A Christmas simmer pot is a warm and cozy way to make your home smell like the holidays. Stovetop potpourri natural home fragrance made by simmering seasonal ingredients on the stove. 

An overhead photo of a beautiful Christmas simmer pot made with water, orange slices, fresh cranberries, spices, and pine. This Christmas simmer pot is in a saucepan on a marble countertop before simmering.

What better way to infuse your home with the warm, cozy scents of Christmas than with a delightful stovetop potpourri? Simmer pot recipes are the secret weapon to making your home smell wonderful. Today, we’re diving into the art of creating a Christmas simmer pot that will have your guests wondering if they’ve stepped into a winter wonderland.

What is Stovetop Potpourri? 

Stovetop potpourri is a concoction of aromatic ingredients simmered in water on the stovetop. The gentle heat releases the essential oils from these ingredients, filling your home with the most beautiful natural fragrance that captures the essence of the holiday season.

Why Choose Stovetop Potpourri?

Stovetop potpourri is a natural and chemical-free way to freshen up your living space. Unlike commercial air fresheners and candles, which often contain synthetic fragrances and harsh chemicals, stovetop potpourri relies on nature. 

Simmer pots take just a few minutes to prepare and are a great option if you don’t have or don’t enjoy candles. We think simmer pots smell even better than candles. The aroma of this Christmas simmer pot makes your kitchen smell like you’ve been baking something delicious. 

What to Simmer to Make Your House Smell Like Christmas

Sliced oranges and kumquats on a wooden cutting board with fresh cranberries, cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and pine sprig. Lit candles in gold candle stick holders in the corner.  

Simmer pots can be made with all sorts of different seasonal ingredients, so feel free to experiment. For winter, these are our favorite things to simmer on the stove to make the home smell lovely. 

Ingredient Spotlight: Orange

Oranges are a fantastic addition to your Christmas simmer pot. The citrusy aroma of orange peel adds a refreshing and uplifting note to the mix, cutting through the heavier scents of spices. I like to add sliced kumquats as well, as they grow in our backyard. 

Burst of Festivity: Fresh Cranberries

Fresh cranberries bring a burst of color and a tart, fruity fragrance to the potpourri. These little red gems not only contribute to the visual appeal but also release a delightful aroma as they simmer away. Fresh cranberries are only in season for a short time, so we like to use them as much as possible! You’ll also love our Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites – the best holiday appetizer. 

Cloves: The Aromatic Powerhouse

Whole cloves are a classic spice that adds warmth and depth to your stovetop potpourri. The sweet and spicy aroma of cloves is a quintessential scent of the holiday season, reminiscent of gingerbread cookies and mulled wine.

Cinnamon Sticks: A Dash of Spice

Cinnamon sticks are a must-have in any Christmas simmer pot. Their sweet and woody fragrance evokes memories of freshly baked cinnamon rolls and adds a comforting undertone to the mix.

Star Anise: An Exotic Touch

For a touch of exotic flair, add star anise to your simmer pot. This star-shaped spice releases a licorice-like aroma, elevating the overall fragrance profile and adding a unique twist to the Christmas potpourri.

Evergreen Elegance: Sprig of Pine

No Christmas scent is complete without a nod to evergreen trees. A sprig of pine not only adds a touch of visual elegance but also infuses your home with the crisp, fresh scent of a winter forest. If you don’t have a pine Christmas tree to snip, feel free to use a couple of bay leaves instead. 

A medium-sized copper saucepan filled with a Christmas stovetop potpourri recipe. Fresh cranberries float in water with orange, a kumquat, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and pine.

Beyond Christmas: Year-Round Simmer Pot Ideas

Stovetop potpourri isn’t just for Christmas. Experiment with different combinations of fruits, spices, and herbs to create scents that suit every season. For springtime freshness, try lemon slices and rosemary. In the fall, apples, cinnamon, and cloves can evoke the coziness of autumn.

Sliced oranges and kumquats on a cutting board with a bowl of cranberries.

Tips for Perfecting Your Simmer Pot

1. Monitor Water Levels: Keep a close eye on the water level, adding more as needed to prevent the pot from drying out, ensuring a consistent release of fragrance.

2. Experiment with Ingredients: Customize the fragrance strength by adjusting the quantities of orange, cranberries, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and pine, allowing for a personalized aromatic experience.

3. Infuse Creativity: Add your favorite seasonal ingredients for a unique touch, experimenting with various combinations to capture the essence of different seasons. Try apples or rosemary if you’re feeling adventurous. 

4. Extended Simmering: Enhance the aromatic experience by simmering for 1 to 2 hours or more, releasing the fragrances gradually for a lasting and immersive atmosphere.

5. Reheat for Reuse: Refrigerate leftover potpourri and reheat on the stovetop for another round of fragrance, though note that potency may diminish with each use.

6. Avoid Unattended Simmering: Prioritize safety by never leaving the pot unattended, and regularly checking the water level to prevent the mixture from boiling dry.


This Christmas, treat your senses to the enchanting fragrance of a homemade stovetop potpourri. With the combination of orange, fresh cranberries, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and a sprig of pine, you’ll have a Christmas simmer pot that transforms your home into a holiday haven. Embrace the festive spirit and make lasting memories with the magical scents of the season. Happy simmering!

@marinadelio Make your home smell like Christmas with a simmer pot! All you need to make stovetop Potpourri is an orange, 2 cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole cloves amd a sprig of pine to simmer in a pot of water on the stoveπŸŽ„ #stovetoppotpourri #simmerpot #christmassimmerpot #wintersimmerpot #christmasfragrance #Home #aesthetic #cozyathome #christmastiktok #holidayvibes #cozyvibes #christmastok #homefragrance #freshcranberries ♬ Twinkling Lights (Reimagined) – Auni

Yield: 1 medium pot

Christmas Simmer Pot Stovetop Potpourri

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

A Christmas simmer pot to fill your home with the most beautiful holiday aroma. Stovetop potpourri is a wonderful natural home fragrance that takes just a few minutes to prepare.

Christmas Simmer Pot Stovetop Potpourri


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 pine sprig (optional)


  1. Fill a medium-sized saucepan 2/3 full (or about 3 cups of water if using a larger pot). Add orange slices, cinnamon, cranberries, cloves, star anise, and the pine sprig.
  2. Turn the stove on and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer over low heat and enjoy the warm and cozy stovetop potpourri aromas.
  3. Check the pot often and add more water as needed. I typically keep my pots simmering for 1 to 2 hours.


Feel free to experiment with ingredients and adjust amounts to your liking. Apples also work well in this recipe.