How To Clean A Non-Stick Grill Pan

No matter how careful you are on the cooktop, sooner or later you’re going to end up with a big sticky mess on the surface of your non-stick grill pan. We all make mistakes…

The good news is that cleaning up your grill pan isn’t any more difficult than washing any other non-stick cookware.

In fact, that non-stick surface can actually help get the job done.

Here are the simple steps you need to take to clean a non-stick grill pan:

  1. First, pour as much of the grease away as you can*. This will make the washing up much less unpleasant!
  2. Fill your sink with warm water and add a few splashes of mild kitchen soap. I emphasize mild there as you need to use gentle cleaning agents when working with non-stick surfaces.
  3. Add the non-stick grill pan to the sink and use a gentle, non-abrasive cleaning tool to wipe the surface down.
  4. If there’s anything really stubborn on there, you can use a silicone or wooden utensil to nudge it off. Don’t be too aggressive with the surface though. It’s better to take this slowly, even if it means the job takes longer as a result.
  5. Rinse off, and dry thoroughly before putting your grill pan back into storage.

(* Don’t pour it down the sink though. That can lead to a very expensive visit by the plumber…)

Those are the basic steps and it’s a pretty easy job.

When things have gone really wrong though, you might need a little extra help.

In this rest of this guide I’ll go into more detail about the more drastic action you can take when it’s needed.

(Want to learn more about cookware? Take a look through my archive for more guides and reviews.)

First, What NOT To Do

Before I go any further though, it’s worth highlighting what you shouldn’t do if you want to keep your non-stick grill pan clean and effective!

A top down view of plates sitting in a dishwasher

Avoid The Dishwasher

Yep, it’s the easiest way to clean up pots and pans, but it’s best avoided when you’re working with non-stick surfaces.

This kind of grill pan really needs to be washed by hand, as the dishwasher environment is simply too abrasive for the non-stick coating to withstand.

Even if your non-stick grill pan has been advertised as dishwasher-safe, you will still reduce the lifespan of the product by subjecting it to the process.

It gets hot and humid in a dishwasher. This happens to varying degrees depending on the stage of the washing cycle too, which isn’t great for the durability of your pans either.

High heat – plus strong detergent – is the quickest way to ruin a non-stick surface.

All you can do here is invest a little good old-fashioned elbow grease. It’s the price we all have to pay for enjoying convenient non-stick cookware.

Clean Sooner Rather Than Later

After you’ve made a big meal it can be very tempting to leave your grill pan on the side for later – or even worse, for tomorrow.

You miss out on a big benefit of non-stick surfaces by delaying the inevitable, however.

The same non-stick quality that helps slide effortlessly onto plates also provides a helping hand during the washing up.

First, most of the food debris should brush off gently into the trash.

Secondly, anything left behind will be easier to wipe off, just by virtue of the fact it’s sitting on a non-stick surface!

Warm water will often be enough to get the job done easily enough. Otherwise add a mild dish soap to shift the grease off the surface of your non-stick grill pan.

Use A Gentle Cleaning Tool

Be careful not to use anything too abrasive – like steel wool – when you’re scrubbing your grill pan.

Non-stick coatings are easily damaged by rough cleaning materials, and you really shouldn’t need to use one anyway.

Stick to a microfiber cloth, or the soft side of a scouring sponge, and your non-stick grill pan will thank you for it!

This is also a good time to mention the utensils you should use with your non-stick pans.

Metal cooking utensils are not designed to be used with non-stick surfaces. The risk of scraping or scratching the coating is just too high, and we all make mistakes in the kitchen.

Wooden or silicone spatulas are very affordable and I believe are worth investing in.

It’s certainly much more cost effective to buy a new set of utensils, than a new non-stick grill pan.

Baking Soda – Your Secret Kitchen Helper

I’ve written about the exceptional cookware cleaning potential of baking soda elsewhere on Viva Flavor.

It’s just as useful when it comes to cleaning a particularly grubby non-stick grill pan.

Rather than using more abrasive chemical concoctions, baking soda does a surprisingly good job of cleaning up even the nastiest cookware exteriors.

To prepare it for use on your grill pan, combine three parts water with one part baking soda.

Next, just stir the concoction until you’ve created a very loose paste.

Apply it to the base of your non-stick grill pan, and leave it on the side for around 10 minutes.

If you want to use it on the interior non-stick surface, be a little more delicate. Add a sprinkling of baking soda to the surface, wet it with water, and get back to – gentle – work with your cleaning tool.

After that, you should find that any grease or grime washes off very easily under warm water!

Green vegetables in oil, sitting on a non-stick cooking surface

Storing Your Non-Stick Grill Pan

Here are a few tips which will help keep your non-stick grill pan in top working condition between uses.

Follow this advice and you won’t have any nasty surprises in store when you next really need your grill pan.

Add A Dash Of Oil To Your Grill Pan After Washing

It sounds a little odd, but many cooks like to wipe a little oil onto the grill pan’s non-stick surface after washing.

It’s believed to help protect the surface while in storage, but don’t go nuts with the amount of oil you use here.

Just a teaspoon or so of oil, applied gently with a paper towel, is all that’s necessary. It shouldn’t be sticky to the touch by the time you’ve finished.

Always Dry Your Grill Pan Surface Carefully

Once you’ve finished washing your non-stick grill pan, be sure to dry it off thoroughly before returning it to storage.

Depending on the material your grill pan’s made of, there’s a risk of rust developing if you put it away while moisture is still present.

Use A Paper Towel Or Separator To Store Cookware

Many a non-stick surface has been ruined by stacking cookware!

By doing so you increase the risk of scratching that crucial coating. As the exterior of pots and pans tend to become rougher over time, it’s easy to see how problems can occur.

You have a couple of options if you still want to stack your cookware in the cupboard though.

First, grab a sheet or two of standard kitchen toweling and use it as a barrier that lies between different items.

(Just make sure to change these towels out from time to time. Depending on where your cupboards are located, you may introduce moisture to the area just through day to day cooking. The toweling will soak that up.)

Alternatively, you can buy fabric separators from the usual online marketplaces. These are inexpensive, and do a much better job of protecting stacked cookware in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before wrapping up, here are some of the most common questions readers have had about fixing specific problems with their non-stick grill pans.

Three greasy pans sitting on the top of a cooker

How Do You Get Burnt Grease Off A Grill Pan?

If your non-stick grill pan is marked as oven-safe (not all are by any means), then you can use your oven to shift the grease.

  • Pre-heat the oven to around 500F / 260C.
  • Place the pan in the oven for around two hours.
  • Turn the oven off and leave the pan inside until it’s safe to handle.

I recommend hanging around while this process is ongoing. If you’ve got a lot of grease or grime on your grill pan, it can make quite a stink. It’s worth opening a window before starting!

IMPORTANT: This method only works if your non-stick grill pan is advertised as oven-safe. Refer to the manual, or look to an online product listing before attempting this! Oven compatibility is a big selling point, so the information should be easy enough to track down.

Can I Use Oven Cleaner On A Non-Stick Grill Pan?

I’m not aware of any brand of non-stick cookware that can tolerate the abrasiveness of store-bought oven cleaner.

It’s simply too strong for the delicate non-stick surface, and isn’t something I can recommend.

If you don’t ruin your grill pan by going down this route, you’ll almost certainly void the warranty – and leave proof of your mistake for the manufacturer to see!

Wrapping Up

Now you know how to a clean a non-stick grill pan, and make the maintenance job a lot easier in the future.

Happy cooking!