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How to Make Holiday Spice Simmering Stovetop Potpourri


One of my favorite things about this fabulous time of year are the wonderful smells that come through the kitchen while baking.  If you even want those perfect Holiday scents through your home and don’t have time to bake something, I’ve got my simple recipe for a stovetop potpourri that fills your entire home with sweet spices that literally smells like you’ve been baking all day.  Such a great little pot to have simmering for your Holiday parties coming up.

Take a look at what you’ll need.

Here’s what I use.  You can make a few substitutions if you need.  The spices can be in “ground” form if you don’t have the “whole” spices as I have here.  You can absolutely use vanilla extract in place of the vanilla bean.  Those beans can be a little pricey.  You can also use fresh cranberries in place or in addition to the orange :)


You’ll start by adding 2 cups of water to a small saucepan.

Add your cinnamon sticks (or ground cinnamon).

Pour in your whole or ground cloves.

Add your nutmeg and vanilla to the saucepan.

Quarter your pretty orange.

You’ll just need the peel, so enjoy the orange pieces.

Add your orange peels to the saucepan and you are ready to go! Can you handle the difficulty?

Turn up the heat.

Let your potpourri come to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer as desired.  Make sure you glance at the water levels every now and then.  You’ll have to add more water as it gets low.

You can add all of the dry pieces to a cellophane bag, wrap with a little Tablespoon (from the dollar store) and a ribbon.  Attach the recipe and it makes a great gift for friends and neighbors :)  Check your dollar store for cinnamon sticks and the other spices, it can be an inexpensive gift idea!

Holiday Spice simmering Stovetop Potpourri

Holiday Stovetop Potpourri 2 text Ingredients

  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves or 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 orange peel, quartered (fresh cranberries are also great to add as well)
  • 1 whole nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups water


  1. Place water into a small saucepan. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla bean, nutmeg and orange peels. Turn heat to medium until water starts to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer as long as desired. Check water level every 1/2 hour that you have simmering. Water needs to be added as needed. Do not let water evaporate. Use potpourri for 2 days (adding additional water as necessary) then discard and make a new batch.

Makes 2 cups potpourri

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  1. 1

    Jenny this is a fabulous idea – and I bet your house smells SO GOOD! I’d be tempted to drink it – it probably smells so delicious :)

  2. 2

    I know pot pourri, but I never thought about offering it this way. This is a great great idea !

  3. 3
    Rachel Cooks says:

    Love the idea of making this a gift! So fun!

  4. 4

    my mom used to make this all the time in this cute little copper pot that she had! i usually do mine in a mini crockpot because i don’t trust myself leaving the stove on all day, but it smells like heaven :)

  5. 5

    What a yummy, fun gift!

  6. 6
    Amanda says:

    Love this!! What a great gift idea for neighbors!! :)

  7. 7
    Emily says:

    I love this idea and I cannot wait to try it!

  8. 8

    this looks awesome– what a great idea!

  9. 9
    Magnoliatn says:

    Soooo simple! Thanks for sharing!

  10. 10
    Suzanne T. says:

    I save all orange peels and dry them on a paper plate. Once they are dry enough to break they can be stored in a glass jar until needed. My family has learned to save all orange peelings. Haha Once they are in the simmering water they rehydrate and smell wonderful! That way you can package the ingredients ahead of time. These are wonderful gifts.
    p.s. A friend of my now grown daughter said she loved to come to our house as a child because it always smelled wonderful!

  11. 11
    Heather says:

    Love that. And yes, it does make a nice little holiday gift for someone- that doesn’t create clutter, but is something they can use. Thx for the inspiration!

  12. 12

    This is a beautiful idea! It makes me want to start a pot, crank up the Christmas music (and I usually don’t allow it until after Thanksgiving), and decorate a tree! Pinning this for sure…

  13. 13

    Fabulous idea, Jenny! I can’t wait to try this.

  14. 14
    Winnie says:

    I can’t wait to try this. I used to stud oranges with cloves for the holiday season and we used them as air fresheners, and ornaments. Your idea will have the kitchen smelling so delicious. I popped over from Barbara Bakes blog…

  15. 15
    Kerri says:

    I LOVE this!! Sooo much healthier than artificial fragranced candles and all the other fake fragrances out there! Thank you!

  16. 16

    Thank you for the easy step-by-step recipe. Oranges take me straight back to the Christmas seasons of my childhood!

  17. 17

    Love this idea and love your blog! This is a great gift for my co-workers this year. Thank you for posting!

  18. 18

    Love that Jenny! What a great way to make the place smell great, and I really love it as a gift idea too :)

  19. 19
    Margaret says:

    Always such stunning photographs. One of the reasons I love your site.

  20. 20
    Sarah says:

    Love this smell! I’ve done this every year for as long as I can remember. This, and the Christmas tree are what the holidays smell like to me.

  21. 21
    Mary says:

    I do this every year, I love it. Just do not forget to not over cook it. I am so absent minded sometimes I forget about it on the stove….oops. :) My husband gets mad at me. LOL! Holiday in a pan.

  22. 22

    […] smells! How to make holiday potpourri via Picky […]

  23. 23
    Keisha says:

    Can’t wait to try this :-)

  24. 24
    cici says:

    I do all of these spices in a small crock pot and leave it going all winter!! :)

  25. 25
    Fanny says:

    I’ll try this for sure ! Thanks !

  26. 26

    […] are really cinnamon sticks, which I’m spoiled for choice in making.  I could go with this potpourri or homemade hot chocolate: lots of options!  On the left is a delicious chocolate bar with […]

  27. 27
  28. 28

    […] love the look of this gift bag tied with an instructions tag and a tablespoon decoration from the dollar […]

  29. 29
    Jennifer says:

    This is one of my favorite things about the fall/winter! There are so many variations you can do as well. I sometimes throw in apple peels or cranberries. Some sliced ginger smells fabulous too. I love the idea of gifting this, thanks!

  30. 30
    Kathie says:

    thank you! This is much easier than other recipes I have seen lately that require dehydrated fruit. I don’t have a dehydrator and I really don’t want to spend money on one just to make potpourri.

  31. 31
    Alessia says:

    The recipe looks amazing, only you don’t explain what to do after you boil everything..
    What do you use the liquid or the pieces?

  32. 32
    Katie says:

    This is a great idea for a gift! I’m making a little baggie of it for each of my teacher co-workers. Thanks :)

  33. 33

    […] Create your own potpourri and let the simmering scents warm your home. Follow the link for a simple Holiday Spice potpourri recipe using everyday items found in your pantry.  Or simmer up a batch of homemade Apple Cider […]

  34. 34

    […] and spices in a small pot on the stove or in a small crockpot. Your house will smell amazing! Try this recipe from the Picky […]

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Colleen Collins says:

    I love this recipe. It makes my whole house smell great!!! I am passing this on to a few friends.

  37. 37

    […] of fragrances, then simmer a pan of water with cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peels and vanilla.  Here’s a recipe and instructions, if you need […]

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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!





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