It’s so easy to make a simmer pot! Stovetop potpourri fills your home with a fabulous fragrance, and it makes a beautiful gift, too.

Learn how to make our favorite simmer pot recipe in just a few minutes to make your home smell amazing, naturally! This warm and cozy DIY is the best way to bring seasonal fragrance into your home.

There’s nothing cozier than a pot simmering full of something fragrant on the stove in the fall and winter months.

A cast iron simmer pot filled with stovetop potpourri of sliced apples, cinnamon sticks and more!

Once the weather becomes chilly, I tend to enjoy spending more time at home, indoors. When the sun goes down and temperatures drop, I like to bring the outdoors in, by making a simmer pot for the stove.

Making a simmer pot is so simple and makes your home smell amazing for days. Enjoy all that fall has to offer as this incredible scent permeates through your home.

A great playlist, a little fragrant potpourri simmering on the stove, and a cozy throw are all you really need to get through a gloomy day.

Any time someone walks through the door and I have stovetop potpourri simmering in the kitchen, they always comment on how amazing our home smells. It sets the mood for the season. It’s a great alternative to a candle – we often have some simmering for the holidays.

A cast iron simmer pot filled with stovetop potpourri of sliced apples, cinnamon sticks and more!

Simmer Pot

A fragrant simmer pot on our stovetop somehow makes it all feel enjoyable… and a cozy home fragrance is one of my best tips for How to Make Your Home Feel Cozy all year long!

You can make your home smell like Christmas with just a few ingredients you have in your kitchen! A blend of fruits and warm spices make the most amazing potpourri!

Why You’ll Love It

  • Easy to make – Flexible, natural ingredients you probably already have on hand.
  • Natural and Earth Friendly – Natural fragrances are the best way to replace the synthetics in your home.
  • Cozy – This simmer pot will give your home the coziest seasonal vibes!

Bonus: A simmer pot is a great way to use excess fruits, even produce that’s past its prime! The options are endless!

A cast iron simmer pot filled with stovetop potpourri of sliced apples, cinnamon sticks and more!

Ingredients and Substitutions

See printable recipe card for complete ingredients and instructions.

  • Apples – Any of your favorite variety will do. I really enjoy the fragrance of Pink Lady and Gala apples.
  • Pears – Any inexpensive or seasonally available variety works well.
  • Cinnamon Sticks – Whole cinnamon sticks add a lot of fragrance and also make it look so beautiful!
  • Cloves – This is the one spice that sings all things fall to me. Keep a jar on hand for all your holiday recipes.
  • Water – Fill your pot with water as needed for simmering.
A cast iron simmer pot filled with stovetop potpourri of sliced apples, cinnamon sticks and more!

Variations

  • Oranges – The more popular navel oranges work wonders for a potpourri with oranges, but if you want more of a variety for the holiday season, try Cara Cara or Blood oranges. 
  • Cranberries – Have leftover Thanksgiving cranberries? They add a beautiful pop of color!
  • Lemons
  • Rosemary – Another fragrant, beautiful option for potpourri.
  • Star of Anise – A sweet, licorice scent in a beautiful star shape, perfect for Christmas!
  • Cardamom
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla – A hint of vanilla extract is always a wonderful addition. You can also use a vanilla bean.
A cast iron simmer pot filled with stovetop potpourri of sliced apples, cinnamon sticks and more!

How to Make

In a Pot on the Stove

  1. Fill pot with water.
  2. Add ingredients.
  3. Simmer over low heat.

For the most fragrance, simmer uncovered, adding water as needed.

To keep moisture in, you can keep it covered, but of course the fragrance won’t be as strong throughout the room.

In a Slow Cooker

  1. You can make it in a slow cooker on high with the lid partially on, to prevent evaporation.
  2. Check on it every couple of hours, and add water as needed. It’s perfect for parties or when you are cooking a lot and don’t have space on the stove top.
A cast iron simmer pot filled with stovetop potpourri of sliced apples, cinnamon sticks and more!

Tips

  • Use whatever fruits you have on hand – see our suggestions for all the incredible variations you can do with simmer pots.
  • Add water as needed. Keep the lid halfway on the pot so you don’t lose water too quickly.
  • Re-use throughout the week. Allow to cool and refrigerate covered between use.
A cast iron simmer pot filled with stovetop potpourri of sliced apples, cinnamon sticks and more!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a simmer pot?

A simmer pot (also called stove top potpourri) serves two purposes in the winter months. It adds humidity into the dry air of your home, and it also give you a delightful wintery fragrance.
Leaving these items at a low simmer on your stovetop means that the fragrant water evaporates and provides a scent in your home.

How Long Does Stovetop Potpourri Last?

I warm our simmer pot on the stove for an hour here or there throughout the week and then put a lid on it (store refrigerated, covered) until I’m ready to warm again.

How to Store

  • You can reuse it as long as it smells fresh and replenish ingredients as needed. When I throw together a quick simmer pot, I can warm it off and on for days. 
  • Yes, it lasts for days! Often, I’ll just add a little more water to the pot to it to keep it going, especially when the winter weather is really dry and our house needs humidity.
A cast iron simmer pot filled with stovetop potpourri of sliced apples, cinnamon sticks and more!

I hope you love this cozy recipe as much as I do! What are some of your favorite ways to make the house smell great?

A cast iron simmer pot filled with stovetop potpourri of sliced apples, cinnamon sticks and more!
5 from 7 votes

How to Make a Simmer Pot

It’s so easy to make a simmer pot! Stovetop potpourri fills your home with a fabulous fragrance, and it makes a beautiful gift, too.
Prep: 3 minutes
Total: 3 minutes
Servings: 1
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Ingredients  

  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1 apple sliced
  • 1 pear sliced
  • 4-6 cups water

Instructions 

  • Fill pot with water.
  • Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, apple and pear slices.
  • Simmer over low heat.

Tips

  • Experiment with different scents by using alternative fruits and spices.
  • Add water as needed.
  • Reuse throughout the week. Allow to cool and refrigerate covered between use.

Fall Blend

  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cloves

Christmas Blend

  • Oranges
  • Cranberries
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary

Video

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18 Comments

  1. Do you just dump it in the trash when you are done? It seems like having a burner on for no reason would be a waste of energy… Not that that would be a deal breaker for me! With a dog and two litter boxes, we need all the help we can get, smell-wise.