How to Make Stovetop Christmas Potpourri – This holiday potpourri recipe is like bottling up the Christmas smell! It’s a great way to make your home smell like the holidays and makes a fantastic gift. Don’t miss our FREE PRINTABLE gift tags for gifting!
I mention this every so often, but my family moved a LOT growing up. My dad’s job often had new opportunities in different states, so we moved every 2-3 years, which made for plenty of chances to meet new people, learn how to get along some place new, and experience new things. Even so, it was a LOT of constant change, which was, at times, really hard.
Thankfully, my family was (and is!) very close, which made all that upheaval much easier to bear. I also always took comfort in holiday traditions. My family jokes about how much I love traditions around the holidays, but to me, traditions are little anchors that feel like home, no matter where I live or who I’m with.
I’ve written at length about our family’s holiday traditions, but one that I love from my own home growing up was my mom making the smell of Christmas with her stovetop Christmas potpourri. Making a holiday simmer pot was one of my favorite natural ways to usher in the holiday season throughout the entire house.
The stovetop potpourri is a blend of citrus and warm spices that instantly makes me feel cozy and safe. Here’s what makes it special…
This Stovetop Christmas Simmer Pot, At A Glance:
- What Makes This Christmas Potpourri Amazing
- Simple Ingredients For Stovetop Holiday Potpourri
- Shortcuts, Substitutions & Suggestions For Making Christmas Simmer Pots
- Directions For Stovetop Potpourri – How To Make It, Step By Step
- Potpourri Gift Tags & How To Package Potpourri For Gifting
- FAQ – Stovetop Potpourri
- More Gift Ideas To Try
- RECIPE – Christmas Stovetop Potpourri
What Makes This Christmas Potpourri Recipe Amazing:
- IT SMELLS LIKE CHRISTMAS! The best part! I love this easy way to channel the scents of the season! The combination of citrus, warm spices, cranberries, and rosemary simmering on the stove instantly make the whole house smell like the holidays. It’s the Christmas smell on demand–a perfect natural air freshener!
- IT’S A GREAT WAY TO RESCUE SAD PRODUCE. Ever open an orange and find it’s actually pretty dry? Toss it in a saucepan for Christmas potpourri! It also works with grapefruit, mandarins, tangerines, and more–whatever needs to be used.
- IT’S FLEXIBLE! Like I said above, you can use a variety of citrus for this stovetop holiday potpourri recipe. You can also skip the cranberries or use diced apples in their place. Like a different spice blend? Feel free to play with it! Try mixing in cardamom pods, a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, star anise, bay leaf, or a splash of vanilla extract.
- IT’S A GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA! This is literally giving someone the smell of the holidays! See below for my tips on how to package this + a FREE printable gift tag you can use for gifting.
So what do you put in this Christmas potpourri simmer pot recipe? Well, it’s simple, really…
Simple Ingredients For Stovetop Christmas Potpourri:
Part of what makes this such a great homemade Christmas gift or party favor is how SIMPLE the ingredients are. All you need for this Christmas stovetop potpourri recipe is:
- Oranges, Lemons, or Grapefruit. The citrus adds brightness and freshness that’s so lovely with the spices and herbs. I most often use oranges, but you can use mandarin oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit, etc. It all works!
- Fresh Cranberries. These aren’t *strictly* necessary, since they add more color than aroma, but they look absolutely beautiful in the packages, are super affordable this time of year, and add a lovely touch in the pot.
- Fresh Rosemary Sprigs. Sprigs of fresh rosemary add depth and an almost pine needles scent to Christmas potpourri. It’s gorgeous with the citrus!
- Cinnamon Sticks. These are less messy, easier to package for gifting, and the scent is longer-lasting in my experience.
- Whole Cloves. Like cinnamon sticks, using whole cloves helps prolong their shelf life and helps the aroma last longer. A few go a long way, so you can make one jar of whole cloves last a long time!
What Else Can You Put On The Stove To Make It Smell Like Christmas?
The ingredients above are my go-to basic ingredients for stovetop holiday potpourri, but you can also add extras to your sauce pan, like star anise, grated nutmeg, a splash of vanilla extract, dried apples, fresh apple slices, whole allspice, bay leaves or sage leaves. Each one adds a slightly different scent to the stovetop potpourri, and can be lovely!
Shortcuts, Substitutions & Suggestions For Stovetop Potpourri:
- SET IT AND FORGET IT IN A SLOW COOKER! You can totally put this covered in a slow cooker/crock pot on HIGH for hours without needing to add more water. (The lid prevents evaporation). If you leave the lid off your slow cooker, you’ll want to check it every hour or so to see if it needs more water. (This option is perfect for a holiday party!)
- SWAP YOUR CITRUS. You can use many different kinds of citrus for this. I’ve used grapefruit, Cuties (mandarins/clementines), tangerines, lemons, etc. Feel free to use what’s on sale, or what’s looking sad in your fridge.
- SUBSTITUTIONS + VARIATIONS. Besides citrus (orange slices), you can also swap out the cranberries for diced or sliced apples, use ground spices instead of whole, or add a splash of vanilla to the pot for some sweetness. Mix in fresh ginger, almond extract, or a pinch of pumpkin pie spice!
- STOCK UP TO SIMPLIFY! I don’t use whole spices very often in my kitchen, but they’re easier than ever to find. Sprouts has bulk spice bins that are great for this, or there’s Target or World Market (cinnamon sticks and cloves). Aaaand, I LOVE Amazon (cinnamon sticks and cloves).
Here’s How To Make It Smell Like Christmas! (Directions for Stovetop Potpourri)
- Slice or quarter your orange. Cutting the orange into orange slices looks pretty, but also gives you better access to the citrus scent! (Thin slices, thick slices, and quarters all work!)
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan with 4-6 cups water. (You’ll refill the pot of water as needed while it simmers.
- Bring to a simmer over low heat. You don’t want a boil–just a very slight simmer.
- Let it simmer as long as you like, adding more water as needed. You can simmer stovetop potpourri for hours on low heat–just check the water level, since water will evaporate over time.
How To Package Christmas Potpourri For Gifting (+Free Printable Gift Tags)
When you make it at home, I suggest slicing or quartering your oranges, but for gifting, it works best if you leave everything as whole as possible. Here’s the best way to package Christmas potpourri for gifting, step-by-step:
- Gather your ingredients and packing materials. I use large cellophane treat bags to pack everything up, along with some festive ribbon and our free printable tags.
- First, add the cranberries and a whole orange to the bottom of the treat bag.
- Then, add rosemary, cinnamon sticks, and cloves.
- Twist the bag closed and secure with a twist tie, if possible. (Most treat bags come with twist ties!)
- Then, finish with the ribbon and tag. First, I tie a tight knot. Then, slide on a gift tag with a hole punched in one corner, and tie a bow.
Download OUR FREE PRINTABLE LABELS
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions For Christmas Stovetop Potpourri:
How Long Does Stovetop Potpourri Last? It can be simmered for hours and hours over 2-3 days. Just keep refilling the water every 1-2 hours, as needed. To prolong its life, refrigerate it overnight!
Can You Drink Christmas Potpourri? I wouldn’t recommend it. While everything is edible, and it smells amazing, it will be VERY bitter. (A few people have asked!) I’d opt for a cup of hot spiced cider instead!
How Many Days Does Stovetop Potpourri Stay Fresh? 2-3 days for best results, though if you refrigerate it in between uses, you can stretch it as long as 3-4 days.
Can You Make Christmas Potpourri in the Slow Cooker? You bet! It works like a charm. Add the ingredients to a slow cooker and cover with the lid to slow down evaporation. Simmer covered in a slow cooker/crock pot on HIGH for hours. If you leave the lid off your slow cooker, you’ll want to check it every hour or so to see if it needs more water. (This option is perfect for a holiday party!)
How Far Ahead Is It Safe To Put These Together For Gifting? If you store them packaged in the fridge, you can make them at least 4-5 days in advance! They’ll stay fresh as long as your cranberries and rosemary stay fresh! (Oranges & whole spices will last much longer)