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Dec 29, 2008 05:49 AM

Latke aftermath

OK, my first year making latkes - they turned out great. My husband is still raving!
BUT my gorgeous deep 5 layer stainless skillet with the helper handle on the far side (because I'm a weakling and can't lift it one-handed) has burnt on oil splatters all up the sides. I tried a cream cleanser and an organic orange concentrate that said it would attack oil. No go - hubby is going to bring me Bon Ami the first week of February when he's back in the States on business; but I hate to wait that long.

We don't eat much fried food, so I've never run into this problem before - how does everyone else clean their latke pan?

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  1. Bon Ami or Bartender's Friend, a stainless steel scrubber and some elbow grease will do the trick.

    7 Replies
    1. re: KTinNYC

      I was afraid of that - will letting it sit a month before cleaning hurt it? I mean, it's clean enough to cook in, it's just ugly...

      1. re: Cowprintrabbit

        No, it won't hurt to leave it and as long as the oil residue isn't on the inside it won't affect performance either. I have a few pots that are dirty on the outside as well but that's probably why I don't hang them on hooks and keep them in cabinets until it's time to use them again.

        1. re: KTinNYC

          unfortunately, it's on the inside sidewalls... Thanks, though!!!!!!

          1. re: Cowprintrabbit

            If you are opposed to scrubbing you can always use oven cleaner.

          2. re: KTinNYC

            I probably use one of the more unusual latke cooking techniques. Despite living in upstate NY, I can use our gas grill year round. Having had the fried aroma linger too long in the house in the past, I have started using a large cast iron pan on the grill to fry the latkes. Easy clean-up and no smell in the house, although I realize not everyone can do this.

            1. re: markabauman

              Latkes on the grill -- that's such a GREAT idea! I think my house STILL smells from the latkes I made two weeks ago. Maybe I'll use my old cast iron griddle on the gas grill. I'm going to put a "note to self" into my recipe folder right now.

        2. re: KTinNYC

          I had the same thing happen to my stainless skillet this year. Came off easily with Barkeepers Friend, a product which, for no obvious reason, is much much more effective than regular brands like Comet etc. I recently picked up some wonderful used restaurant-quality stainless steel skillets which were totally black on the outside and not so nice on the inside either. Using oven cleaner (twice) and one go with the Barkeepers Friend they're perfectly shiny - as new. For those little annoying parts (around rivets and stuff) use an old toothbrush. I realize this is a bit of obsessive-compulsive behaviour but it's really satisfying to get all that crud off.

        3. Sometimes a paste of baking soda and water on a sponge will work. Use a LOT of soda, to scour the surface, and use even more elbow grease! Good luck!

          1. I'm glad your latkes turned out well. Mine were greasy. In fact, I took one, stuck a wick in it, lit it and it burned for 8 days!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Rmis32

              * In fact, I took one, stuck a wick in it, lit it and it burned for 8 days! * hee hee!

              I had a couple turn out that way (the dogs liked them!) until the oil came up to heat - I had our gas stove turned up as high as it would go; but it's the kind with the propane tank outside - I think my best friend's in the US get hotter...

            2. Next time, make them in a nonstick pan. They came out fantastic, and cleanup was a breeze! I then froze them on a sheet pan, then put them in a freezer bag. When I needed them last week, I took them out, put them on a sheet pan in a 350 oven for 15 minutes, and they were light and crisp, just like I had made them that moment! That is the way to go!!

              11 Replies
              1. re: Mother of four

                Cooking that hot for that long in nonstick scares me - we have a parrot and I read something a few years ago about teflon, etc should only be used for as long as it takes to scramble eggs if you have pet birds...

                1. re: Cowprintrabbit

                  It's not the amount of time it's high the heat used in the pan that releases the toxic compounds.


                  1. re: Cowprintrabbit

                    Don't have ay pet birds!!! That's a new one on me!! What the heck does cooking with teflon have to do with pet birds????

                    1. re: Mother of four

                      I have a friend who works at a veterinary clinic. She tells me that every once in a while someone brings in a "teflon parrot" - a bird that just dropped dead for no apparent reason. They often can trace it to a teflon pan being placed on high heat - without any food in it, usually - until the teflon burns and vaporizes. This vapor is toxic to birds especially. Of course, it's literally the canary in the coal mine scenario. May not kill us but might be more toxic than we'd like to think.

                      You can look this up. It's absolutely not a myth.

                      1. re: Nyleve

                        Why would anyone put any kind of a pan on a stove on high heat without anything in it? Could be a start of a good kitchen fire,,,,by by birdie for sure!

                        1. re: Mother of four

                          I put pans on high heat with nothing in it all the time. Pre-heating a pan isn't dangerous, what could catch fire?

                          1. re: Mother of four

                            I suspect that it's often a mistake. But my husband always puts an empty pan on the stove, turns on the burner and goes off to find his eggs, etc. before cooking. I only get upset when he does it with my teflon egg pan.

                            1. re: Nyleve

                              You really don't need to pre-heat a pan for eggs but how else can you get a good sear on meat or do a decent stir fry without leaving an empty pan on high heat?

                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                Look, my husband doesn't give a rat's patootie about getting a sear on steak or anything else. The only time he cooks meat is when I've been out of town for at least a week - he can survive a week on leftovers and canned sardines. He "preheats" the skillet because he is impulsive: Turn on stove! Find eggs! Oh - bagels are in the freezer! Quick into the microwave. OOPS 5 minutes is too long to nuke a bagel. Get another bagel from freezer. OOPS pan is burning! Where did I leave the eggs again? Oh here they are. OOPS dropped one. Clean it up and get another. OOPS pan is still burning! Where are those eggs again? Oh better get that bagel into the toaster. Empty nonstick pan bursts into flames. Parrot dies. End of story.

                                Actually we have never had a parrot but all the rest of the above scenario has happened. IF we had a parrot, it would be dead. Guaranteed.

                                1. re: Nyleve

                                  LOL, I hope you check to make sure your home owner's insurance is paid up before you leave your husband alone for any extended period of time...

                          2. re: Nyleve

                            A veritable culinary canary in a coal mine.