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How to Clean an Electric Skillet

An electric skillet is a great way to gain back some valuable stove top real estate. They are one part hot plate, one part non stick pan, however, they are not the easiest to clean. Lucky for you, if you have never cleaned an electric skillet or were unsure if you were doing it the right way, we have just the guide for you. 

Today we’ll be going over how to clean your electric skillet. There are no real tricks here, just some good old common sense and maybe a tiny bit of chemistry coming your way!  

How to Clean an Electric Skillet

It is important to clean all cookware after use, and electric skillets are no exception. As with all cookware, you want to clean everything up to prevent harmful toxins and germs from getting into your food as well as keeping your cookware safe from corrosion and wear for years to come. 

While an electric skillet may be a bit more complicated than most pots and pans in your kitchen, the principles for cleaning it remain the same.  

Here’s a quick outline of the steps, which we will talk about in detail below:

  1. Completely unplug the electric skillet
  2. Use a soapy sponge and a little water to get rid of any grease or left over food
  3. Clean and rinse the skillet
  4. Wipe down the connector
  5. Let the skillet air dry

Different Types of Electric Skillets to Clean

There are a few different types of electric skillets out there, the type you have is going to make some differences to how you can clean it.

  • Removable skillet or griddle top: If your electric skillet has a removable griddle plate or the bowl “skillet” part separates from the electronics, you are in luck. This is the easiest type of skillet to clean, as you can treat it as any other pot or pan in your kitchen.
  • Non-Removable skillet or griddle top: If the top of your electric skillet does not detach from the electronics, then you will need to do 2 main things: 
    • Always make sure the skillet is fully disconnected
    • Make sure you do not get the electronics wet in any way (if you accidentally get a little water on them let it dry completely)
  • Dishwasher-safe skillet: Believe it or not, there are some models of electric skillets that claim to be dishwasher safe. We do not recommend this as even if your skillet is safe, it has a high likelihood for scratching and denting in the dishwasher. 

Step 1: Unplug the Electric Skillet

Completely unplugging the electric skillet should come as no surprise. Safety first, since we are working with something electrical. We do not want any water remotely close to it without it being fully disabled and disconnected. 

For most skillets, this means unplug it from the wall and also unplug the electrical cord from the skillet / heating element. If you can, also disconnect the heating element from the skillet. This is even better, as you only need to clean the skillet. 

Step 2: Remove Grease and Leftover Food

Use a soapy sponge and a little water to get rid of any grease or left over food. Electric skillets are non-stick so chances are, this should be pretty easy. 

If you have burned on food or your non-stick coating is starting to fail, you will need to use baking soda and a little water on the grease and let it sit overnight. 

Step 3: Clean and Rinse the Skillet Part 

Again, make sure no electrical components are attached and the unit is fully unplugged. If you cannot separate the electrical components, then you can fill the skillet with water and scrub before pouring it out. 

Step 4: Wipe Down the Connector

Again, make sure it is completely unconnected. It is important to wipe down the connector with a damp soapy sponge or towel to prevent any grease build up. The last thing you want is your cord catching fire. Make sure you completely dry the connector before using it again. 

Step 5: Let the Skillet Air Dry

Never start an electric device when it is wet or damp, as this could cause a serious fire and shock hazard. We are going to let everything air dry upside down if we possible to make sure all the water comes out and there is no chance of a short circuit on next use. 

Additional Tips for Cleaning Electric Skillets

Since electric skillets come with a variety of non-stick coatings, it is safest to only use soft cleaning tools like plastic brushes and sponges. Avoid all steel wool products as they have a high chance to eat through the non-stick coating exposing you to harmful metal leaching

Can You Put an Electric Skillet in the Dishwasher?

Yes, there are skillets that can go in the dishwasher. However, I would not recommend putting your skillet in the dishwasher in any capacity. The reason for this is that they are pretty big and will risk getting scratched and bumped by other dishes compromising the non-stick coating.

As stated earlier, once the non-stick coating is damaged the cookware becomes dangerous (and less effective). 

How Does Baking Soda Help Remove Burned on Food?

Baking soda (and really any alkaline solution) will react with the fats in the leftover food and turn them into soap. 

Here’s a basic equation to remember: alkaline + fat = soap 

This is why traditional soap is made from lye and animal fat. While this isn’t your everyday soap, it has the same slippery properties. So, imagine having a stuck piece of food and literally transforming some of that food into soap. This makes it a lot easier to scrub and rinse off now. 

Conclusion

While an electric skillet is super convenient, make sure you take care of it properly. Electronic components must stay dry and all cords and connectors must be kept out of the water (i.e. do not submerge). 

When it comes to the actual skillet part of the cookware, if it is removed for cleaning, all the better. Finally, make sure you keep the surface safe from toxins and corrosion by using only plastic brushes and soft sponges. Avoid steel wool and similar products as these can damage your non-stick coating. 

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. With inspirations like Alton Brown and Gordon Ramsey, Nathaniel focuses on simple processes to make amazing food.