How to Clean Burnt Cookie Sheets

Baking sheets are incredibly versatile, serving purposes from baking cookies to roasting vegetables or melting cheese for appetizers. However, over time, these sheets can develop stubborn stains from oil residue and burnt food, making them look less than appealing. No need to worry – we’ve gathered effective tricks to restore your baking sheets to their pristine condition.

Firstly, it’s crucial to know the material of your baking sheet – whether it’s made of aluminized steel, aluminum, or has a non-stick coating. Using the right cleaning method is essential to avoid damaging the finish of your pan.

Here’s a handy cleaning chart to quickly guide you on the appropriate method for each type of baking sheet material:

MethodAluminized SteelAluminumNon-Stick
Baking Soda and Hydrogen PeroxideYesNoNo
Baking Soda and VinegarYesYesYes
Aluminum FoilYesNoNo
Washing Soda and Cream of TartarYesYesYes
Water and Baking SodaYesYesYes

Follow these methods based on your baking sheet’s material to make cleaning a breeze and bring back that like-new sparkle.

How to Clean Burnt Cookie Sheets

Now that you know the best methods for each type of pan, let’s dive into six straightforward ways to keep your sheet pans looking as good as new:

  1. Baking Soda and Peroxide Method (For Aluminized Steel Pans):
    • Mix baking soda and peroxide to create a paste.
    • Spread the mixture evenly on the pan’s surface.
    • Allow it to sit for 2-3 hours to break down food particles and grime.
    • Wipe away the mixture using a paper towel and water.
    • If needed, scrub any remaining stubborn spots.
    • Finish by cleCoat your pan with a light layer of oil to prevent rustinganing the sheet with regular soap and water to remove any remaining residue.
  2. Baking Soda and Vinegar Method (For Aluminum or Aluminized Steel Pans):
    • Mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar (start with 1/4 cup each).
    • Spread the baking soda evenly on the tray.
    • Add vinegar and observe the reaction between the ingredients.
    • Submerge the tray in a sink filled with hot water.
    • Let it soak for 30-60 minutes.
    • Remove the tray from the water and wipe away dirt and grime using a non-abrasive sponge or microfiber cloth.
    • Clean the sheet with regular soap and water to finish the process.

These two methods are simple and effective, using common household items to restore your sheet pans to their pristine condition.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets Using Ammonia

While ammonia can effectively tackle stubborn stains and food residue on baking sheets, keep in mind that this method requires extra time and involves strong chemicals. Prioritize your safety by wearing protective gloves, eyewear, and a mask. Avoid using this method for non-stick baking sheets or aluminum pans.

  1. Place your cookie sheets inside a durable plastic bag, like a garbage bag.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of ammonia to the bag.
  3. Seal the bag tightly and leave it in direct sunlight for a day to allow the ammonia to react with grease and food particles.
  4. Open the bag without inhaling the ammonia and remove the pans.
  5. Scrub the pans with steel wool.
  6. Thoroughly wash the sheets.

(Note: Be cautious while working with ammonia, and follow safety precautions to protect yourself.)

Using Aluminum Foil

Did you know that rolled-up balls of aluminum foil can be a handy tool for cleaning cookie sheets? This quick and easy method is ideal for reusing clean pieces of foil, but avoid using it on aluminum or non-stick baking sheets to prevent scratches.

  1. Soak these sheet pans in water for some time.
  2. Remove and allow them to dry.
  3. Form aluminum foil into a ball and use it to scrub away burned spots and stuck-on food.
  4. Wash and rinse the sheets with soap and water.

This straightforward approach with aluminum foil offers a convenient way to refresh your cookie sheets without causing damage to certain types of pans.

How to Get Rid of Baked-On Grease from Pans

Baked-on grease can be a real challenge to remove—it’s stubborn, sticky, and often resistant to regular cleaning methods. But don’t worry, reviving your cookie sheets is still possible with these effective tips:

Cleaning Aluminized Steel Cookie Sheets

Best Method for Aluminized Steel:

  1. Place your cookie sheet on a stovetop burner with water and a few drops of dish detergent.
  2. Turn on the burner and boil for about five minutes.
  3. Turn off the burner, let the liquid cool completely, and then scrub the pan with a stainless steel scrubbing pad to remove the baked-on grease.

Recommended Cleaning Tools:

  • Use a scouring pad, the rough side of a sponge, or steel wool. Be cautious with steel wool, as it may leave small scratch marks.

Cleaning Aluminum Cookie Sheets

Grease Removal from Aluminum Pans:

  1. Sprinkle cream of tartar over the baking sheet.
  2. Place the sheet on a stovetop burner, add water, and bring it to a boil for 5 minutes to lift off the grease.
  3. Rinse away any remaining residue and dry.

Recommended Cleaning Tools:

  • Similar to aluminized steel, use a scouring pad or the rough side of a sponge. Test the scrubber on a small section to ensure it’s gentle enough.

Cleaning Non-Stick Cookie Sheets

Removing Baked-On Grease from Non-Stick Pans:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda over the cookie sheet.
  2. Pour vinegar over the baking soda to create fizz.
  3. Let the sheet stand for 30 minutes, then gently scrub any remaining grease.
  4. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Recommended Cleaning Tools:

  • Avoid rough or steel scrubbers to protect the non-stick finish. Use non-abrasive nylon scrubbers. Alternatively, cover the sheet with wet paper towels and let it soak for an hour before cleaning for minor build-up.

Removing Rust from Cookie Sheets

If you have old, rusted baking sheets, try this method:

Using Baking Soda or Dish Soap with a Potato

  1. Cut a potato in half.
  2. Dip the cut end in dish soap or baking soda (experiment to see which works best).
  3. Rub the potato over the rusted area; the potato’s natural oxalic acid will break down rust.
  4. If the potato gets slick, slice off the end and dip it in dish soap or baking soda again.
  5. Repeat until the rust is removed.
  6. Rinse off the pan and dry immediately.

How to Remove Rust from Sheet Pans Using Baking Soda

Before giving up on your rusted sheet pans, try this straightforward method to repair the damage:

  1. Rinse and Shake:
    • Thoroughly rinse the sheet, then shake it dry, leaving it slightly damp.
  2. Apply Baking Soda:
    • Lightly dust the pan with baking soda, ensuring the powder sticks to the damp surface.
    • Cover all rust with baking soda.
  3. Let it Sit:
    • Allow the baking soda to sit on the pan for about 30 minutes.
  4. Gentle Scrub:
    • With the baking soda still on, gently scrub the pan to remove rust.
  5. Rinse and Dry:
    • Rinse everything off and immediately towel dry.

Tips for Cleaning Your Cookie Sheets

To prevent the build-up of food residue, grease, or rust, follow these tips for cleaning and maintaining your cookie sheets:

  1. Use Liners:
    • Avoid large messes by lining your pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Apply Oil:
    • Prevent the pan from rusting by applying a light layer of oil.
  3. Immediate Drying:
    • Dry cookie sheets immediately after washing to prevent bacterial build-up and rust.
  4. Prompt Hand-Washing:
    • Whenever possible, hand-wash your cookie sheets soon after use.

Conclusion: Cookie sheets are invaluable in a commercial kitchen. Use these cleaning methods to ensure their longevity, reduce replacement costs, and choose the right approach based on available supplies, time constraints, and the type of sheet you’re working with.

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