Kitchen Shrink: How do you clean burned-on fats from baking pans and keep them clean?

The other day I got a question on my web site from Aletha who is having trouble cleaning burned-on fat from a baking pan. She wondered how to clean the pan and then asked how I keep my pans clean. I’ll answer the second question first. I have had some very messy pans to clean in the past so now I really do always cover my baking pans with aluminum foil or parchment before use even when I am making something that probably won’t make a mess. It doesn’t take much time and saves all the time that would have been spent cleaning the pan. You can even use the lining to lift the contents to a cooling rack or platter.

I don’t like to mix a lot of chemicals so if I have a pan to clean, I rinse it, sprinkle it generously with baking soda while it is wet and let it stand about 10 minutes. Put it in the sink and fill it all the way to the top with boiling water, let it stand until the water reaches room temperature, then scrub it with steel wool (either a soap pad or plain steel wool is fine).

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