How to Save a Le Creuset pan

On Friday I prepared a beef and guinness stew for supper. I got all my ingredients ready early so that it could cook slowly in the oven.  I was drooling thinking about the tender fall apart beef and the yummy veg but as you can probably guess it was not to be and it all went horribly wrong.  I stepped away from the kitchen before putting the pot in the oven and then thought I’d done that critical step.  Instead what I did was leave the pan on the hob on high until it smelled like the house was burning down.  Now not only did I ruin dinner (with nothing else thawed) but I possibly ruined my Le Creuset pan- my baby!

Le Creuset pan

I posted a picture of my pan on twitter with a message saying dinner and pan ruined. The amazing people on twitter came to my rescue with all sorts of things for me to try. My friend Vic said use Bicarbonate of Soda, another friend said soak it overnight w/ laundry tab then simmer for an hour to soften. Someone else sent me a link to a post that said use full strength cola. So I tried them all.

The first one I tried was soaking overnight w/ a laundry tab (or three) and then simmering it for an hour (or longer). I got this result. Not bad. It got rid of about 1/2 the burned on stew.

burned pan

I then tried the bicarbonate of soda and boiling hot water. This one worked the best. As soon as the hot water hit the pan flakes of burnt stew started to float to the surface. I used a wooden spoon the scrape at the burnt bits and it really did work well. Wal used a butter knife to work a bit more of the stew off.

burned pan-2

This was the result of the bicarb and some scrubbing. A pretty usable pan I think.

burned pan-4

I then tried the cola as someone said it gets rid of those black bits on pans. They had used it on a stainless steel pan and it worked wonders for them. For the enameled Le Creuset pan it didn’t really do much.

burned pan-5

So this is the end result. I’m pretty happy with is as it was well and truly burnt to a crisp. I think it helped that I didn’t scrape with anything metal unless I had to and when I did I was very very careful. The real test will be when I use it- if it starts to stick I’ll know if we were really successful.

burned pan-6

I also have a paste I picked up at the shops that is supposed to help removed burned food to pans/oven/hob tops and I’ll do a follow up to this post once I’ve tried it.

So my recommendation on how to remove burned on food from a Le Creuset pan is use bicarbonate of soda, boiling water on the hob w/ the flame on low and scrape away with a wooden spoon. It took me about 3 hours total to get the pan this clean but worth it in the end. What do you guys think? Anyone else have any tips on how to clean burned food from a pan?


  1. maria
    October 30, 2011 /

    deffo on the baking soda and boiling it..I have had semi close call and total burnt pans/ pots before.. I just let it boil and then simmer… and no metal to it.. let us know what happens..

  2. Mancais
    November 6, 2011 /

    Bicarb is pretty good for all sorts of things.
    Last time I had some burnt on food it was a glass dish that had been in the oven but it came off with a heavy squirt of Fairy, boiling water and an overnight soak.

  3. Satwik
    July 1, 2012 /

    Oven cleaner works like a miracle.. Get rid of the big burnt bits with a wooden spoon. Spray with oven cleaner and leave it for half an hour and it leaves no stain atall.

    • Lindy
      July 1, 2012 /

      What a great tip- thanks!