This Is Our Secret Weapon for Cleaning off Burned-on Food

Ever wonder how to get burned-on foods off your pans? It can seem impossible, but with the right tool, your favorite cookie sheets, frying pans and baking pans can look just like new.

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Is there anything more disappointing than ruining your favorite baking sheet with baked-on, stuck-on messes? I, for one, have tossed more ruined cookie sheets than I’d care to admit. It seemed no matter how long I soaked them or scrubbed at them, they just wouldn’t get clean. Learning how to clean pans ruined by burned-on foods became my goal. I needed a miracle product to help me save my sheets—something a bit stronger than this homemade remedy.

I’m sure that many home cooks have experienced the same thing. That’s why Taste of Home staffers tested eight cleaning products designed to remove burned-on messes of all kinds. Armed with some of the dirtiest baking sheets you’ll find, a sponge and all these cleaning products, our testers got to work finding the best solution to this stubborn cleaning problem.

The Best Product for Cleaning off Burned-on Food: Goo Gone Kitchen Degreaser


After trying eight different sprays, Goo Gone’s Kitchen Degreaser came out on top. This easy-to-use spray formula was our favorite for cleaning burned-on food from pans. Using just a Scotch-Brite sponge and a normal amount of elbow grease, we were able to clean the dirtiest pans in about 40 seconds with just a single spritz of Goo Gone. That’s not too much work for saving a favorite pan!

However, this product proved to be useful all across the kitchen. Goo Gone Kitchen Degreaser can be used on pots, pans, stovetops, sinks and more. That definitely makes the investment in this cleaning product worth it. Plus, the easy spray bottle makes using this cleaning product a breeze.

$7 for a 14-ounce bottle; available at retailers nationwide.

Our Other Favorite Products for Tackling Tough-to-Clean Pans


Method Heavy Duty Degreaser

A close second to Goo Gone was Method’s Heavy Duty Degreaser. This spray is plant-based and nontoxic—great for folks trying to go green at home. When it came to performance, Method worked almost as well as our favorite brand, though we had to give our pan an extra spray or two with this solution. Also worth noting: this formula can’t be used on glass cooktops, marble or aluminum.

$3.99 for a 28-ounce bottle; available select retailers, like Target, nationwide.



Looking for a good clean on a budget? Look no further than classic cleaner Comet. This scouring powder cleaned up our pans in about 90 seconds. We like Comet because it’s affordable and it can be used on countless surfaces across the home like porcelain, stainless steel, ceramic and more. This is a bit of a harsh cleanser, though, so be sure to wear gloves and rinse thoroughly.

$0.98 for a 21-ounce can; available at retailers nationwide.

Taste of Home

The Bottom Line

When it comes to cleaning an exceptionally dirty pan, you’ll definitely want to rely on a store-bought cleaner. These have the grime-fighting power and chemical formulas needed to cut through tough messes. If your pan is only a little dingy, you can definitely use this baking soda trick. But it’s helpful to have a bottle of Goo Gone, Comet or Method Heavy Duty Degreaser around for when your baking sheets and pans get seriously dirty.

More Ways to Use Goo Gone at Home

These heavy-duty degreasers like Goo Gone and Method are incredibly useful all across the kitchen. Don’t limit yourself to just your pans! Spritz your stovetop with a bit of Goo Gone to remove all those stuck-on messes. Or use Method Heavy Duty Degreaser to clean the inside of your microwave. Check out these cleaning tips to get your kitchen clean from top to bottom.


Be sure to check out our other Best Loved Brands to keep your house feeling clean and fresh (and to keep your pantry stocked with the very best, too!).

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.