How to Remove Cooking Spray Residue From Pans

How to Remove Cooking Spray Residue From Pans

The cooking spray has made the chef’s life easier and hassle-free. Gone are the days when overuse of oil or unnecessary spills would ruin a tidy countertop!

However, the cooking spray does come with one annoyance – residue! Chefs and home cooks are only too well aware of cooking spray residue. The sticky gunk left on the corner of your baking pans or frying pans is the stuff of nightmares!

Cooking spray residue is the remaining yellow-red substance that your food did not soak up. It’s the remnants of the chemicals and oils that are cooked into your utensils. The gummy texture and odor are enough to put anyone off!

So how do you remove cooking spray residue from pans?

What Is Cooking Spray?

The first step is to understand what your cooking spray is made of. The common ingredients that go into your cooking spray are lubricants, like olive oil, canola oil or corn oil, an emulsifier known as lecithin, and a propellant, like carbon dioxide, which helps the concoction spray out of the nozzle.

Together, these ingredients allow chefs and home cooks to cook with ease, without the ingredients sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Ironically, it works! Cooking with cooking spray is less messy and the food actually doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan nor its sides. However, the cooking spray itself can stick to the surface post-cooking thanks to the heat and the chemical reaction that takes place.

How to Remove Cooking Spray Residue From Pans

Depending on the pans you’re using, there are various ways to get rid of cooking spray residue.

Not only will you have clean and gleaming pans in no time, but these cleaning hacks will also save you tons of time you’ll spend fretting otherwise.

Removing Cooking Spray from Nonstick/Teflon Pans 

On nonstick surfaces, cooking spray can become stubbornly adherent. The non-stick surface is designed to heat up and cool down really quickly, which means the cooking spray will definitely leave a ton of residue.

After your pan has cooled down, remove any food remnants using a soft wash-cloth or paper towel and then wash using a mild dish-washing soap. Next, you’re going to remove the grease.

  • Mix equal parts of baking soda and water to make a paste and apply it onto your pan, especially concentrating on areas where the cooking spray residue has settled.
  • Scrub the paste gently onto the pan’s surface, using a soft sponge, non-scratch dish brush or clean wash-cloth.
  • Rinse the pan under lukewarm water and follow with another round of mild dish-washing soap if needed.
  • Dry your non-stick pan with a soft towel.

Removing Cooking Spray from Glass Or Stone Pans

They are the hardest utensils to clean cooking spray residue from. Cleaning glass cookware and stoneware can take some time and is a bit frustrating. Unlike other surfaces, the spray is more adherent on these.

First, let your cookware cool properly. Remove all food particles and gently wash your pan with mild detergent. To remove the greasy residue, here’s what you will do:

  • Mix equal parts of vinegar (white vinegar and apple cider vinegar work the best to cut through grease!) and water and soak your pan in this solution for 10-15 minutes.
  • While the pan soaks, use a soft dish brush or sponge to scrub the pan’s surface thoroughly.
  • Rinse the pan thoroughly and wash with a mild detergent to get rid of the smell of vinegar.
  • Dry the cookware with a soft towel.

Removing Cooking Spray from Silicone Baking Pans

Super soft and great for baking, sometimes silicone baking pans also need a bit of help with cooking spray. However, when used in baking, cooking spray gets baked into the pans and can become quite the nuisance.

When your silicone baking pan has cooled, remove the food and wipe the pan with a soft paper towel to clean off any remaining food particles. Using lukewarm water and mild detergent, wash it once. Here’s what you need to do to remove cooking spray residue:

  • Make a paste using baking soda and water until it forms a semi-thick paste and then rub a thick coat of it over your silicone pan.
  • Wait for the baking soda to dry – this could take a few hours.
  • When the baking soda has dried, gently scrub the paste off using a damp sponge and lukewarm water.
  • Dry with a towel.

Removing Cooking Spray from Stainless Steel Pans

Stainless steel is a bit tough to clean in general. Couple that with cooking spray grease, and you’ve got a nightmare on your hands! So how can you remove cooking spray residue from stainless steel pans and cookware alike?

Remove all food remnants from your stainless steel pan and wash it once using dish detergent and sponge. Follow the next steps to get rid of the grease:

  • Rub white vinegar on the pan using a soft cloth or sponge. You can also fill an empty spray bottle with white vinegar and spray it on the stainless steel surface. Leave the pan to sit for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle baking soda powder on the pan’s surface, focusing on the greasy residue mostly.
  • Using hot water, a soft sponge and mild dish soap, scrub the stainless steel pan thoroughly until the grease cuts through.
  • Rinse the pan thoroughly and wash once more with a clean sponge.
  • Wipe the pan with a clean towel to remove any soapy residue and wipe to dry.

Removing Cooking Spray from Cast Iron Pan

Cast iron is a strong metal, but it is also prone to grease stains like other cookware. If you want your cast iron to last you for another couple of generations, the following tips can help you clean off cooking spray residue!

  • Salt: Begin by wiping your cast iron using paper towels to get rid of as much grease as you can. Add a hefty amount of salt and scrub the cast iron surface using a non-corrosive sponge or brush. Rinse your pan well, dry it on a lit stove, and follow by greasing it all over.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar: If the cooking spray residue is extremely stubborn, begin by wiping as much of it with dry paper towels. Follow by spraying some white vinegar and sprinkling baking soda on the pan’s surface. Use a non-corrosive sponge or soft-bristled brush to scrub the surface. Rinse the pan thoroughly and wipe off any excess grease using paper towels. Dry on a hot stove.
NOTE: Avoid using soap on your cast iron or soaking it in solution or water! You’ve probably noticed we did not include any cleaning method that required soap or soaking. It’s the worst thing you can do to your precious cast iron!
Also read: How to Grease a Bundt Pan

Alternatives of Cooking Spray

Cooking spray sounds amazing. It’s quick to use, cheap, doesn’t make a mess and is pretty handy in the kitchen. However, its residue is a pain to get rid of and many health-conscious people choose to eschew it altogether because of the chemicals that go in it!

For a better cooking experience, try these alternatives to the cooking spray. Your food will absorb it better and the remaining grease is also easy to clean using just a soft sponge and some dish detergent!


Butter is one of the oldest cooking fats used in kitchens. The fatty compounds in butter make it great for coating any surface! Food absorbs it better and it’s also easy to clean up using just a paper towel and follow with a round in the dishwasher.


This combination of vegetable oils is a brilliant way to create a non-stick surface to cook your meals in. Also containing lecithin, it’s a better alternative to cooking spray because it’s healthier, contains lesser chemicals and leaves behind lesser residue.

Vegetable Oil

Used popularly in at-home and professional kitchens, vegetable oil can be used in controlled amounts like cooking spray, too! Put some on a paper towel and grease your pan’s surface – lesser residue and definitely a safer alternative to cooking spray oil.

So there you go – tons of ways to cut cooking spray residue from your cookware! Happy cooking!

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