Fragrant Home: 15 Simmering Pot Recipes

Simmering potpourri is a lovely way to make your home smell warm and inviting, especially during the holiday season when you use fragrant spices like cinnamon and cloves.

Cinnamon Sticks, Oranges & Spices

Cinnamon Sticks, Orange Slices & Spices

How It Works: Just fill a pot with water, add your favorite ingredients and simmer all day. This also helps humidify the home a bit.

The recipes below are just guidelines, you can use different amounts and mix up ingredients as you like. Save: Orange, lemon and lime peels, apple skins (dry them out first before storing in a container) and add assorted spices. Experiment to find your favorite aromas!


  • Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the ingredients from your favorite recipe, boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer all day. Top up water as needed.

Caution: Set your timer for 30 minutes so you remember to top up with water. You don’t want the pot burning dry. Do not leave the house with this left heating on the stove.

Recipe #1

Cinnamon sticks
Apple peels
Orange rinds
Whole cloves


Apple juice
Cinnamon sticks
Whole cloves


Vanilla (a few drops)
Orange peels

#4 – Christmas Potpourri Simmering Pot

3 sprigs evergreen or handful pine needles
2 cinnamon sticks
2 TBS whole cloves
2 bay leaves
2 pieces orange rind
2 pieces lemon rind


2 TBS whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
5 star anise
1 orange peel


Whole cloves
1 tsp nutmeg


Peel from a whole orange
Whole cloves
2 Cinnamon sticks


5 bay leaves
1 TBS whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon


Peel from 1 lemon
Peel from 1 orange
2 bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 TBS whole cloves


1/8 cup cloves
1/8 cup allspice
2 cinnamon sticks


6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp vanilla


1 cup dried lavender
1 tsp anise
1 TBS nutmeg
1 TBS whole cloves
1 Cinnamon stick


2 sticks cinnamon
Peel from one lemon
Fresh rosemary
Whole cloves

Winter Freshener:

2 cups dried rosemary
2 cups dried lavender
1 cup dried eucalyptus leaves
1/2 cup dried peppermint or spearmint
1/2 cup dried bay leaves

  • Directions: Keep stored in an airtight container then add 1 cup of mix per 3 cups boiling water.

Fragrant Slowcooker Version:

1 cup dried lavender leaves
4 cups dried rose petals
1 tsp. anise seed
1 TBS ground nutmeg
1 TBS whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick (broken and crushed into pieces)
1 TBS crushed benzoin fixative
5 drops jasmine oil
5 drops patchouli oil
5 drops rose geranium oil
5 drops rosemary oil

  • Directions: Mix all ingredients and store in a glass container for 1 month before using (store in dark location). Fill crockpot halfway with water, add 1 to 2 cups potpourri then turn the heat on low (lid off). Source: Company’s Coming Slow Cooker Recipes (by Jean Pare).

For the Oven:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a piece of tinfoil (a few inches wide), pour a teaspoon of vanilla on top and place the foil in the oven. Turn off oven and prop the door open a bit.
  • Fill a loaf pan with water and your favorite recipe from above. Set in oven on high heat until it starts filling your home with lovely smells. Turn off oven, then prop the door open.


  • Storage: You can refrigerate your simmering recipe and reuse daily for up to one week. Just keep adding water as needed.
  • Frugal Idea: For apple juice, cranberry juice, herbs and spices that are outdated, don’t throw out–just add to your simmering pot.
  • To Encourage Appetites: Make fresh bread or fry up an onion or set an onion in the oven to heat. The smell will make everyone good and hungry at meal time ;).

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What Readers Are Saying: 18 Comments
  1. Feast on the Cheap says:

    Love this! I recently baked Clove- and Cinnamon-Spiced Christmas Cookie Ornaments that infused the house with the most amazing scent (and now they’re spicing up the tree). Will have to add one of these brews to the mix.

  2. Krystal says:

    I used my slow cooker for this! Then you’re not topping off water all day.

    • Courtney says:

      Did you do that on the Clove and Cinnamon Spice Christmas Cookie Ornaments? And have u tried the slow cooker on any of the other one’s?

  3. Hannah says:

    This is a wonderful idea! My mother hates store-bought artificial fragrances (which I don’t mind). Maybe she will let me do this to make the house smell good!

  4. Levedi says:

    I’m severely allergic to most store bought fragrances, but real spices don’t bother me. These recipes are marvelous and they smell better than most commercial air fresheners.

  5. Christine says:

    2 Tbs. Vanilla
    2 Tbs. Rosemary
    1/4 cup Lemon Juice

    I’m not a big fan of the cinnamon, clove combo till Christmas time:)

  6. Bri says:

    We have wood heat during the winter so it can get pretty dry in the house. So I like to keep a large pot of water on the stove and we put pine needles and orange / lemon peals, I will deffinately be trying some of these this winter!!

  7. Raegan says:

    I didn’t have cinnamon sticks or cloves like many of these recipes called for, do I made so substitutions that I was well pleased with:

    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    2 TBSP pumpkin pie spice

  8. Judi says:

    Another way to store is to stop adding water and allow the potpourri to cook nearly dry (but not completely, or you will scorch it) and then pour it onto a rag or paper towel that will absorb the extra liquid, and air dry on a tray (not aluminum) on a new paper towel. When completely dry, you can store in a pretty jar until the next time. You will want to keep adding things like fresh orange peel as necessary.

  9. Ophelia says:

    What a waste of energy! Unless you have a wood-burning stove that would be heating your house anyway, boiling water all day just to diffuse the smell of pot-pourri is a disgusting waste of gas / electricity. I have to keep my gas topped up on a meter to cook.

    If you want your house to smell of herbs and spices, keep small sachets of them around your home, especially near radiators. We hang a pomander (an orange stuck with cloves and tied up with ribbon) by the mantelpiece at Christmas and I can smell it as soon as I enter the room, without having to spend a fortune on the energy bill (or risk burning the house down).

  10. JenLiz says:

    I love this! right now I am simmering orange peel, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, bay leaves, pine needles, and cardamom pods 🙂 Love this, especially around the holidays!

  11. Jordee says:

    Has anyone ever used peppermint candy canes? I have lots left over and was wondering if they would work, or just make a huge mess of my pot?

  12. Linda says:

    Can you do the in a warmer ( one used for wax melts)?

  13. Doris says:

    I am planning to sell my house soon and these fragrance tips will help. They will bring to mind pleasant thoughts when people enter my home. They will also take less time to prepare than the alternative of baking cookies.

  14. Erin M. says:

    I would love for the house to smell like Christmas time, I do not have any pine needles but I do have the pine Christmas tree oil scent from Bath and Body Works… Do you think, if I added a little of that to the boiling water with some cinnamon sticks and a little vanilla, it would work?

  15. Tina says:

    Vanilla pod (after seeds have been used for baking)
    Grapefruit peel

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