Make Your Home Smell Like a Holiday Wonderland with Stovetop Christmas Potpourri

Make your home smell like Christmas all season long with homemade potpourris. These simmering scents make use of your favorite holiday aromatics like pine, cinnamon, orange and more.

Making Cranberry Sauce with Oranges, Star Anise, and RosemaryPhoto: Shutterstock / Anna Hoychuk

We all love the warm smells that go along with the holiday seasons, like the scent of fresh-made gingerbread or mulled apple cider. But what happens after the baking and cooking are done and you want to capture those amazing, cozy smells?

Well, it turns out that creating these comforting Christmas and holiday fragrances is easy! By simmering your favorite aromatics—think cinnamon, clove and pine—and even a few leftovers (like your orange and apple peels) over the stove, you can fill your house with the sumptuous scents of the season.

How to Make Christmas Simmering Potpourri

These homemade stovetop potpourris are simple to cook up. To get the scents wafting through your home, all you need to do is fill up a saucepan with water and your aromatics—just leave about an inch of room at the top.

As for the aromatics themselves, the options are endless! If you’re cooking up a storm over the holidays, be sure to save any orange peels, apple peels, Christmas tree clippings, and stray herbs and spices. You can use all these to make your home smell incredible.

Once you put your ingredients on the stove, just bring them to a low simmer while you spend the day at home watching your favorite Christmas movies (here’s the complete 2021 Hallmark schedule!). Be sure to never stray too far from the stove, and remember that you can always add more water to keep the scents going. For a low-maintenance version, add your aromatics and water to an uncovered slow cooker and keep it on the low setting.

With the method down, you can create your own custom blend of favorite scents. If you’re looking for a place to start, though, we’ve got a few stovetop potpourri combinations you can try.

Our Favorite Sents:

Winter Forest

  • Pine sprigs; clip a few from the base of your Christmas tree!
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Bay leaves; one or two should do
  • Lemon peel or even a lemon that’s been juiced for your lemon meringue muffins
  • Orange or grapefruit peel

Cinnamon Bun

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Vanilla extract; a teaspoon of this pricey ingredient is plenty
  • Almond extract; same here—a teaspoon is a good place to start
  • Nutmeg

Warm and Fuzzy

  • Apple peels
  • Orange peels
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Whole cloves

Apple Chai

  • Apple peels; if you don’t have apples or their peels on hand, substitute a cup of apple cider
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Ginger, fresh or ground
  • Nutmeg

Cozy Cranberry

  • Fresh cranberries
  • Orange peel
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary

Trust us, these fabulous scents will have you feeling warm and cozy all season long. So grab a good book and a Christmas cookie or two (or three!) and snuggle in.

Or fill your home with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies!
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Jennifer Shaffer
Jennifer has always had a passion for home design, the arts and travel. She is a graduate from Eastern Florida State College. Her motto: "If you never step forward, you'll always be in the same place."