It's easy enough to do -- leave a saucepan for just a few minutes and the food burns on the pan. Fortunately, even the most thorough and severely burnt saucepans can be cleaned using one of several cleaning tricks. Select one method and if the burnt food remains, try another. Always use cleaning tools safe for your type of pan, such as a nylon bristle brush. Steel wool is usually not a suitable tool to use on saucepans, even stainless steel ones.
Cover the bottom of the burnt sauce pan with water and add 1 to 2 tsp. of salt. Let it soak for at least 15 minutes but overnight is best. Scrub the pan to remove the burnt-on food with a nylon scrubbing pad or brush. If it doesn't easily come off, boil the saltwater for five minutes, let the water cool and then clean the burnt stains off.
Pour white vinegar into a stainless steel saucepan to completely cover the burnt areas. Bring it to a boil for five minutes. Cool and scrub the burnt food off.
Sprinkle baking soda along the bottom of the saucepan and add about 1 inch of water. If the pan is burnt up the sides, add at least 1/2 cup of baking soda per gallon of water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for five minutes before cleaning.
Freeze the burnt saucepan. Frozen burnt-on food is often easier to clean.