3 Stove Simmers to Make Your Home Smell Like the Holidays!

Three incredible stove simmers! Click through for the ingredients list. You guys know I have a deep and abiding love for all things cozy. I have shared my go-to stove simmer recipe in the past but wanted to branch out and try some new recipes this year.

If you’ve never used a stove simmer, here are the basics! You fill pot with water and some ingredients that will create a lovely smell, then you leave it simmering on low heat and your home will fill with the scent. It’s natural and smells stronger than any candle I’ve ever used.

You can use it for a couple days (refilling the water as it get low) and it will keep working, although it gets REAL ugly by the end. If you’ve never tried it, I insist you must!

Recipe 1:
bay leaves
-lemon slices
-lime slices
-2 cinnamon sticks
whole cloves with half a lemon

This simmer is light and fresh. I made is specifically for those of you who don’t love the heavy spice scent (which I do love!). After an hour of burning, it wasn’t quite strong enough for me, so I added a few sprigs of eucalyptus and an extra cinnamon stick and you could smell the light fragrance throughout all our living areas. So fresh and clean!

Three incredible stove simmers! Click through for the ingredients list.Recipe 2:

-one orange (halved with cloves)
– 3 cinnamon sticks
-fresh cranberries
-lemon peels

This one smells like apple cider (but better) and every person who walks into your home will ask you what you’re baking!

Three incredible stove simmers! Click through for the ingredients list. Recipe 3:

pine cones
cinnamon sticks

This one is perfect for fall! It smells like you’re baking an apple pie in EVERY room of your home. So good! Let me know which ones you guys love! I wish I had a scratch & sniff feature here on the blog so you could test them out.

You can also buy simmers already packed up and ready to gift (or use yourself) so keep those in mind as something fun to give away!

And don’t forget, a good essential oil diffuser (our favorite!) and a holiday scent are also our favorite way to add delicious smells to the season… 🙂 xx- Elsie

P.S. Check out more seasonal decor and essential oil favorites on our wishlist and wishlist!

Note: Be sure to use only natural ingredients without dyes or artificial scents.

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson.

  • Some just have to be nasty….I think they’re great and my small crock pot never even makes a difference in my electric bill.

  • Just wanted to respond to those with concerns about the food waste…I use several similar recipes like this, and they can easily be done without wasting any food.
    ie; you can use citrus and apple peels that were going to go into the trash anyways, and cinnamon sticks or cloves that have already been used…also, because all of these ‘ingredients’ are natural, I add it to my compost pile for my garden.

  • Some people use wood stoves for heat this time of year, they seem to dry the air out in the house, these stove simmers are helpful in replenishing the house with humidity as well. They are very helpful in that respect. Not everyone uses electric heat.

  • I’ve always wanted to try stovetop simmers but have never found one simple enough, these are with ingredients that I already have around the house! Cannot wait to try them out this winter 🙂 Thank you so so much for sharing! Everyone who’s commenting negatively doesn’t know what their missing…
    Happy Holidays!! <3


  • We did this last year Christmas morning and it was the best! I’m going to try your apple and pine cone one this year for sure! (:

  • This is what I don’t understand. It seems like a waste of energy? Not at all environmentaly concious.

  • I’ve never heard of stove simmers before but I’m wondering if you could do it in a slow cooker (lid off of course). I have a small 3 quart that would be perfect. I just think the cost would be lower using a slow cooker compared to having the stove on all day. Your thoughts?

  • Thanks for these recipes. I just put the lemon one on the stove. Besides the great smell, it’s going to add some needed moisture to the air as well.

  • Oh gosh, these look like they smell so good! I can’t wait to try the apple pie one 🙂


  • These sound like they will smell amazing. I laughed about the scratch and sniff comment. If only!

  • I love simmer pots so much! Time to get one going this year. I like the natural aspect of adding pine cones, but do you think they add anything to the scent at all? I hope they do smell like pine, but I don’t think I’ve ever considered pine cones to be very fragrant.


  • O WOW! These are level two things! I usually just put an orange on the gas for a minute, but these are WOOOOW!! Thank you!


  • Ooo, I LOVE simmering spices! Thanks for these great ideas, can’t wait to try them!

  • Wow, I’ve never thought about such a thing as a stove simmer. Is this a thing in the States? It’s definitely a wonderful idea!

  • I have never tried a stove simmer but these 3 just look so great, I love the smell of the holidays! Xx

  • I love making my house smell good. Lately I’ve been making homemade applesauce in the slow cooker….once the house smell yummy, we get to eat the yummy. 🙂

  • Hi! This is my first comment on your blog, although I have been reading you regularly for a while now. I find your ideas creative, original, smart and well presented. I’ve recommended it to many of my friends as well. However, I couldn’t help but be a little shocked by this particular entry. There must be countless people out there who can’t afford fresh fruit and there are all kinds of things we all do to make our leftovers work rather than waste good food. Don’t you think it’s irresponsible and wasteful (fuelwise as well) to simmer food to make the house smell good, and then ultimately throw the stuff away?

  • Just home on a rainy afternoon and the house has a not too appealing wet dog aroma wafting about – as I have all the ingredients for the first suggestion here to hand, it may prove the perfect solution to my problem.

  • Seriously guys? I know burning candles isn’t necessarily the greatest for the environment but this seems really wasteful, both in the energy needed to keep the hob on and the food you aren’t even going to eat/drink. Why not just make some stuff you can actually consume and enjoy the resulting smell, even if it is temporary and less intense, I kind of think that’s what makes it special!

  • Love it! So simple and yet such an impact especially if you’re in a small space 🙂

  • Dear Elsie,

    I never saw that in France but I’ll definitly try to make a stove simmer for my house . It’s such a wonderful idea and I have a lot of pine cones in my Provencal garden that await to be used.


  • and sooo calorie free, besides! thanks for the change up on ingredients — none exactly as i have tried before 🙂

  • I’ve done orange peel, cinnamon and cloves before and it smelled like absolute heaven. Love the addition of cranberries and lemon. Going to have to do this soon.

    ♥ Heather

  • Are you aware of the huge amount of energy you are wasting by keeping the stove on for a whole day? In times of global warming I find it simply ignorant to neglect the impact of your behaviour for the environment. And what for? A nicely scented home. Well, if there are no other concerns on this world…

  • Oh! I love them! They seem really easy!

  • This is a brilliant idea, I’m such a fan of my home smelling lovely (as I’m sure everyone is!) but not that big a candle buyer this sounds perfect for me, can’t wait to give it a go!

    Hannah | Granite City Girl x

  • Hey Sally,
    I do get what you’re saying. But here’s my two cents!
    -I make apple cider all the time and it doesn’t smell nearly as strong. The reason is because if I added tons of ingredients like this the flavor would be way too intense.
    -Also there is a definite time limit on how long you should let a fruit juice simmer before it starts to taste funky and burnt. But with these water based simmer they can go all day.

    It’s kind of like a candle I guess! The only purpose is to smell great. :))
    xx- Elsie

  • This is such a great idea! I love the idea of making my house smell like apple pie with very minimal effort involved ;).

  • My mom always did this. It doesn’t seem like the holidays without these amazing scents. ♡♡

    xoxoBella | http://xoxobella.com

  • I’m usually a bit of a lurker who enjoys lots of your DIY posts but I think stove simmers are the silliest thing in the whole world! It’s as much effort as making something you can actually eat or drink…except you can’t! How do you respond when someone comes into your house and delightedly asks what you’re baking? With that last one if you just took out the pine cones and added some apple juice or honey then it would have the exact same effect but you could also drink it and offer it to guests who ask what the smell is!

    I can maybe see the point if you were selling a house or something, if no one was living there but you wanted to make it feel lived in.

  • Have you considered using these same scents with essential oils? Using a sonic diffuse might be a safer alternative to keeping the stove on.

  • Oh I love this! I’ve had the hardest time finding a good autumn spice candle– one that smells just like these ingredients– I should have thought to try this instead!

  • What a fabulous idea!! It warms up the house and smells amazing! The lemon one must smell delicious!

  • I’ve never done a stove simmer, but I’ve mostly banned candles thanks to two rambunctious toddlers (too scary!) so I’m really looking forward to trying these!

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