Easy Simmer Pot Recipes to Make Your Home Smell Amazing!

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Have you ever heard of a simmer pot? Also known as stovetop potpourri, it’s an easy and inexpensive way to make your home smell amazing. It involves putting a shallow pot of water on the stove, adding a few other ingredients, and then letting the pot simmer for a few hours. I love a good simmer pot for every time of year, so here are my best simmer pot recipes for every season. 

Are you already a fan of simmer pots or are you brand new to this idea? I like to think of simmer pots as interior decorating for your nose! Nothing beats the smell of natural ingredients, and smells can really set the tone and mood for your indoor gatherings and dinner parties. We all know exactly what Christmas or a fresh spring day smells like, even if we can’t quite put our finger on it! A simmer pot is a great way of capturing those elusive scents and putting your guests in a great mood for the evening.

What can I simmer to make my house smell good?

The idea is that you put a small saucepan of water (you only need a low water level) on the stove on low heat, and then fill it with natural and fresh ingredients that will infuse the air in your home with their scent. Simmer pots are a natural way to replace air fresheners, and I think they work better than commercial scents anyway! 

How long do you leave a simmer pot on?

Once you get your water hot and simmering, it should take 10 minutes for everyone in your house to smell it. I usually let it simmer for a couple of hours, topping up the water level every once in a while to make sure it doesn’t go dry. If you want it to simmer for hours and hours you could use a larger pot too. You can’t really do this wrong, since you’re not actually cooking anything and the only variable is how long you want the scent to hang around your home.

And this isn’t just a good idea for your own home use. This holiday season, consider giving a simmer pot kit to someone special as a great gift! If you dry the ingredients beforehand, you can place them in a mason jar and give them away. I have the full tutorial on how to create a beautiful simmer pot jar gift with free printable tags right here.

Simmer pot recipes for every season

My personal favourite times of year to put a simmer pot on the stove are fall & Christmas, but that doesn’t mean those are the only options. You can make them for any season! Let’s go through all the options for a simmer pot blend for every time of year, starting with gorgeous fall scents.  

 (P.S. I found my copper pot at an antique store, but here is another beautiful option!)

Fall Simmer Pot Recipe

In a shallow saucepan, mix together:

  • 2 cups water
  • Peels from one orange
  • Peels from one apple
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla extract

Bring the pot to a low simmer and leave it on your stove to fill the house with a beautiful autumn scent. This is one of my absolute favourite stovetop potpourri recipes.

Christmas Simmer Pot

In a shallow saucepan, mix together:

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 apple slices (or the peels from one apple)
  • 4 orange slices (or the peels from one orange)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves (or other whole spices like cardamom pods)
  • 2 small spruce tree clippings

Bring the pot to a simmer and leave it on your stove to fill the house with a rich, festive scent. Essential oils are a nice optional add-in for these simmer pots too. A drop or two of peppermint would really add to the Christmas vibe here, as just one example!

Spring Simmer Pot

Spring scents are really just the scent of clean, all year round! Feel free to use this recipe to freshen up a musty house smell at any time of year.

In a shallow saucepan, mix together:

  • 2 cups water
  • Lemon peels or lemon slices (from one lemon)
  • 1 tsp dried lavender buds (or 2 sprigs of lavender)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (or 2 sprigs of rosemary)

Bring the pot to a simmer and leave it on your stove to fill the house with a fresh, clean, and citrus-y scent for spring.

I hope I’ve convinced you that a pot of spices or herbs, water, and other fresh ingredients is a great way to scent your home for any season. Got any other ideas for scents in a simmer pot? Tag me @thediymommy and let me know so I can try them too! 

Simmer Pot FAQs

Maybe I didn’t tell you everything you want to know about simmer pots in the post above. Check out this list of questions to see if you can find the answers you’re looking for!

Can I use a slow cooker for a simmer pot?

Yes, you can also use a slow cooker as a simmer pot instead of using a pot on the stove. This is a nice option if you need to leave the house or if you are too distracted and might walk away and forget the stove is on. Fill your slow cooker or crock pot about 2/3 full of water and then add the rest of the recipe ingredients. Leave the lid off of your crock pot, and simmer the ingredients at the high-temperature setting. You can periodically check the slow cooker and top it off with fresh water.

Can I drink the simmer pot water?

I personally would not drink the simmer pot water! I usually put all of my simmer pot ingredients in our compost after use. There are better ways to make tea, in my opinion. I’m sure you could drink some of these recipes if you wanted to, but be careful about certain ingredients like spruce clippings or essential oils.

How many times can you reuse a simmer pot?

I like to use all fresh ingredients each time I start a simmer pot. It’s such an easy recipe that costs almost nothing to put together, and I don’t have the patience to drain the pot and save the ingredients somewhere for next time. However, if you want to do all this there’s no reason why not! You can reuse simmer pot ingredients 2-3 times if you wish. After that, their ingredients will start to lose their potency and won’t smell the same as they did fresh. 

Are simmer pots better than candles?

I think simmer pots are better than candles, for a couple of reasons. Especially for families with small children, they have no open flame to worry about. Just put the pot on the back burner where it can’t be reached and there’s no danger. Candles also rely on artificial scents and chemicals, whereas a simmer pot is made from fresh and natural ingredients.

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  1. I just tried the fall simmer pot recipe. My home smells wonderful!!! 😀 And because your pictures are so pretty, I printed them all and will display them each seasonally! 😀 Thank you!
    Incidentally… pine IS edible. Pine tea has several benefits. Although it never occurred to me to drink the simmer pot water; maybe I’ll give it a shot. LOL

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