simmer pot

10 Natural Simmer Pot Recipes for a Fresh Smelling Home

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Ready to make your home smell divine? 10 Natural Simmer Pot Recipes for a Fresh Smelling Home is packed with delicious, easy-to-follow recipes that fill the room with beautiful scents.

What is A Simmer Pot?

A simmer pot is basically a homemade air freshener made from boiling fragrant pieces of fruits, herbs, and other spices in water.

I love that simmer pots are very easy to make, not expensive, and really effective at making your home smell nice. I enjoy having a fresh-smelling home, especially during the winter months when cozying up with a good book and a hot cup of tea or cocoa. An easy way to make your home smell naturally fresh and wonderful is by using a simmer pot filled with aromatic ingredients.  

simmer pot

The Benefits to Using a Simmer Pot

In a world where artificial scents and chemical air fresheners and candles dominate the market, simmer pots offers a refreshing, natural alternative. But the benefits of simmer pots extend far beyond just pleasant aromas. They are sustainable, affordable, and deeply rooted in ancestral wisdom. 

A Natural Alternative to Chemical Scents

Walking down the air freshener or candle aisle in any store or supermarket, you’re bombarded with a plethora of artificial scents. While they may smell pleasant, many of these products contain chemicals that can be harmful to both your health and the environment. Simmer pots, on the other hand, use natural ingredients like herbs, spices, and fruit peels to create a delightful aroma. Imagine the comforting scent of cinnamon and apple wafting through your home on a chilly autumn day—no chemicals needed.

Sustainability Matters

Traditional air fresheners not only contain potentially harmful substances but also contribute to waste, often packaged in single-use plastics. Simmer pots are the epitome of sustainability. You can use a simple pot that you already own, and the ingredients can be composted after use. It aligns perfectly with a permaculture lifestyle, where every element serves multiple functions and waste is minimized.

Affordability and Zero-Waste Living

Let’s face it, constantly buying air fresheners, candles, and room sprays can add up. Simmer pots are incredibly cost-effective. Many of the ingredients, like lemon peels or rosemary sprigs, are items you might already have in your kitchen. Even if you decide to get a bit fancy with exotic spices, the cost per use is still likely to be less than a store-bought air freshener. What’s more, simmer pots offer a brilliant way to utilize food scraps like fruit peels and apple cores. Instead of tossing these into the compost right away, you can give them a second life in your simmer pot. It’s a win-win situation: you reduce waste and get a beautifully scented home in the process.

They Become a Grounding Ritual

I remember my grandmother always had a pot of something fragrant simmering on the stove. It was her way of making the house feel like a home. There’s something incredibly grounding about preparing simmer pots; it’s almost like a small ritual that adds a sense of comfort and belonging to your space.

They Connect you to the Seasons

One of the joys of simmer pots is the ability to adapt them to the seasons. In spring, a blend of lavender and mint can invigorate your home. Summer might call for citrusy notes, while autumn and winter could benefit from the warming scents of cinnamon and cloves. It’s a beautiful way to connect with the cycles of nature right in your own home.

Provide Ancestral Connection

The use of natural scents to purify and beautify spaces isn’t a new concept; it’s a practice that dates back to ancient civilizations. Whether it’s the Native American tradition of smudging with sage or the European use of sweet-smelling herbs like lavender and rosemary, these practices connect us to the wisdom of our ancestors. Using simmer pots is more than just a trendy lifestyle choice; it’s a way to reconnect with ancient practices that honor the Earth and its bounty.


Simmer pots offer a plethora of benefits that make them a worthy addition to any home. They are a natural, sustainable, and affordable way to fill your space with delightful aromas. More than that, they offer a personal and ancestral connection to the art of homemaking. So the next time you’re tempted to reach for that can of artificial air freshener, consider opting for a simmer pot instead. Your health, your wallet, and Mother Earth will thank you. 

simmer pot

What You'll Need

Simmer pots can contain an assortment of ingredients, including items collected during your nature walks and foraging adventures.

Not only do you get to enjoy nature while you’re out gathering ingredients, but the natural smells of the foraged plants will help bring a bit of the fresh scents of the outdoors in.

I use a variety of foraged and non-foraged ingredients because I like to add oranges, cinnamon and other ingredients that aren’t forageable here in the Northeast. If you want to go with all foraged, that’s okay too!

How to Make Simmer Pots

It’s actually a lot easier than you might think to make a simmer pot. Simply fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the ingredients from your favorite recipe, continue to boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer. Add water as needed, usually every 30 minutes or so.

If you don’t want the hassle of remembering that there’s something on the stove, you can also use a Crock-Pot or other slow cooker. Fill the pot most of the way with water, add your ingredients, put on the lid, then turn to high. When there’s steam rolling off the lid, take the lid off and set it to a low or simmer setting. Add water as needed to keep it at least halfway full.

spring simmer pot

Basic Simmer Pot Ingredients


Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit add a fresh, clean scent.  I often buy the fruit to eat, but save the peels in a ziplock in my freezer until I have enough for a nice simmer pot. 


This time of year it’s easy to find cranberries, and they’re cheap too! The great thing is that they last a few weeks in the refrigerator or even longer in the freezer. They are a really beautiful addition to a simmer pot and add such a beautiful scent. I don’t think there’s any substitution for cranberries. 

Whole Spices

Whole cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns, and star anise all add a unique, wonderfully spicy scent to simmer pot blends.   Whole spices are best purchased in bulk departments of grocery stores or online. If you’re in a pinch, you could also use ground spices.

Herbs and Flowers

Fresh rosemary, mint, lavender, sage, or rose petals are a few of my favorite herbs to add to simmer pots. They can be a wonderful addition to many recipes, depending on the scent you’re aiming for. 

Woodsy things

Pine or spruce twigs, pine needles, cedar,  pine cones, tree barks, and tree buds all add a nice woodsy scent to the simmer pot blend.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be a wonderful addition to simmer pots, offering concentrated aromas and potential therapeutic benefits. Whether it’s a few drops of lavender for relaxation or eucalyptus for a refreshing kick, essential oils can elevate the simmer pot experience. However, it’s important to use them sparingly, as they are potent. Always opt for high-quality, pure essential oils to ensure you’re getting the best and safest experience. Adding essential oils to your simmer pot not only enhances the scent but also allows you to customize the atmosphere of your home to suit your mood or needs.

10 Simmer Pot Recipes to Get You Started

Below are 10 simmer pots that I’ve used with excellent results. Feel free to tweak them to suit your own tastes—or use them as a starting point for creating your own variety of simmer pot blends.

The great thing is that these recipes can be remixed to your taste or your pantry. It’s ok to leave ingredients out, go heavy-handed with the scents you like, or substitute things in the recipe for other flavors you like better (or to suit what you have on hand).

simmer pot

Soothing Herbal simmer pot

Start by adding small amounts of the herbs to the simmer pot because very often the smells become stronger once they start to boil or as they simmer. You can add more herbs if you want a stronger scent or dilute with more water if you want to weaken it.

Harvest Simmer Pot

  • the peel of 1 apple,
  • the peel of 1 orange
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • You also might want to add slices of both apple and orange 

Winter Hygee Simmer Pot

  • Peel from 1 orange
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon cloves

Springtime Simmer Pot

  • a few slices of lime
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • a handful of mint
  • a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Or for a vibrant, clean scent, go with an all-citrus simmer pot combo of lemon, lime, and orange slices.

Lavender Simmer Pot


  • 1 cup dried lavender (or lavender essential oil)
  • 1 tsp anise
  • 1 Tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Pumpkin Spice Simmer Pot

  • 4 Tablespoons apple cider
  • a generous sprinkle of pumpkin spice seasoning
  • cinnamon sticks
  • ground nutmeg
  • a drop of vanilla extract
  • whole cloves

Holiday Simmer Pot

  • 1 orange (sliced into rounds)
  • 1 lemon (sliced into rounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pine or spruce needles
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 3 inches)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 1 pine cone (optional)

Evergreen Spice Simmer Pot

  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup chopped orange peels
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • apple peels from one apple
    1/4 cup chopped evergreen (pine, spruce, fir)
  • 1/4 cup cranberries

Rosemary & Lemon Simmer Pot

  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Optional: 2 cinnamon sticks

Cozy Home Simmer Pot

  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 an orange or clementine cut into quarters
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 sprigs Rosemary or snipped pine tree pieces

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4 thoughts on “10 Natural Simmer Pot Recipes for a Fresh Smelling Home”

  1. Can I make these with dried fruits and herbs? If so, what do I do about the added liquid ingredients, like the vanilla extract in some of the recipes?

    1. The way that this smell gets into the air is being diffused by steam. Each of these ingredients carried volatile odorants, a molecule that when heated gets so excited it explodes and vaporizes into the air allowing it to spread throughout a room. (Kinda like baking a pizza makes pizza smell tasty.) Making these mixes without the simmering process would mean that the scent would be extremely limited to a small space near them, with no way to activate and spread. Now, if you look up potpourri recipes, they’re designed to spread scent in a passive non-heated way over time. (In these cases, liquid like essential oils and vanilla extract, can be put into clay medallions to release their scent over time, they have to refreshed occasionally.) Good luck!

  2. This is amazing. Super helpful ideas, and great recipes. I’ve been wanting to do simmer pots to freshen my home but didn’t know where to begin and this was the best page I’ve found. Thank you so much.

  3. Thank you for these wonderful recipes! I can’t wait to try them!
    May I ask where you got your pot? 🙂

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