How to Make Your Home Smell Amazing with Old-Fashioned Stovetop Potpourri

Scent is key to a cozy home, but sometimes artificial fragrances can be overpowering and not all that pleasant. Opening a window can keep the house smelling fresh, but that's not exactly an option in the winter months. You have heard of baking cookies when selling your house.  Here is another idea.  Stovetop potpourri (sometimes called a simmer pot). It's how our grandmothers made their homes smell nice, before the scented candle craze took off — and as usual, Grandma knew what she was doing. 

Using ingredients, you already have on hand, you can create endless scent combinations by simply simmering them over the stove. Repurpose produce scraps like lemon peels or use up leftover herbs and spices. It's all about using what you have to create an inviting scent that's uniquely yours!

In addition to filling any space with a warm and inviting aroma, simmering potpourri on the stove can also help to humidify the

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dry winter air. Plus, it's just a fun thing to do when you're stuck inside — before you know it you'll be curled up by the fire with a good book and cup of tea.  

How to Simmer Potpourri

There's really not much to simmering potpourri, but there are countless ingredient combinations out there to try. Get creative and find what works for you (but don't worry, we'll provide you with the inspiration to get started). 

Ingredient Ideas:

  • Almond extract

  • Apple slices or peels

  • Bay leaves

  • Cinnamon sticks

  • Citrus slices or peels

  • Cranberries

  • Fresh ginger

  • Fresh pine sprigs

  • Ground cinnamon

  • Peppercorns

  • Pinecones

  • Pumpkin pie spice

  • Rosemary

  • Star anise

  • Vanilla bean

  • Vanilla extract

  • Whole or ground cardamom

  • Whole or ground cloves

  • Whole or ground nutmeg

 

Make On the Stovetop

  1. Add 4-6 cups of water to a saucepan or Dutch oven. Add your ingredients. 

  2. Bring to a simmer uncovered over low heat. 

  3. Simmer for up to 2-3 days. Keep refilling the water every few hours as needed. You can prolong the lifespan of the potpourri by storing it in the fridge when not simmering.

3 Favorite Stovetop Potpourri Scent Combinations

We trust that you know what you like when it comes to scent, but if you're looking for a little potpourri inspiration, these tried-and-true scent combinations won't let you down. 

Winter Pine Simmer Pot

 

CREDIT: LINDSEY HAYES/ALLRECIPES

Fresh pine adds a woodsy note to this citrusy simmer pot that is sure to liven up any home in the dead of winter. And the fact that it uses up produce peels is just a bonus.  

  • 1 whole orange peel 

  • 1 whole Granny Smith apple peel

  • 1 whole lemon peel 

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 3 whole star anise pods

  • 1 fresh pine sprig

Fresh Lemon and Rosemary Pot

 

CREDIT: LINDSEY HAYES/ALLRECIPES

The combination of lemon and rosemary acts as a natural air freshener that makes your space smell fresh and clean (even when it's not!).

  • 1-2 lemons, sliced

  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (or for a spicier scent try 1 tablespoon peppercorns)

Cranberry-Orange Potpourri

 

CREDIT: LINDSEY HAYES/ALLRECIPES

The classic pairing of cranberries and oranges evokes memories of holidays past and will definitely make your home smell a little more festive no matter the time of year. 

  • 1 cup cranberries 

  • 1 orange, sliced 

  • 3 cinnamon sticks 

  • 2 sprigs rosemary

  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves

Original story from, AllRecipies.com