11 Simmer Pot Recipes to Make Your Home Smell Like Fall (2024)

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Cambria Bold

Cambria Bold

Cambria Bold is the Executive Editor of Cubby, and one of Apartment Therapy Media’s first full-time editors from way back when. She was the founding Design and Lifestyle Editor for Kitchn and the Managing Editor for Apartment Therapy’s green living site, Re-Nest (RIP). After a few years offline and then working elsewhere, she’s back to share ideas about design, kids, and family life. It’s helpful that she now has two little kids and lots of thoughts about all those things. She lives with said kids and their father in St. Paul, MN.

updated Aug 31, 2023






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11 Simmer Pot Recipes to Make Your Home Smell Like Fall (1)

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The season of scented candles has begun! While “pumpkin spice latte” and “vanilla bean frosting” might sound scrumptious and inviting, the truth is many scented candles are made of petroleum-based paraffin with dubious artificial scents. A more natural alternative to candles with artificial scents is to do what your grandmother did: Simmer a pot of spices on your stove!

Quick Overview

How to Make a Fall Simmer Pot

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, then add ingredients like apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, cranberries, nutmeg, vanilla, and more, and keep the water at a simmer to fill your home with a beautiful autumnal aroma.

Turn on the heat and fill your pot with ingredients like cinnamon sticks, apple peels, orange rinds, cloves, apple juice, vanilla, anise, and nutmeg, and in no time at all this stovetop potpourri will have your home smelling like you’ve been baking all day.

How to Create a Simmer Pot

Fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the ingredients from your favorite recipe, continue to boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer. Keep an eye on it and add water as needed, usually every 30 minutes or so.

You can also use a Crock-Pot or other slow cooker to create a simmer pot: Fill the pot most of the way with water, add your ingredients, put on the lid, then turn the slow cooker to high. When there’s steam rolling off the lid, take the lid off and set the slow cooker to a low or simmer setting. Add water as needed to keep it at least halfway full.

Simmer pots are also a great way to give second life to your food discards. Rather than composting them, get into the habit of saving your orange peels, lemon and lime peels, and apple and pear skins. Keeping your scraps will pay scrumptious-smelling dividends in the future.

Simmer pots are more of an art than a science. You can remix these recipes below 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 scents you like better (or to suit what you have on hand).

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11 Fall Simmer Pot Recipes to Try

1. Lemon & Orange Simmer Pot

  • Peel from 1 lemon (or lemon slices)
  • Peel from 1 orange (or orange slices)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves

2. Creamsicle Simmer Pot

  • A few drops vanilla extract
  • Orange peels or orange slices

3. Lavender Simmer Pot

  • 1 cup dried lavender (or lavender essential oil)
  • 1 teaspoon anise
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
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4. Cinnamon Apple Simmer Pot

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Apple peels
  • Orange rinds
  • Whole cloves

5. Bay Leaf Simmer Pot

  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 sticks cinnamon

6. Colorful Cranberry Simmer Pot

  • Orange slices
  • Lemon slices
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • A handful of cranberries
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7. 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

8. Rosemary & Orange Simmer Pot

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • Leftover orange peels
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

9. Chai Spice Simmer Pot

  • 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • Ginger root, dried ginger pieces, or ginger powder
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10. Apple Pie Simmer Pot

  • Apple peels or slices
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh ginger, dried ginger pieces, or ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

11. Coffee Shop Simmer Pot

  • 1/4 cup coffee beans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick

    Do you have a favorite simmer pot recipe? Tell us below!

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