Homemade holiday pot simmer recipe

My mother has been making her own homemade holiday pot simmer recipe since the beginning of time.  At least since the beginning of my time.

Same diff.

Do you even know what that means?  Homemade holiday pot simmer recipe?

home made holiday pot simmer recipe

It’s basically a bunch of yummy smells thrown into a pot, filled with water, and left to simmer on a back burner on the stove while you wrap presents or hang out in your house.

I usually keep it pretty basic, using whatever I have in the kitchen around the holidays: orange peels, lemon peels, whatever holiday citrus I’m using, mixed with spices.  Sometimes I use whole cinnamon sticks I buy at the dollar store {never use the good stuff for a pot simmer, it’s a total waste}, some nutmeg, cloves, and whatever else I feel like adding.  Ginger is a yummy smell to add to the mix, but it’s really whatever you please.  Here’s my recipe:

homemade holiday pot simmer recipe

  • 1 or 2 orange peels
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon or
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves

The whole point is to make you happy and to make your house smell like the holidays, whatever that means to you.

Every few days when the orange peels start to get soggy, I run the old ones through the kitchen sink garbage disposal to get rid of them.  That’s an extra bonus for a yummy smelling house, right there.  Then I peel another orange or lemon and throw the peels into the pot.  I add new ground cinnamon about every 5 days or so, and the whole thing lasts through the holidays.

A little head’s up for you though, don’t use your good pots.  That might cause a little, uh how you say, marital friction.  Go to the dollar store and pick up a tiny little pot to use specifically for this purpose.  My friend, one who likes to shop at the dollar store, told me about the dollar store pot trick.

It’s not me heavens no, I would never have spousal friction, no way no how.


Happy holidays!

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Maria :

    MUST make this!

  2. Carina :

    I love to do this! It hides a multitude of potty training sins.

    • Laryssa :

      Wow the pircute say it all….. Yum yum but also strange looking. I just safe is now on my Recipe book list and will try it over the weekend

  3. Pam :

    I love to do this! I do it all the time in the winter. It takes the dull closed up winter smell from the home :) Enjoy your clementine while you wrap! Merry Christmas!

  4. Lori :

    What a lovely day. I found you just as I was looking for some final touches for our family gathering. I made holiday pot simmer years ago and it had fallen by the way. Thank you for the reminder. I’ve really enjoyed your site today. Hope to return often.