Use your slow cooker or stovetop and make your home smell like Christmas with this Simmering Holiday Potpourri! Warm spices, cranberries and oranges in a Christmas simmer pot will make your home smell inviting. Wrap this spice mix in small packages for gifts and attach a printable gift tag, included!
As I write this, I have this simmering holiday potpourri in my slow cooker. My kitchen is filled with warm, earthy scents of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and oranges. It smells like Christmas!
(A record number of you have made this potpourri since I published it in 2016. So for any of you who have yet to give it a try, I've updated this post with new photos and information for everyone to enjoy.)
❤️Why you'll love this potpourri spice mix
- It will make your home smell cozy and inviting! Softly falling snow, a crackling fire and the aroma of cinnamon and cloves is bound to put you in the holiday spirit. I like to have this spice mix simmering during a holiday party.
- Choices. You can make it in in a pot on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or in a mini slow cooker.
- This spice mix makes a nice hostess gift. I decided to package this slow cooker simmering spice mix for gifts after I received a comment on my Instagram photo of my potpourri mix. One of my followers told me she had decided to make little boxes of this as gifts for her friends.
- Free printable tags included. I thought it was such a great idea, so I've included little printable "Scents of the Season" gift tags that you can print and attach to your packages, too.
😊 Favourite scents bring back happy memories!
Do you have a favourite smell?
Recently, my brothers and I were recalling our childhood memories of Grandma's freshly baked buns. Tuesdays were always Raisin Bun Day at Grandma's. Her kitchen was filled with warmth from the oven, butter melting on buns and one-of-a-kind grandmotherly love.
Our sense of smell evokes memories and brings back pictures as clear and sharp as if they were yesterday. Grandma's freshly baked buns, evergreen boughs, and Black Magic chocolates are all scents that I remember from my childhood Christmases.
Our olfactory system is situated in the part of our brain that is important for memory. There are strong neural connections between these two.
I hope you'll get a chance this season to make this DIY holiday potpourri. Bring back some happy memories of past Christmases!
You'll only need a handful of ingredients to make this Christmas stovetop potpourri. You'll be using whole spices, not ground. Ground spices may eventually turn into muck in the bottom of your saucepan or slow cooker.
- cinnamon sticks: You can find these in the spice aisle of your local supermarket.
- whole allspice: Its aroma is hard to define, but it smells like a combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
- whole cloves: These give a sweet and spicy aroma. Did you know that the aroma might reduce drowsiness, irritability, or even headaches?
- whole star anise: Star anise has a pungent aroma that smells a little like licorice. I love the little star shapes!
- cranberries: You can use fresh or frozen cranberries, both will work well.
- orange slices: Oranges give a fresh clean scent and add colour to your spice mix. Apple slices will work, too! Or use dried orange slices, if you'd like.
- You can also add fresh rosemary or even bay leaves to the mix for more scents and colour.
🥄How to simmer Christmas potpourri
This recipe includes amounts to make one package. If you want to make a larger quantity, adjust the amount by using the little slider when you click on "Servings" in the recipe card below.
- To a saucepan or slow cooker, add 2 to 4 cups of water or apple juice. The amount will depend on the size of the pot you're using.
- Add the spices, cinnamon sticks, orange slices, cranberries and rosemary sprigs to the water.
- Gently heat the mixture on the back burner of your stovetop or in a slow cooker. Keep it on low heat or on a simmer setting and check it frequently, add in more water as needed.
- It won't be long until your home will be filled with the scents of the season!
👍🏼 How to package potpourri spice mix for gifts
A package or jar of this simmering spice mix is always a welcome hostess gift, teacher gift or neighbour gift. You can prepare it well ahead of time. A win-win!
Package the mix in a pretty glass jar, a small Mason jar, a tiny gift box, or in a clear plastic or cellophane gift bag and you have a great little gift.
Using a fresh orange and cranberries: If you want to include the cranberries and whole orange in your gift bag, keep the package refrigerated until gift-giving time. Don't include the ground spices, as they will stick to the orange and the cranberries.
To make a dried spice mix package, on the other hand, don't include the cranberries or fresh orange slices. Use dried orange slices instead. Learn how to dry oranges for potpourri and crafts in this post. It includes easy instructions and drying time for drying oranges in either the oven or in a dehydrator.
You can add extra ground cinnamon, cloves and allspice to the dried mix too. The ground spices will release their scent faster (but they will eventually form sludge at the bottom of the saucepan or crockpot.)
Then all the recipient has to do is add a few cranberries to the dried mix.
You can simmer this spice mix for a while, then turn the heat off and cover it with a lid. It will last for a few days. As it simmers, you'll need to add more water. Never leave it unattended.
I sometimes add fresh or dried lemon slices or thick slices of unpeeled apple. Orange peels are nice, too.
Questions? Comments? When you make this simmering holiday potpourri spice mix, please leave a comment (or a question) and a star rating below. Thanks so much! Subscribe to my newsletter and have new recipes delivered straight to your inbox once a week.
🗒 More ideas for gifts from the kitchen
📖 Recipe Card
Make Your Own Simmering Holiday Potpourri
- 4 large cinnamon sticks broken (to release scent)
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon star anise
- ½ cup fresh cranberries
- 1 medium whole orange or dried orange slices
- rosemary or evergreen sprigs, optional
- a clear bag or a 250 (1 cup) Mason jar, or a recycled jam jar.
- festive ribbon and a tag
- To make a dried mix package, don't include the cranberries or fresh orange slices. You can add extra ground cinnamon, cloves and allspice to the mix too. The ground spices will release their scent faster.
- If you're including the cranberries and orange, keep the bag refrigerated until gift-giving time. Don't include the ground spices, as they will stick to the orange and the cranberries.
- Add the dried mix, fresh cranberries and sliced fresh or dried oranges to 2 - 3 cups water (or apple juice) in a saucepan or slow cooker. Simmer over low heat.
- Never leave it unattended as the water could completely evaporate. Add water as needed. This mix will last for up to 4 days.
This post has been updated with new photos and information.