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Festive Holiday Simmer Pot [Easy Stovetop Potpourri]

November 29, 2023
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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This Festive Holiday Simmer Pot is an easy stovetop potpourri that truly elevates any room with a beautiful aroma---taking the place of sweet scented candles but in a more natural way. Truly a staple to bring in the cozy, festive vibes!

Festive Holiday Simmer Pot [Easy Stovetop Potpourri]

This Festive Holiday Simmer Pot -- Easy Stovetop Potpourri is one DIY activity that is worth creating and your entire household will thank you for it. It's the perfect way to make your house smell like the holidays in the most amazing scent simply by simmering a handful of ingredients together and allowing their complimentary aromas to shine. Variety of scent options + Crock-pot + Slow-cooker option.

Sniffing the holiday simmer pot with eyes closed.

Seriously, I'm so excited to share this post with ya'll because I love the holidays, all the decors + delicious smells wafting through the house from the kitchen! From freshly baked cookies to the savory scent of a simmering chicken soup, there's something truly magical about those delicious smells filling the house.

But, let's be real--- Sometimes I just want that cozy, delightful aroma without the baking hassle. That's where this Festive Holiday Simmer Pot, aka Easy Stovetop Potpourri, comes in—it's an absolute game-changer!

I get it, candles might come to mind. But here's the scoop: most candles have some not-so-great stuff in them. The simmer pot? It's the natural, wholesome answer. And hey, if you're up for it, you can even sip on the goodness! Haha

I've included some of my all-time favorite holiday scents like citrus, cinnamon, rosemary, and vanilla, but I've also added in a variety of other options to make this fully customizable. You can easily swap in or out your preferred scents to create your perfect mix. Plus, I've included a guide on how to dehydrate fruit slices, so you can add those in for an extra aromatic touch.

Jump to:
Sliced oranges and lemon with ingredients on a cutting board with knife.

What Is A Simmer Pot?

A simmer pot is like a DIY air freshener created by simmering fragrant fruits, herbs, and spices in water.

What's great about simmer pots is how simple, affordable + incredibly effective they are at giving your home a lovely scent. I particularly love having a home that smells fresh, especially during those cozy winter evenings spent with a good book and a steaming cup of Roasted Dandelion Strawberry Tea or Creamy Homemade Caramel Hot Chocolate. It's an effortless method to naturally freshen up your space using a blend of aromatic ingredients!

All ingredients in a blue pot for the holiday simmer pot.

How To Make A Holiday Simmer Pot

It's so simple + easy to make a holiday simmer pot, or any type of simmer pot for that matter. Simply fill a large pot ¾ full with water over medium-high heat. Add the ingredients to the pot and bring everything to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer for 2-3 hours.

Throughout the simmer, add additional water as needed to keep the sweet-scented smell filling the room. NOTE: This simmer pot will last 2-7 days!

What You Need For Easy Stovetop Potpourri

Ingredients For Simmer Pot

  • Water. (You can sub with apple juice or apple cider for a nicer smell)
  • Oranges. Sliced (You can sub with dried oranges or other citrus fruit)
  • Lemon. Sliced (You can sub with dried oranges or other citrus fruit)
  • Cranberries. Whole fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Cinnamon sticks. Is there a cozier smell?
  • Rosemary or thyme sprigs. (You can also sub with pine sprigs)
  • Allspice berries. Manages to smell like a combination of cinnamon, cloves + nutmeg
  • Star anise. Optional the smell isn't for everyone.
  • Vanilla extract. Optional but adds an amazing warming sweet touch.

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS SIMMER POT!

Here, I’ve curated a list of baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods, especially with this Easy Stovetop Potpourri. Everything from my knives, pots wooden spoons, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Festive holiday simmer pot up close overhead.

The Perks Of Using A Simmer Pot

No Chemicals

Those store-bought air fresheners and candles might smell nice, but they're packed with chemicals that aren't so great for us or the environment. Simmer pots, using natural ingredients like herbs and fruits, offer delightful scents without any of those harmful additives—no chemicals, just pure goodness!

Affordable

Creating this DIY simmer pot [aka Stovetop Potpourri] is one of the most affordable ways to infuse your home with a sweet smelling aroma. Basically, all you'll need is a great pot [I love using a large one like this round cast-iron round dish/pot or this compact glass pot], your ingredients, a spoon for stirring, and any festive decor items like twine string, ornaments, etc. That's it!

Sustainable

When it comes to sustainability-----Simmer pots are also a great way to recycle rather than compost or throw away orange rinds, lemon slices, etc. They can be used fresh or dried. (And, it is also possible to refrigerate the ingredients for a few days and reuse for simmering a 2nd time.)

Easy to Make

Again, making a simmer pot is super easy to make! You literally have to prep your ingredients before adding them to a large pot with water. Let it boil and then reduce to a simmer for hours to enjoy the beautiful aroma that it creates.

How to Dehydrate Citrus Slices

When it comes to dehydrating citrus slices, this can be achieved two ways: with a Dehydrator and without one. Of course, with using a dehydrator----much of the work is dehydrator you through the machine. However, if you're thinking of doing this process without a machine, here's what you'll need to do:

Preheat the oven. You'll want to preheat your oven at it's lowest setting like 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prep your baking sheet. You'll then need to prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper o r a wire rack.

Cut your ingredients. I like to cut my citrus into slices that are more on the thinner side. Of course, you can always use a mandoline for a more perfect cut or simply use a really sharp knife for the best cut!

Bake everything. Now, you'll line the sliced citrus onto your prepared baking sheet and bake them anywhere from 3-6 hours---flipping them unto their opposite sides halfway through for the best results for all moisture to be removed.

The following citrus can be dehydrator along with the time is takes for the process to be completed:

  • Dried Lemons (2-3 hours)
  • Dried Limes (2-3 hours)
  • Dried Blood Oranges (3-4hours)
  • Dried Cara Cara Oranges (3-4 hours)
  • Dried Navel Oranges (3-4 hours)
  • Dried Grapefruit (5+ hours)

Scent Options For A Simmer Pot

  • Fresh orange slices, ginger, star anise, clove, cinnamon, and vanilla. This by far is one of the best combos! You'll enjoy the heavenly combination of sweet, warm, full, and fruitiness.
  • Apples, ginger, lemon slices or peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. This combo is such a burst of fall and warmness in scent form.
  • Rosemary, lemon peel or slices, sprigs of fresh cedar or pine, star anise, and bay leaves. This combination has more of a fresh, invigorating, woody, and sweet feel to it.
  • Apples, pumpkin spice blend, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks.
  • Citrus slices [you can combine oranges, lemons, + grapefruits], rosemary, pine needles, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla. This combination has a fresh, bright, warm, and uplifting feel.
  • Fresh lavender buds, dried chamomile, rosemary, thyme, and vanilla. This combination works for every season and has a more calming feel.
Up close shot of holiday simmer pot.

Simmer Pot Substitutes + Ideas

  • Orange slices, fresh or dried
  • Lemon slices
  • Orange, lemon, lime or any other citrus peels, zest
  • Fresh or dried rosemary, mint, thyme, oregano, or other aromatic herbs
  • Fresh cranberries
  • Apple slices, halves, or chunks
  • Bay leaves
  • Rose petals
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Sprigs of pine or cedar, or fresh sappy pine cones
  • Cinnamon sticks, or ground cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice
  • Fresh ginger, or ground ginger
  • Cloves, whole or ground
  • Cardamom pods
  • Star Anise
  • Fresh Peppermint or peppermint extract
  • Lavender buds
  • Chamomile flowers
  • Loose-leaf chai tea
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Pumpkin Spice Blend
  • Vanilla beans, or vanilla extract. For whole vanilla beans, you'll only need the skin---so it's best to scoop out the insides and save that for your baking needs!
  • Couple of drops of essential oils. I love using ones like eucalyptus, lemongrass, frankincense, etc. It's always best to get certified organic!

Holiday Simmer Pot Q + A's

Are simmer pots better than scented candles?

Simmer pots are far more healthy than burning candles, especially if you stick to only natural and organic ingredients in your simmer pots. Yes, candles do have a stronger and long-lasting smell, however, it’s an even greater feeling when knowing that the sweet smell from the simmer pot doesn’t emit any unhealthy toxins or chemicals.

How long does the simmer pot ingredients last? Can I reuse them?

After simmering for a few hours, allow to cool, then cover the pot and let it sit on the turned-off stove until the next day. Remove the lid and bring it to a simmer again the next day. Add fresh water as needed so there is always liquid in the pot for the best results!

Can I store the simmer pot ingredients for longer?

Absolutely! For a longer lasting simmer pot (for about up to 7 days), refrigerate the pot of ingredients (after the liquid has fully cooled) between uses. Add fresh ingredients and water as needed.

Can I use other ingredients?

Of course! You can feel free to mix and match ingredients based on preference.
See post above for other great ingredient ideas for an amazing Holiday Simmer Pot.

Can I Use A Crock-Pot Or Slow Cooker?

Yes, you definitely can! If you prefer a hands-off approach, the slow cooker or crock pot is your best friend! Simply fill it mostly with water, add your chosen ingredients, cover it up, set it to high, and let it do its magic.

Once you notice steam rising, switch it to a low or simmer setting. Remember to check and top up the water from time to time to keep those delightful scents brewing!

More Festive Holiday Recipes to Enjoy This Season

Now that you've fallen in love with this easy DIY simmer pot option, you'll enjoy these festive holiday recipes to bring in the jolly + cheer for the entire family:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Festive Holiday Simmer Pot recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.

Holiday simmer pot with red string and garnish on a brown wood table.
Up close shot of holiday simmer pot.

Festive Holiday Simmer Pot [Easy Stovetop Potpourri]

November 29, 2023
5 from 1 vote
This Festive Holiday Simmer Pot is an easy stovetop potpourri that truly elevates any room with a beautiful aroma---taking the place of sweet scented candles but in a more natural way. Truly a staple to bring in the cozy, festive vibes!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 1 simmer pot
Units:

Ingredients

SIMMER POT:

  • water (You can sub with apple juice or apple cider for a nicer smell)
  • 2 oranges, sliced (You can sub with dried oranges or other citrus fruit)
  • 1 lemon, sliced (You can sub with dried oranges or other citrus fruit)
  • 1-2 cups whole fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-4 rosemary or thyme sprigs (You can also sub with pine sprigs)
  • 1-2 Tbsps allspice berries
  • handful Star anise, optional
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract, optional

Instructions

TO MAKE THE HOLIDAY SIMMER POT:

  • Fill a large pot ¾ full with water over medium-high heat. Add the ingredients to the pot and bring everything to a boil.
  • Then reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer for 2-3 hours.
  • Throughout the simmer, add additional water as needed to keep the sweet scented smell filling the room. NOTE: This simmer pot will last 2-7 days.

MAKE YOUR POT FESTIVE:

  • To make this simmer pot more festive, I enjoy a little DIY decor which only requires a few things like twine string, rosemary or thyme sprigs, candy canes, dried citrus, cinnamon sticks, whatever you choose-----as clippings. Such a great gift idea when added to these little glass pots.
  • Enjoy!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE + REUSE: After simmering for a few hours, allow to cool, then cover the pot and let it sit on the turned-off stove until the next day. Remove the lid and bring it to a simmer again the next day. Add fresh water as needed so there is always liquid in the pot for the best results!
  • STORE FOR LONGER: For a longer lasting simmer pot (for about up to 7 days), refrigerate the pot of ingredients (after the liquid has fully cooled) between uses. Add fresh ingredients and water as needed.
  • VARIATION OF INGREDIENTS: See post for other great ingredient ideas for an amazing Holiday Simmer Pot.

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

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Xx, Shanika in script writing

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