How to Clean a Burnt Enameled Cast Iron Skillet (with pictures)
November 13, 2014 Cast iron articles

Recently I was making caramelized onions in an enameled cast iron skillet, which left a stain on the bottom that would not come out, even after letting the skillet soak overnight in soapy water.  After letting the skillet soak, I tried to remove the remnants of onion and balsamic vinegar with a soapy sponge in hot water, but to no avail.  I had read once that you can use baking soda and water only to remove even a stain from a cast iron skillet you can’t scrub off with soap and water, so  I decided to try this method to remove the burnt on stain from my favorite enameled cast iron skillet.

Let’s see how well baking soda and water  works to clean a burnt enameled cast iron skillet .

5 Simple Steps to Clean a Burnt Enameled Cast Iron Pot

First, let your cast iron pot cool down.  Never put cold water in a hot cast iron pot, or you risk damaging it, and then your next trip will be to the store for a replacement.

1) Once the cast iron skillet has cooled down, put liquid detergent in the bottom of the pot and fill it with warm to hot water.  Swoosh the detergent around to make it sudsy.  Let it sit overnight to see if you can remove the burnt on food with a kitchen sponge that has a soft side and scrubbing side.  Do not use a Brillo pad or steel wool on enameled cast iron, or you may scratch it, which will ruin the enamel coating.


cast iron with stain

Burnt Cast Iron Skillet


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2) If letting the pan sit overnight in soapy water doesn’t solve your problem, liberally coat the bottom with baking soda to cover the stain and add tablespoon of water to make a paste.  If you don’t have baking soda, you can use powder laundry detergent.  The enzymes in baking soda or laundry detergent  eats through even the toughest baked on stains, making scrubbing out the burnt on food quite easy.  If you use powder laundry detergent, you still need to add a bit of water to activate the enzymes.

Let the baking soda or detergent sit on the burnt on food particles for about a minute to let the enzymes begin to loosen the food.

cast iron with baking soda

cast iron skillet with baking soda



3) Depending on how burnt the food is on the bottom of your cast iron skillet, you may need to repeat sprinkling baking soda or laundry detergent a few times to fully work out the stain.  I had to do it three times, and when I was done the pot looked like brand new.

Even with tough burnt on food, if you use baking soda or laundry detergent, the enzymes do most of the work for you, so you won’t have scrub hard to clean the pot, thankfully.

After just a few minutes, with light scrubbing, you can see that the stain is almost removed.

cast iron stain almost gone

stain is almost gone

4) You may need to add a bit more baking soda and water to remove the stain, especially from a burnt cast iron skillet.

From start to finish, sprinkling baking soda on the enameled cast iron pot, until the stain was completely removed andd the pot looked like brand new will take about 10-15 minutes total.

READ  How to Buy a Kosher Cast Iron Skillet


how to clean a cast iron skillet

Burnt cast iron skillet is returned to look like brand new


.5) That is it!  Follow these 5 simple steps and you can quickly and easy clean a burnt enameled cast iron skillet and make it look brand new in just a few minutes.



"9" Comments
  1. I recently bought an enamel coated cast iron pot. The instructions said to season the pot with 2-3 Tbsp. oil then leave in a 350 oven for 1 hour. I accidentally left it in for 2 hours after I thought I turned the oven off but didn’t. When I took the pot out, it was entirely coated with burned on brown oil. I tried the above method using baking soda. After leaving it to soak overnight, I found that the burned on oil came off very easily with a plastic scrubber. Some residue was left at the bottom so I made a paste of the baking soda and after a quick scrub, the pot was completely clean. Thank you for this!!!

  2. I tried scrubbing, baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar and none of these worked. What did work was ordinary bleach in the enameled pan overnight. I recommend trying the bleach first; it won’t abrade the enamel.

  3. I have done this but my pot still smells like burnt food

  4. Great article Ken! Great tips! What restaurant has your favorite dishes? Remember to add it to your Besty List!

  5. This was a great blog post, thank you very much for the information.

  6. So pleased to find this post, I’ve done a very similar thing to my pot!

    • Hi Lucie,

      Thanks for coming to my blog. I checked out your blog, and it is really cool. Love the recipes. You should add an About Page. People identify with a blog more when they can identify with the blog owner.


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