4 Simmer Pot Recipes That’ll Make Your Home Smell Heavenly

Don't even worry about lighting a candle! Instead, put together a simmer pot, aka stovetop potpourri.

For a warm, welcoming smell throughout your home, a realtor’s advice is often to bake homemade bread or chocolate chip cookies. But one family can only eat so many loaves of bread or batches of cookies! For a shortcut to a house that smells amazing, whip up a simmer pot. It’s a natural way to eliminate pesky kitchen odors and keep your space fresh.

Read on for our curated list of simmer pot recipes to enhance every season.

What Is a Simmer Pot?

A simmer pot is simply a pot, usually a Dutch oven, filled with water and aromatics (like herbs and spices) for the express purpose of making a space smell good. Rather than relying on scented candles, people are turning to natural stovetop potpourri concoctions or simmer pot recipes.

Simmer Pot Recipes for Every Season

Christmas Crockpot with Cranberries, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, oranges and nutmegAllison Cherry/Getty Images

While simmer pots are especially cozy during the winter, they are truly a welcome sight, or smell, throughout the entire year.

Spring Simmer Pot Recipe

Williams Sonoma, the original simmer pot creator, has the best light, fruity, springtime stovetop potpourri. This simple recipe will welcome guests to your home with notes of citrus and fresh herbs.

  1. Gather all aromatic ingredients. These include 5 springs of fresh thyme, 3 slices of grapefruit, 1 sliced Meyer lemon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon peppercorns.
  2. In a Dutch oven, add 8 cups of water. Combine with all other ingredients.
  3. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Then simmer, uncovered, for a couple of hours.

Summer Simmer Pot Recipe

The Travel Bite has our favorite summer stovetop potpourri recipe. Think of bright, fresh fruits that will freshen your kitchen and beyond. You can almost taste the sunshine with this summer pot!

  1. Rinse then slice one lemon, one lime, and one orange. Add to stovetop Dutch oven.
  2. Gather a tablespoon of peppercorns (any color), 2-3 springs of fresh time and 1 sprig of fresh rosemary. Combine with the prepared citrus fruit.
  3. Cover with water until about half the vessel is full.
  4. Simmer on low for two hours; to go longer, check water levels and add more if necessary, up to about four hours.

Fall Simmer Pot Recipe

Life with Lainee has a simple simmer pot recipe designed to usher in fall. She describes it as a combination of crisp apple cider and warm apple pie, both classic autumn scents.

  1. Start by filling your Dutch oven with water, leaving at least an inch of room at the top.
  2. Add the aromatic ingredients. In this case, that includes one halved apple, an orange cut into slices, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, 1 teaspoon fall spice blend (your choice of pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice!), 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 bay leaf.
  3. Turn the burner on low to simmer and enjoy! For a lower-maintenance simmer pot, this recipe also works in the Crockpot.

Please note, the recipe developer pours her aromatics mix into a container to refrigerate and re-use the next day (with fresh water); according to Life with Lainee, this will keep for two or three days before she needs to make another batch.

Winter Simmer Pot Recipe

We love this Christmas simmer pot recipe, full of holiday homeyness, but here’s another favorite from Williams Sonoma to help fend off pesky winter blues. (This is the signature scent that greets customers at the upscale kitchen mecca, so it’s likely to be a favorite/be recognized and adored by guests). According to the retailer, this recipe should invoke the feeling of a soothing cup of tea or a luscious lemon-scented custard.

  1. Gather all of your ingredients: 3 sprigs of rosemary, 1 sliced lemon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon black peppercorns.
  2. Combine everything in a Dutch oven. Cover with 8 cups of water.
  3. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, for up to two hours.

How Long Do Simmer Pots Last?

It depends on both the recipe and the type of storage, but generally, four days is the maximum you’d want to re-use the same simmer pot ingredients. If aromatics are drained and stored in a cool, dry location (like a refrigerator), then reinvigorated with fresh water, they can be used for up to four days. If there are no fresh fruit slices in your recipe, simply turn off the stove and cover the pot with a lid in between uses. Reheat when you need another dose of stovetop potpourri. According to the Happier Homemaker, with this method, your simmer pot can last four days.

For a simmer pot session, most recipes recommend a two-hour time period.

Katy Spratte Joyce
Katy is a freelance food, travel , and business writer who splits her time between her Minnesotan homeland and her new base in Omaha, Nebraska. Besides Eating Well, she has written for Thrillist, Eater Twin Cities, Chilled Magazine, ROVA Magazine, Travel Awaits, Popular Science, Crunchbase News, Omaha Magazine, and many more print and digital publications.