This wonderful Christmas simmer pot will make your whole house smell great!
Using natural ingredients and a pot of water, you can easily make a Christmas stovetop potpourri. It's a great air freshener and brings a sweet, cozy smell to your home.
They're also quite pretty and fun to make - they can be a great activity to do with kids and you can get creative with the ingredients. It's an inexpensive way to celebrate the season.
Simmer pots are a natural way to make your home smell great. You can use them year-round, but it's especially nice to let them bubble away in the lead-up to the holidays.
We love to make simmer pots during the winter solstice and the week of Christmas. They make the entire house smell festive and cozy. The fresh fruit and spices combine to make the sweetest-smelling blend.
The ingredients for this simmer pot make a great gift. It would be a great hostess gift or teacher gifts - especially if you present them in a cute dutch oven or other small pot.
Here are the fresh ingredients you'll need to make a holiday season simmer pot.
- Red Apple
- Green Apple
- Orange or Clementine
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Bay Leaves
- Fresh Cranberries
- Fresh Thyme
- Star Anise
- Juniper Berries
See the recipe card for quantities.
Slice the apples, orange, and lemon in ¼ inch slices.
Add the apples, orange, lemon, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cranberries, thyme, star anise, and juniper berries to a large stock pot or dutch oven.
Add water to the pot and bring the pot to a low boil over high heat on the stovetop.
Reduce to low heat and allow the pot to simmer for several hours.
Keep an eye on the water level and add additional water as needed.
More Seasonal DIYs
Looking for more easy DIY Christmas ideas? Here are some wonderful gift and decor ideas to make for the most wonderful time of year.
- DIY Orange Peel Ornaments - a great way to use leftover orange peels!
- DIY Sage Wreath - bring the smells of Christmas indoors with this beautiful sage wreath.
- How to Make Dried Orange Slices - endlessly versatile and perfect for the holiday season, you can make garlands with them or tie them to gifts.
Substitutions & Variations
If you'd like to add other ingredients, here are more options that work well in simmer pots.
- Essential Oils - use sparingly as they smell quite strong, but feel free to add 2 to 3 drops of essential oils like lemongrass, peppermint, lemon, or frankincense to your stovetop simmer pot.
- Vanilla - if you have a whole vanilla pod, you can add that to the pot, or you can add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Cloves - you can swap the juniper berries for whole cloves, or add cloves in addition to the juniper.
- Whole Spices - you can add other whole spices like cardamom pods, nutmeg, or allspice. The best thing to use is whatever you have on hand!
- Pine branches - you can add a few small sprigs of fresh pine, to get that Christmas smell if you'd like!
- Citrus Fruit - you can use any citrus fruit you'd like in this recipe like limes, grapefruit, pomelo, and more.
The sliced ingredients for a simmer pot will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Once you've used the items, I recommend discarding or composting them as they will be largely broken down.
Tips for Making Simmer Pot Recipes
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Recommended Tools - I recommend using a heavy-bottomed pot like a dutch oven or sturdy stockpot. This will help the heat stay consistent and at a low simmer.
Crockpot Method - You can make this simmer pot in the slow cooker. Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and fill it with enough water so the slow cooker is ¾ full. Leave the slow cooker uncovered and set it to low for 3 to 4 hours.
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Christmas Simmer Pot
This festive simmer pot is the perfect stovetop potpourri! It will make your whole house smell like Christmas.
- 1 red apple
- 1 green apple
- 1 orange or clementine
- 1 lemon
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh cranberries
- several sprigs of fresh thyme
- optional - 3 star anise, 1 tablespoon juniper berries
- 6 cups water
- Cutting Board
- Large Pot or Dutch Oven
- Slice the apples, orange, and lemon in ¼ inch slices.
- Add the apples, orange, lemon, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cranberries, thyme, star anise, and juniper berries to a large stock pot or dutch oven.
- Add water to the pot and bring the pot to a low boil over high heat on the stovetop.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow pot to simmer for several hours. Add additional water as needed.