Any experienced chef or amateur home cook can tell you the absolute gift that aluminum foil is to a baking pan.
Lining your baking pans with foil can protect your pan, save your food, and make cleanup a breeze.
But the smallest tear in your foil can cause juices and oils to leak, which may lead to your foil getting stuck to your pan.
Luckily, you can usually get it off with some soap and water, vinegar, or baking soda.
We’ll take a closer look at these methods below.
Getting Burnt Foil Off a Glass Pan
Different surfaces require different treatments, so we’ll start with getting burnt foil off of a glass baking pan.
Using Dish Soap + Hot Water
First, pour fresh, boiling water into the dish.
Add a couple of tablespoons of dish soap to the water. Place a dryer sheet in the pan and press it underneath the soap and water mixture.
Allow the mixture to sit and soak for up to ten minutes.
Rinse the pans under the faucet and proceed to wash it per usual, using a sponge, dish soap, and hot water.
The burnt foil, along with any other burnt food remnants, should scrub off fairly easily, leaving you with a clean glass pan.
Using Baking Soda
After your glass pan has cooled, sprinkle baking soda all over the burnt areas. The layer of baking soda should be fairly thick; don’t be afraid to pour it on heavily.
Take some white vinegar and carefully pour it over the baking soda patches. Do this slowly, as the two ingredients will cause a foamy reaction. Think volcano school projects.
Swirl the mixture around a bit and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
Then, take one lemon and cut it in half. Squeeze the half lemon into the mixture. Use the lemon to scrub the bottom and sides of the glass pan.
By this point, a good chunk of the foil should be gone.
If there’s still some left, rinse the dish out and alternate scrubbing with stainless steel and the lemon half until all of the burnt foil is gone.
Wash out the glass pan with soap and water and dry well.
Getting Burnt Foil Off a Metal Pan
Metal pans are probably far more popular and widely used than glass dishes, so it’s important to know how to get burnt foil off of them.
The methods below can help you out.
Soften and Scrap the Burnt Foil
Adding a little bit of heat back into the mix can help you get burnt residue, including foil, off of your metal pans.
Boil enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and pour it into the pan. Let the water sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Using potholders, empty the hot water into the sink.
Using a plastic or wooden spatula, work to scrape the foil residue from the pan. The hot water should have softened the burn enough to do this.
Never use a metal spatula to scrape your pan, as it can leave permanent scratches on the metal.
Using Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Steam
Method two also involves adding heat but in the form of steam.
Using a small bowl, carefully mix some baking soda and vinegar. Be sure to add the vinegar slowly to avoid the foam overflowing. Add just enough vinegar to make a paste.
Apply this paste to the burnt foil on your pan. Let the paste sit on your pan overnight. In the morning, wipe off the paste and set your oven to 200 F degrees.
Soak a clean, cotton towel in warm water and place it over the foil burnt onto the pan. Make sure the towel is very wet to avoid fire hazards.
Place the pan with the wet towel in the warm oven and leave it in there for 30 minutes.
The heat mixed with the moisture from the towel will create steam, which should make it easier to remove the burnt foil.
Keep a close eye on the pan while it’s in the oven and watch out for any signs of the towel beginning to burn.
Using Aluminum Foil
Sometimes all you need to solve the problem is a little more of the problem. Or in this case, more aluminum foil.
Aluminum foil can actually help you take care of burnt on foil in addition to older marks on your baking pan.
Start by boiling water and pouring it into the pan to cover the foil burn. Add some dish soap and let it soak for about 30 minutes.
Once the 30 minutes is up, tear off a large sheet of aluminum foil from the roll. Crumble it up into a ball that you can comfortably hold in your hand.
With the cooled water still in the baking pan, take the aluminum ball and scrub the burnt foil on the pan.
A little bit of elbow grease will get the foil right off of the pan. In addition, you can scrub any other older marks, burns, and scratches until the pan is shiny and like-new.
Finish off by washing the pan with soap and water.
How To Line Baking Pans with Foil
Lining a baking pan with aluminum foil is pretty self-explanatory, but we have a few small tips that might make it even easier and more effective for you in the long run.
First, find your desired baking pan or sheet pan. Pull your foil out and tear it where it’s big enough to cover the pan and then some.
In other words, you want to have an inch or two of extra foil over the edge.
Now, instead of just pressing the foil into the pan and painstakingly trying to press it into every crevice perfectly, flip your pan upside down on your countertop.
Take the foil and press it over the bottom side of the pan. Smooth the foil down over the edges carefully so as now to tear it.
Then, gently lift the formed foil from the pan and flip the pan right side up. Press the formed foil into the pan and smooth it to fit the pan, rubbing out any creases or bumps that may impact your dish.
If necessary, grease or butter the foil to keep your food from sticking. Then you’re set to go!
Lining your baking pan like this significantly minimizes the chance of tearing the foil, which can, in turn, cause your foil to burn and stick to the pan.
Other Ways to Avoid Baked-On Foil
Many people like to use foil to avoid extensive cleanup, but if your foil burns to your pan, you’re going to be stuck with a long, excruciating mess anyway.
Prep Your Pan
One thing you can do is prep your pan before putting the foil on it. Spread melted butter or cooking spray on the pan before lining it with foil.
Doing so can help prevent the foil from sticking to the pan, even if food or grease slides through the cracks.
You can also try using parchment paper instead of foil.
Parchment paper is less likely to burn or melt to your pan, making it a great alternative to aluminum or tin foil.
Use High-Quality Pans
It’s easy to budget shop and find pans that don’t cost a lot of money, but what you gain is cost-savings, you sacrifice in quality.
Low-quality materials tend to heat unevenly, which can make burns happen more frequently.
You might find yourself scrubbing foil off of your pans far more often than you’d like.
In short, you get what you pay for. If you buy high-quality once, you’ll likely end up spending less in the long run anyway, and you won’t be stuck scrubbing hours after dinner is finished and the kids are in bed.
Apply Silicone Liners
In some cases, aluminum foil is the best liner option as it protects your pan while still allowing certain foods to get crispy, such as breaded chicken or roasted vegetables.
But in other cases, you might be better off using a different kind of liner.
It’s a food-grade material, so it’s safe to place food items on. They’re typically made with a mix of silicone and either fiberglass or nylon.
Not only do these liners protect your pans and avoid the whole burnt aluminum mess, but they’re reusable.
That’s great for the environment and your wallet. Simply wash them when you’re done and use them next time you cook or bake.
Cooking and baking can be such fun, rewarding hobbies. Whether you’re a busy mom or an avid food enthusiast, any helpful tool can make the process better and easier.
Use these tips to help clean any burnt foil stuck on your pans, and implement some of our advice to avoid it in the future.
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