove the contents and rinse them with hot water.

Remember to dry it with a clean cloth to remove any dampness.

Tomato Ketchup

If the above didn’t work, then you could try using tomato ketchup. Whilst it sounds odd, it is a common way to clean metals and leave them looking extra shiny. 

Evenly apply a layer of ketchup on the burnt areas and let it sit for around an hour or more, depending on how bad the burnt-on food is. 

The acids in the ketchup should eat away at the burnt-on food. Once the hour has passed, rinse away the ketchup and gently scrub the burnt-on food with a sponge or microfiber cloth. 

Just like before, rinse the pan and then make sure it is completely dry before storing it away. 

Salted Lemon

If you are left with stains at the bottom of the pan, then it comes as no surprise if you want to get rid of them. Luckily, there is a simple way to achieve a spotless copper bottom pan.

Cut a lemon in half and dip half into a bowl of table salt. Make sure that the exposed surface is fully covered in salt. 

Use this in the same way you would use a brush, but be gentle. The salt and acid should gently remove any stains left behind by the burnt-on food.

You should be able to see the stains disappearing, so you will know straight away if the solution has worked. 

Once you have removed the stains, rinse the pan under warm water to remove any traces of the lemon and salt. Now you should be left with a sparkling clean copper pan. 


Whilst it might seem like you will never be able to get a copper-bottomed pan back to its beautiful self after it suffers from burnt-on food, there is a way.

By using kitchen staples that you can find in the cupboard or your local grocery store, you can safely and gently remove burnt-on food from the bottom of the copper pan. 

Hopefully, this article has given you food for thought when it comes to cleaning your copper-bottomed pan. 

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