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How to Create Aromatic Simmer Pots (Stovetop Potpourri)

by Assessor

Judging from the enchanting scents of Christmas wafting from this bubbling pot and permeating our home, it’s clear that this post is long overdue.

What Exactly is a Simmer Pot?

Simmer pots, also known as stovetop potpourri, are concoctions of citrus fruits, spices, and other ingredients that infuse your house with a delightful aroma—a completely natural (although I’m not a fan of that word) air freshener!

Around five years ago, we prepared simmer pot kits as neighbor gifts, and last year we did the same for our neighbors and patients at our office. The response was overwhelmingly positive!

I’m always on the lookout for easy gifts to give to neighbors, teachers, and friends that go beyond the typical plate of cookies. Another homemade non-edible gift I enjoy crafting is homemade sugar scrub. (By the way, have you seen my holiday sugar scrubs?)

Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely love Christmas cookies. However, sometimes receiving plate after plate of goodies can be overwhelming.

That’s why simmer pots make such fantastic gifts! They are practical, consumable, and effortless to put together.

What Does a Simmer Pot Kit Contain?

To create the most delightful aroma with your simmer pot kit, I recommend including at least one item from each of these groups:


My go-to citrus fruit is a navel orange. They are readily available, reasonably priced, and the combination of orange and cranberries is simply divine. Of course, you can also use lemons, limes, or even grapefruits. If you opt for grapefruits, however, half a fruit should suffice as they tend to be rather large.

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Cranberries are abundant during this time of year, they last for a few weeks in the refrigerator, and their vibrant red hue creates an enchanting visual in your simmer pot kit. Additionally, they emit a delightful scent that cannot be substituted or replicated.

Whole Spices

Cinnamon sticks and whole cloves are my preferred choices for whole spices. Star anise also adds a beautiful and unique touch with its star-shaped pods. To obtain the best value for your money, it is advisable to purchase whole spices in bulk from grocery store departments or online. If you find yourself in a pinch, ground spices can be used as a substitute.

Herbs and Woody Elements

For a touch of earthiness, consider adding bay leaves, sprigs of rosemary, or pine cuttings to your simmer pot blend. These elements infuse the air with a pleasant woodsy fragrance.

Isn’t it visually pleasing to see these ingredients gently floating in the pot? Well, after about 20 minutes, the visual appeal diminishes. Nevertheless, the delightful scent remains, so savor that initial visual experience while it lasts!

How Long Can You Use a Simmer Pot?

Realistically, you can enjoy the aromatic benefits of a simmer pot for about a week. Simply add water whenever the level runs low and remember to turn it off at night when you retire to bed.

If you prefer not to leave a burner on all day, you can use your slow cooker instead! However, you’ll need to continue adding water periodically. To prevent the water from evaporating too quickly, keep the lid partially closed.

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How to Assemble Simmer Pot Kits

I prefer using clear cellophane bags, which can be easily found at craft stores. Look for bags with a gusseted bottom or those that open wider, as this will make it easier to fit your orange inside. The bags I used in the image above measure 4″ x 9″ and have a flat bottom. You can find a link to these bags at the bottom of the recipe card.

There’s no special method for packaging the ingredients. Simply place all the components in the bag, include a small note explaining what to do with the contents, and tie it up with a tag!

For a printable version of the note I included the last time I made these simmer pot kits, click here.

And there you have it! Follow these simple steps to create aromatic simmer pots that will fill your home with delightful fragrances and make wonderful gifts for your loved ones.

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