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10 Simmer Pot Recipes for a Beautiful Smelling Home


Last Updated on October 31, 2023

Simmer pot recipes are all the rage lately, and I’ve noticed them continuously popping up a lot on my Instagram feed.  

A simmering pot is an amazing, natural way to keep your home smelling fresh and fragrant year round. Use a suggested simmer pot recipe or come up with your own for a signature scent everyone will be asking about, without any harmful ingredients or chemicals. Plus, it’s a simple way to use food scraps and other “waste” for a truly zero waste approach to home fragrance. No smoke, no oils, no harmful chemicals — just pure, blissful smell!

Close up photo of a simmer pot with overlay text reading "10 fragrant simmer pot recipes for a fresh smelling house"

what is a simmer pot?

First of all, what is a simmer pot? A simmer pot is essentially a homemade air freshener, or candle replacement, made from boiling fragrant ingredients in water. It’s also a great way to use up food scraps, as many simmer pot recipes can be made using odds and ends of things.  

While simmer pots are especially popular in the winter months, you can use them during any season to make your home smell amazing. The best part is how budget-friendly they are: It’s cost effective because you can use whatever you have on hand.  

Here are 10 simmer pot recipes to have a beautiful smelling home any time of year.  

what can you put in a simmering pot? 

You can put a number of things in a simmering pot to make them smell amazing — herbs, flowers, spices, and fruit are popular choices. Typically, anything fragrant or in a scent you like can work well in a simmer pot.  

The most popular additions to a simmer pot recipe are woodsy things like pine, citrus, cranberries, and whole spices. 

simmer pot with orange peels and cloves in it.

what is the point of a holiday simmer pot? 

A holiday pot can fill your home with festive aromas that create cheer. It’s a great alternative to petroleum-based candles that contribute to indoor air pollution.  

RELATED: 15 Eco-Friendly, Organic, and Non-Toxic Candles 

A holiday simmer pot typically contains ingredients you can find in-season during the winter months, like oranges, cranberries, and pine. Or, it can bring about nostalgic holiday memories, like baking cookies or making gingerbread houses. It all depends on the scents and ingredients you choose to use. 

how to put together a simmer pot recipe 

This is very easy to make! Here’s how to make a simmer pot using a saucepan over the stove or a crockpot. 

for over the stove: 

  • Simply fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.  
  • Then, add ingredients from your favorite recipe (like the ones I list below) and continue to boil for a few minutes. 
  • Next, turn down the heat to a simmer. 
  • Add water as needed, usually every 30 minutes or so.  

for a crock-pot (or other slow-cooker): 

  • Just fill the pot most of the way with water, add your ingredients, put on the lid, and turn it on high.  
  • When there’s steam rolling off the lid, take the lid off and set it to low.  
  • Add water as needed to keep it at least halfway full. 

Simmer for two to three hours, or longer, checking and monitoring consistently. And you can reuse the same materials 2-3 times! 

gzw approved simmer pot recipes: 

Here are the best simmer pot recipes for every season, occasion, and vibe. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone.  

What is a simmer pot? Close up of a pot on a stove with lemon, rosemary, and peppercorns in it.
Image credit: Williams Sonoma

1. williams sonoma  

Perhaps the most famous of all, the Williams Sonoma is a timeless classic. It goes well with just about any season and any occasion.


  • 3 sprigs rosemary 
  • 1 lemon, cut into slices 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns 
  • 8 cups (64 fl. oz/1.9 l) water 

2. holiday scented

This simmer pot will immediately make you think of cold snowy days and warm cozy nights by a fireplace. Perfect for a festive Christmas get-together with friends or just for making your home that much more cozy in the wintertime. 


  • 2 oranges 
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon of whole cloves 
  • Christmas tree sprig 
  • Cranberries 
Simmering pot with orange peels and flower sprigs in simmering water.
Image credit: Simply.Living.Well

3. food waste fragrance 

Use up those various odds and ends and give them a second life with this amazing smelling brew that combats food waste. Compost the remains! 


  • Orange peels 
  • Leftover pine 
  • Apple peels + cores  
  • Strawberry tops
  • Herb stems or ends

4. gingerbread simmer pot 

The perfect simmer pot for recreating those warm memories of making gingerbread cookies in the kitchen with mom or grandma.  


  • 1-2 teaspoons of whole cloves 
  • 1-2 teaspoons of whole allspice 
  • 3-5 cinnamon sticks 
  • 5 ginger slices 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 

5. fresh spring scent

Strawberries are the first berries to hit the market stands in the spring. Why not celebrate their arrival with this simple simmer pot? 


  • 1 cup of halved strawberries  
  •  A handful of mint leaves 

6. tropical summer

For those tropical smells that immediately remind you of a summer getaway, try simmering some of these exotic foods. You can use the peels (or in coconut’s case, the shreds) of these fruits to create a wonderful aroma.

  • 1 pineapple skin
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1 mango peel 
Top view of ingredients needed for a fall simmer pot recipe, including oranges, cinnamon sticks, dried apples, and coffee beans.
Image credit: Hello Glow

7. coffee simmer pot 

Who doesn’t love the smell of coffee? This simmer pot will make you feel like you just walked into a coffee shop. 

  • 1/4 cup whole roasted coffee beans 
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks 
  • 1 tablespoon whole cardamom pods 
  • 4 star anise 
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries 

8. floral simmer pot 

Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh cut flowers? Recreate that throughout your home with this lovely simmering pot — perfect for summer, spring, or Valentine’s Day! 


  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender  
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced 
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint 
  • Roses or rose buds, stems removed
  • 1 cup rose petals  
  • 1/2 cup fresh chamomile flowers 

9. crisp fall scent

Want to make your home smell like you just went apple picking? Here’s the perfect cozy fall simmer pot recipe to make.


  • 1 apple
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 whole nutmeg
Hand holding herbs to put in a simmering pot.

10. herbal simmer pot

Love the smell of herbs? You’ll love this herbal simmer pot that’s perfect for the spring or summer.


  • 4 basil leaves
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of parsley leaves
  • 4 mint leaves


what do you do with the ingredients after cooking? 

Once you’re done, drain the remaining water using a strainer or cheesecloth. Store the ingredients in an airtight container like an upcycled jar. You can reuse the ingredients the next day, then compost them once they’ve run their course.  

can you use ground spices instead of whole spices and herbs?

Whole spices and herbs work best due to their concentrated nature, leading to a more potent fragrance. However, I never recommend you go out and buy something just for the sake of doing it “right.” Using ground or crushed spices that you already have on hand will do in a pinch, and it’s a more sustainable approach than purchasing brand new ingredients!

can you drink the water from a simmer pot recipe?

As long as you only use food ingredients that haven’t spoiled, there’s no reason you couldn’t. It would be very similar to brewing your own teas.

However, be aware of your flavor combinations, the freshness of your ingredients, and how long it’s been on the stove. You could also consider using an apple juice or cider as your base instead of water, for a combination of home fragrance and flavored cider!

What do you think of these simmer pot recipes? Let me know which you’re most excited to try in the comments below!

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