Why My House Smells Amazing This Christmas: Stove Top Scents

I’ve never been a big fan of candles. Their smell can often seem overwhelming, and I rarely find candles that actually smell like what they’re purported to be. Apple scents smell like sugar, cookie scents even more overwhelmingly so, and citrus scents just remind me of cleaning solutions. That’s why I’m making my own holiday scents this year with fresh ingredients, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!

Discovering Stove Top Potpourri

Growing up, my mom usually kept a bowl of potpourri on the living room table, full of rose petals and pine cones and orange peels and cinnamon. These scents aren’t bad, but they don’t exactly smell fresh or natural. They eventually develop that stale, musty odor, and they rarely waft throughout the whole house like I wish they would. I was thrilled to discover stove top potpourri, which is a similar concept, but you use mostly fresh ingredients and simmer them in water on the stove.

My favorite part is that you can reuse the same batch for weeks, just turning it off in the evening, refrigerating it overnight, and putting it back on the stove in the morning. If you would rather have a new scent every day, you can toss the batch in the evening and make a fresh one in the morning; it’s really up to you.

Because most of the scents use bulky ingredients that release their scent best when simmered in water, they don’t really work in other devices, like oil diffusers and other products. But that’s what makes them simple to use, because all you need is a saucepan! If you would rather not leave the stove on all day, one alternative is to mix the ingredients with boiling water in a slow cooker and turn it on high with the lid off.

My Favorite Fragrance Recipes

Fresh fruit, fresh herbs, dried spices you would use for baking, and flavor extracts are the main ingredients you can use to make stove top scents. I started with a few basic recipes and have been experimenting with them, adding another spice to see how it changes the scent, or dropping in the peel of a citrus fruit I’m eating. It’s hard to go wrong, but if you’re the type who needs specifics, try these recipes to start.

Orange Cranberry

  • 1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves

Spiced Apple

  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 5 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • Peel of an orange or lemon

Fresh Lemon and Rosemary

  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
  • 3 springs of rosemary, about 4 inches each
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Giving the Gift of Christmas Cheer

Because I’ve been enjoying these so much, I’m thinking about giving the mixes to friends so they can try them, too. Because the ingredients are fresh, I’ve just been making a batch the day I’m going to see the recipient and telling them to start using it right away. There are tons of creative ways to package the potpourri, but I’ve just been sticking to clear cellophane bags with a festive ribbon.

There’s really only one thing that disappoints me about the stove top potpourri, and it’s that I didn’t discover it years ago! Instead of hunting for candles or air fresheners and insisting on a fresh Christmas tree for the scent, I could have just been simmering pots of delicious concoctions. Now that I know, I’m doing my part to spread the word!

img via rainstormsandlovenotes.com

About danielle

has written 17 posts in this blog.

Danielle blogs on behalf of Sears and other brands she uses. Her favorite season is fall and she enjoys hiking on the weekends with her chihuahua.



  1. says

    Wow, what a great idea. The spiced apple recipe looks amazing! I find so many scented candles or potpourri too artificial or too strong… this is such a nice idea.

  2. says

    I love doing this. The only difference is that we just use the peels of things (kids eats the fruit, first 😉 ).
    It doesn’t look as pretty, but it still smells amazing!

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