Recently two brown spots appeared on my enamel pan.

They are some distance apart, but appeared around the same time and have a very similar look, with a dark spot surrounded by a whiter area and a brown outer edge, so I have the feeling it's related to the coating rather than some damage that has been done.

Is this the enamel coating that went (or is going) bad? Is this pan still safe to use?

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  • Is this a riess milk pan? I had those spots in a similar pan after I damaged the enamel by trying to froth the milk with a milk frother and scratching the enamel. Apr 11, 2023 at 18:16
  • 1
    This is indeed a Riess pan, but I don't think it's for milk specifically. It's 16cm, 1L, so larger than most purpose built milk pans I see.
    – ROIMaison
    Apr 13, 2023 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


So, I have some bad news and some good news.

The bad news is that those look like rust spots that are a result of a flaw in the enamel coating allowing moisture and salt to get through to the iron underneath. The rust then bleeds through, producing that stain. I can even see the crack in the coating in the second close-up. This can be the result of normal wear & tear on an old pan, but if this is a relatively new pan it's probably an indication that the enamel coating isn't very good.

The good news is that you can still use the pot. That much iron oxide isn't going to do anything to you. However, you can expect the rust spots to get worse over time.

  • 1
    Should one be afraid of it rusting through and failing suddenly? Potentially with hot liquid inside.
    – Michael
    Apr 11, 2023 at 7:41
  • 2
    @Michael the enamel would show much more damage before it happens, actually starting to be visible no the bottom side probably. I've used old pans with much more damage and the enamel even gone on big spots and they never leaked.
    – Kaddath
    Apr 11, 2023 at 8:16
  • 3
    @Michael Yes, it will fail suddenly -- everything happens "suddenly" -- but it won't be a surprise. If kept in use, by the time the pot catastrophically fails, the surface will look really, really bad. Iron flakes and expands as it rusts, and will blister the enamel away over the course of years while still holding the liquid just fine.
    – Sneftel
    Apr 11, 2023 at 8:44
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    If it is a new pan you can bring it back to the shop as it should not happen in the first year or so.
    – Willeke
    Apr 11, 2023 at 9:33

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