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4 Simmer Pot Recipes That Smell Better Than a Candle

simmer pot recipes

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If you’ve never heard of a simmer pot before, it’s about to become your new best friend. Though we love a great-smelling candle, they can become costly if you’re lighting them frequently. Not to mention, there are a lot of candles on the market that contain harmful toxins, which can release VOCs like formaldehyde and benzene (both of which are also known carcinogens). Plus, candles can also be a fire hazard, especially around children. But simmer pot recipes are a fantastic solution. Because they use natural ingredients without any additives or chemicals, you won’t have to worry about any toxins being released into your home. And the scent will linger for longer.

It’s an easy process that doesn’t take much time, money, or materials. Just fill a dutch oven with water, add in your fresh, aromatic ingredients, and then bring the water to a boil. You want to make sure that there are enough aromatics inside to be fragrant, but also enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Filling the pot between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way full is the sweet spot. Then, bring the heat down to the lowest temperature and let simmer. And don’t forget to check on it from time to time: As long as the heat is on, you want to make sure there is water inside the pot and add more if needed, so none of the ingredients burn. (Or if you don’t want to leave a burner on all day, you can use a slow cooker instead.)

Simmer Pot Recipes for Every Season

Simmer pots are just like baking cookies or cooking a delicious meal—the house fills with the aroma of the ingredients, while they combine with one another to create an inviting scent that wafts through the whole home. There’s something about fresh ingredients that just makes things smell more lively and fragrant. Not only will simmer pot recipes help create a cozy atmosphere inside your home, but it’s also a simple, quick solution to have the house smelling good when guests come over. And because simmer pots are also an eco-friendly solution to home fragrance, you can rest easy knowing that your home, your wallet, and the planet will thank you. So we crafted four simmer pot recipes for you to try out—one for each season. Mix it up, swap ingredients, or test them all. The choice is yours!

1. Summer Citrus

  • 1 – 2 Meyer lemons
  • 3 – 4 dashes of sweet orange essential oil
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of local honey

2. Fall Harvest

  • 1/4 cup dry coffee beans
  • 1 – 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 of an apple
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

3. Winter Berries and Thyme

  • 3 pine needles
  • 2 – 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup of eucalyptus leaves (or 1 – 2 branches)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

4. Spring Herbs and Florals

  • 1/2 cup of dried lavender
  • 2 springs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of fresh mint
  • 1 handful of dried rose petals or 2 teaspoons of rose extract (optional)

More Simmer Pot Tips

Can I Switch Up the Ingredients in These Recipes?

Of course, you can alter these recipes however you’d like. The best part about simmer pots is that they are completely customizable. If you have some oranges that are about to go bad, or maybe you don’t have a plan to use the last couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract in your cabinet, simmer pots are the perfect way to avoid food waste, too. Combining foods and ingredients and making a lovely DIY home scent definitely beats throwing unused food in the trash. We recommend our recipes because we’ve tested them to make sure they smell amazing, but you can change them however you’d like.

How Frequently Should I Be Changing Up My Simmer Pot Recipe?

Your fragrance is completely yours, and that’s the beauty of it. Though having a signature scent is a great way to make your home memorable to guests and family, switching your scent monthly could also keep things interesting. So whether you’re changing your simmer recipes every couple of weeks or sticking with one tried-and-true ingredient list, there’s no going wrong. Each simmer pot recipe will last up to 24 hours if you are using fresh fruits, or up to a week if you are using herbs, spices, and essential oils. Just remember to turn the burner off whenever you aren’t home, at bedtime, or if you’re unable to keep an eye on the kids.

Are There Any Ingredients I Should Avoid Using?

The only ingredients we recommend avoiding are animal-based products, dairy products, and spoiled foods. Other than that, as long as the ingredients are fresh and natural (meaning no waxes, plastics, or other inedible products), there is a wide variety of ingredients to choose from. Our favorites include citruses, warm spices, essential oils, as well as fragrant leaves. But season-to-season, there are so many options! It’s a good idea to double-check fruits and spices that are in season, and then test them together to make sure they’re complementary fragrances.

Do I Have to Use a Dutch Oven?

There are actually a bunch of different vessels you can use if you don’t have a dutch oven at home, however a dutch oven will probably provide the largest capacity. But you can also use a slow cooker, a large saucepan, a stock pot, or a large sautĂ© pan. Do not use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, because these pots are not suited for this use.

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