How to Clean a Burnt Copper Pan

How to Clean a Burnt Copper Pan: Simple and Effective Methods

We’ve all had those days where our beautiful copper pan gets a little singed. Burnt food can be a real bear to get off, but we have some tools in our toolbox that will bring back that shine we both know and love.

One of my all-time favorite methods is lemon juice and baking soda. Mix them together until they’re like a paste, and then spread it onto those charred areas of your pan. Let it sit there for a while, sort of like a face mask for your pan. Then scrub it off, and watch those stains and discoloration disappear.

​If that doesn’t work, then I have a few more methods for how to clean a burnt copper pan up my sleeve!

How to Clean a Burnt Copper Pan:

First Steps

Alright mama, before we start cleaning, the first step is to assess the damage. If the pan is severely burnt, it may not be salvageable. However, if the burn marks are only superficial, there is still hope for the pan.

The next step is to remove any loose particles or debris. Rinse the pan with warm water to loosen any burnt-on food. Be sure to remove any food particles with a soft sponge or cloth. 

Avoid using abrasive scrubbers or steel wool. These can scratch the surface of the copper and cause further damage.

Assessing the Severity of the Burn

The severity of the burn can be determined by the color of the burn mark. If the mark is black or dark brown, it’s likely that the burn is severe and has penetrated deep into the copper. If the mark is light brown or reddish, the burn is likely less severe and has only affected the surface of the copper.

Another way to assess the severity of the burn is to look for any warping or distortion in the pan. If the pan is warped or distorted, it’s likely that the burn is severe and has affected the structural integrity of the pan.

Some severe burns may not be able to be fully removed, and atrying to remove them might actually make it worse. In some cases, it may be best to simply accept the burn mark as a part of the pan’s history and continue to use it as normal.

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda Method

For tough burnt-on messes, try using a homemade cleaner made with lemon juice and baking soda. 

  1. Mix equal parts of lemon juice and baking soda to form a paste. 
  2. Apply the paste onto the burnt spots and let it sit for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Scrub the burnt areas with a non-abrasive scrubber until the stains are removed. 
  4. Rinse the pan with water and dry it with a clean cloth.

Salt and Lemon Juice Method

One way to clean a burnt copper pan is to use a mixture of salt and lemon juice. 

  1. Cut a lemon in half and dip the cut side into a plate of table salt. 
  2. Use the salted lemon to scrub the burnt areas of your copper pan. 
  3. Apply gentle pressure and make sure to cover all the burnt spots. The salt acts as a gentle abrasive agent while the lemon juice serves as a natural cleaner. 
  4. Rinse the pan with water and dry it with a cloth.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

Another effective way to clean a burnt copper pan is by using a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar. 

  1. Sprinkle baking soda over the burnt areas of the pan. 
  2. Add enough white vinegar to create a paste. 
  3. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the baking soda to react with the vinegar. 
  4. Use a scrubber to rub the bottom, and the burnt spots will come right off. 
  5. Rinse the pan with water and dry it with a cloth.

Side note: Some household items may damage the copper surface! For example, I’ve heard of people using ketchup to clean their copper pans. Tomato ketchup may contain acids that could cause discoloration or damage to the copper. 

Using Bar Keepers Friend

Bar Keepers Friend is a popular commercial cleaner that can be used to clean burnt copper pans. It is a mildly abrasive powder that can remove stains and burnt-on food without scratching the surface of the copper pan.

To use Bar Keepers Friend, follow these steps:

  1. Wet the burnt copper pan with water.
  2. Sprinkle Bar Keepers Friend over the affected area.
  3. Use a sponge or soft-bristled brush to scrub the pan gently.
  4. Rinse the pan thoroughly with water.
  5. Dry the pan with a soft cloth.

Bar Keepers Friend can also be used to clean the exterior of copper chef pans and copper bottom pans. Simply wet the pan, sprinkle Bar Keepers Friend over the surface, and scrub gently with a sponge or brush. Rinse the pan thoroughly with water and dry with a soft cloth.

Bar Keepers Friend should not be used on copper pans with tin lining. The abrasive powder can scratch the tin surface and cause it to wear away over time. If your copper pan has a tin lining, it’s best to use a gentler cleaner that is specifically designed for tin-lined pans.

Using Non-Abrasive Scrubbers

When it comes to cleaning a burnt copper pan, using non-abrasive scrubbers is essential to avoid damaging the copper surface. There are several options for non-abrasive scrubbers, like soft cloths, dish scrubbers, and soft sponges.

Avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the copper surface. Instead, opt for gentle cleaning solutions like baking soda and lemon juice, which can be applied with a non-abrasive scrubber to remove burnt-on residue.

Preventing Future Burns

To prevent future burns on your copper pan, proper care is essential! Here are some tips to help you keep your copper pots looking new:

  • Don’t overheat your pan: Copper conducts heat very well, so it’s important not to overheat your pan. When cooking with copper, use low to medium heat to avoid burning your food.
  • Keep your pan clean: A clean pan is less likely to burn your food. After each use, clean your copper pan with mild soap and warm water. Avoid using abrasive cleaners that can scratch the surface of the copper.
  • Use non-stick pans for delicate foods: Copper pans are not non-stick, so they may not be the best choice for delicate foods like eggs or fish. Consider using a non-stick pan for these types of foods.


So basically, the easiest and best way to clean a burnt copper pan is by using a combination of baking soda and lemon juice. This simple method is super effective in removing burnt food particles from the surface of the pan and will leave your cookware looking brand new!

Next time you have a burnt copper pan, don’t worry about having to replace it. Instead, just head to your grocery store and pick up some baking soda and lemon juice, and you’ll be able to clean your pan in no time. I hope this has helped you figure out how to clean a burnt copper pan!

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