Thanksgiving Stove Simmer

Stove Simmer (recipe for natural holiday fragrance at home!) I’m a big fan of making homemade stove simmers, which is basically just simmering a pot of natural ingredients to give your home an amazing scent! This is the recipe I use throughout the holidays. It takes about 30 minutes to start filling your home with the scent of “warm fuzzies”. Just kidding. But really… try it!

Here’s what you need-

Stove Simmer (recipe for natural holiday fragrance at home!)Orange and lemon peels.

Stove Simmer (recipe for natural holiday fragrance at home!) Orange and lemon slices.

Stove Simmer (recipe for natural holiday fragrance at home!) Fresh cranberries.

Stove Simmer (recipe for natural holiday fragrance at home!) Two Cinnamon Sticks.

Stove Simmer (recipe for natural holiday fragrance at home!)
Stove Simmer (recipe for natural holiday fragrance at home!) A tablespoon of cloves.

Refill the water as needed, keeping the pot half full at all times.

You’re gonna love it. It’s my favorite way to make my home feel cozy during the autumn and winter holidays! xo. Elsie

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson.



  • Hi Lovelle,
    You can keep adding water to this mixture for two days. After that, the leftovers will be too “used” to re-use. You’ll want to throw them out.
    With that said, if you buy the stuff to make this you’ll have extra cranberries, cloves and cinnamon sticks for other recipes- a cider or mulled wine would be amazing!
    xo- elsie

  • Im very intrigued by this… but what I want to know is what do you do with all the leftovers after the scent is gone away? I bet a nice chicken dish soaked in this stuff would taste amazing, but I wonder has anyone else tried this? I want to make a chicken dish somewhat similar to this, but I dont want it to be too “perfumey”. Any suggestions on how I can turn this into a meal? Can I replace the water with a red wine maybe?

  • my mom made this every fall growing up & I make it for fall now with my family! love it!

  • Thanks for the lovely tip! I made a simmer pot on Friday for a get together at my home and it really made the atmosphere cozy.

  • Hi Sam,
    no it is not. You can totally omit the oranges if you like, though!
    it mostly smells like cloves.


  • Is the orange super potent? I’m not a huge fan of orange, the smell tends to make me a little nauseas. Is there a substitute I can use?

  • I think I’m gonna try, and it’s much healthier than candles and home fragrances.

  • I’ve used a similar recipe for years…without the cranberries, but WITH bay leaves.

  • I’m running to the store right now to get some cloves! No, I’m serious 🙂 Gorgeous ideas!

    xoxo ~Shari

  • This is great, I’ve used only orange peels and cinnamon in the past but will definitely be trying out your version 🙂


  • I made something like this last year and it smelled so wonderful. I have a gas stove, so I decided that I’d use one of those little crockpot’s that came with my big crockpot. It simmers all day and I don’t have to run the gas on the stove. Of course, you have to watch the water levels to keep it hydrated!

  • I gave this for Christmas last year with small crockpots. Caught them on sale at Walmart for $5. They work beautifully and you don’t have to worry about the pan going dry on the stove.

  • Wow! I have never heard of s stove simmer – maybe this is something new to the UK, that I can introduce?! What a fantastic idea – I hate the artificial smell of many scented candles and this is such a simple idea – I’m going to give it a go.

  • Wonderful idea. You could also add a teabag at some point so that you could actually drink it too. Or wine, as someone else suggested.

  • ooh, I’ve done this, but have not tried cloves and cranberries. I want to try that, especially for the holidays. I sometimes add about one tsp of cinnamon and vanilla>

  • Awesome idea, I never even heard of such a thing! It makes for beautiful photos as well 🙂


  • I love doing this! Such a great way to use up extra seasonal ingredients too.

  • I’ve never heard of the concept, but it does remind me of mulled wine a lot! Whenever my mum would make that, she’d use whole lemons and oranges, and stick the cloves in them in a fancy pattern. Aww, cue instant warm & fuzzies 🙂

    But, yum – I’ll definitely give this a try! Do you think it would work as well with dried cranberries?

  • Hi there!
    I keep it on low and I keep the pot about half full with liquid.
    XO! elsie

  • What does ‘simmer’ mean? Does it mean to boil & then bring the temperature down, or does it mean to keep on low/medium/high heat the whole time? Many thanks!

  • It smells amazing. Is there a way to use the water that is full of flavor when you’re done with the simmer?

  • I love this! Think there is any way that with a little alcohol the water could be preserved and used as a spritzer of sorts?

  • You could also sub the water for wine and get a delicious beverage out of it. 🙂

  • I’m sure it smells nice, but isn’t it a little wasteful to use the cooker this long, purely for the scent? It isn’t very eco-friendly… my 2 cents.

  • so much more fragrant (and economical!) than a candle!

  • I’ve never heard of stove simmers but it sounds amazing!

  • I LOVE this since it’s all natural. I’ve been using Bath & Body Works Wallflowers, but I’ve heard some sketchy things about their chemicals and I want a natural way to make the house smell festive! I’m not a huge fan of oranges though, so do you have any suggestions on a different ingredient that would work with the other ones??

    Jamie @
    The Growing Up Diaries

  • STOP! Yummy! haha I used to make a mulled cider before I was pregnant with these ingredients. Oranges add such a nice touch. 🙂
    xo kristen genevieve

  • Oh wow, how lovely! As holiday stressors are high in my household at the moment, I’m definitely going to pick up the ingredients to make this happen. What a perfect, cozy way to de-stress 🙂


  • This sounds like it would be a great candle scent! Must give it a try xo

  • I bet the house smells amazing with this simmering away! If I were doing it I’d use apple cider instead of water so I could also drink up some of that delicious aroma!


  • Gah, this looks delightful! I wish I could spare the stove space. (Two large burners and one working small burner are all full when I cook!)

    Maybe I could get some kind of hot plate? 🙂 Sounds amazing either way!

  • Hello! I`m from Brasil and a BIG BIG fan of ABM!
    Your work is amazing and very inspiring!
    I like to ask for more Craft tutorials, lately its all about recipes, they are lovely but its been a lot of food… i miss the crafts.
    I ask this with a lot of love.
    Keep making the world cute, you guys rock!

  • I never heard of that but I love the idea of a stove simmer! I will for sure be trying this out this holiday season!

  • I will definitely try this! I love filling my house with good natural scents. Thanks for sharing!

  • this is like a holiday in a pot!! xo

  • This is fabulous, definitely going to try and do one for the holidays 🙂

  • How ironic – I hopped over from “While She Naps” and isn’t this just the same exact simmer I have on my stove right this minute! Smells lovely, and Abby’s right – your site is gorgeous, too! : )

  • Rosemary is also brilliant, by the way! Makes it much more easy to pretend you’re living in Southern France and it’s actually summer outside. Also makes everybody dead-sure that you are an amazing chef, even if you don’t prepare any food at all! brilliant!

  • My mom does this often! Except she calls it Potpourri. Keep up the heat, it’s COLD

    Lotz of Love,

  • oh my gosh i bet this smells amazing!
    i think i might have to give this a try 🙂

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  • Hi Samantha!
    You could start with 3/4 full of water, but just make sure to keep the pot at least half full at all times 🙂

    ABM Team Member

  • Hi Rosie!
    Yep, just heat it up and keep the pot at least half full at all times 🙂

    ABM Team Member

  • So festive!! I love it. I so cannot wait to try this! How much water do you use?

  • What a simple and easy way to get a perfect christmas sent through your home! 🙂

    Lulu xx

  • SUCH a marvelous idea. Especially when we have guests over! Who doesn’t love waking up to smells of cinnamon?! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • mmm i do this all the time with pumpkin spice and vanilla bean. lavender oil and vanilla in the spring.

  • Amazing! I’ve never heard of a stove simmer, but I think it’s a great idea! Nice alternative to scented candles.


  • Hi Elsie,
    I want to try your stove simmer it looks so amazing. I’m just wondering at what temperature do you let this beautiful mess simmer at and also how much liquid you use? I’ve never done one of these.I follow you on instagram as well and love everything you do. Thank you for posting wonderful images and ideas. 🙂

  • This this fabulous. I love simmers. They make everything so homey 🙂

  • I’ve never heard of this before? Do you just heat it up and leave it on the stove?

    Rosie x | Every Word Handwritten

  • Pinned it! Love the all natural ideas of scenting my home. (I’m not a big fan of the commercial air fresheners.) Can you give ideas for other ingredients, since cinnamon aroma is really not my favourite.

  • Mmmmm, I bet this smells delicious. Thanks for posting; I will definitely try this!

  • Another suggestion for commenters who might be looking for ideas – the “Williams Sonoma Smell” simmer. Take sprigs of fresh rosemary, a few slices of lemon, a lot of vanilla and some water. Bring to a boil, then simmer. When water level gets low, add a little more water. Simmer for at least a couple of hours and the scent will fill your house and last all night.

  • LOVE pots of natural goodness making my home smell good! I do one similar to this….minus the cranberries, but add a bay leaf or two.
    I look forward to trying yours with the cranberries.
    Happy Wednesday girls!

  • Stove Simmers are so much prettier and smell so much better than artificial air fresheners. Love this!

  • Good morning Elsie! Another good idea! It’s a perfect day for this! I feel cozy just from the pics!

  • um…delish!! sounds like something my mom did growing up, love smells that remind you of childhood. going to have to try this for sure!!

  • I havent thought of just using this as a way to scent the hoise but i have used this recipe with wine. Its a warm fuzzy czech christmad drink!

  • Does this steam a lot? I live in a tiny apartment with sensitive fire alarms, but really want to try this!

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