The Best Christmas Smell Ever (And Easy too!)

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There’s only one thing better than when it starts to LOOK like Christmas…and that’s when it starts to SMELL like Christmas!

If you can boil water, you can impress your family and friends with this hyper domestic holiday stove top potpourri.

Y’all. If you don’t already do this, please get ready to thank me!

When Brad saw me buy the ingredients for the new house he happily paid for them and said “Hey! I get to smell the goodness! It’s worth it to me!”

While preparing this post my sister walked the house and her face lit up “Ohhh it smells like Christmas in here!”

My mom used this recipe and had it bubbling when we went over for Thanksgiving. She was worried the smell of food drowned it out but it all blended together in this amazing mix, which made the whole house feel like cozy and warm, exactly what you are hoping for from home during the holidays.

Are you getting the picture? This stuff is GREAT!

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I used to be a huge fan of buying up all the Christmas candles my cart could handle but replaced them a few years ago when I started making this wonderful stove top potpourri. I know it’s time to start making it when the cranberries pop up in stores; it’s the first thing I think of when I see a bag of them! I like to have the ingredients on hand and make it several times throughout November and December because it’s so simple and smells amazing.


Seriously. Have I mentioned that it smells pretty good?

Since I started making it, I have lived in four different houses with six different people and every last one of them gets excited to walk in and be greeted by this warm, comfy holiday smell.

Okay. You get it. The smell is fantastic.

But honestly, that’s not the only reason I LOVE it.

Perks of the stove top potpourri:

1. Other than a couple fresh elements, you’ll have all the other ingredients for a long time.

2. You might have the ingredients the house right now! You thought the leftover cranberries were going to waste? Nooooope! (plus its a great way to use citrus or berries that are a little too questionable to eat but not like rotten or anything)

3. Totally choose your own adventure; add the smells you like, leave out ones you don’t!

4. No weird chemicals, no artificial smells, 100% natural (Trust me. You’ll smell the difference.)

5. When you’re done with the potpourri it can all go right in the compost! I love a no waste/low waste alternative!

6. The ingredients to this DIY are actually useful in everyday life. You’re never going to be annoyed that you have left over vanilla extract and cinnamon in the house (unlike my other surplus of DIY supplies. 30 metal purse handles anyone?)

There are stove top potpourris for every season but the smell of warm spices wafting through the house, lends itself especially well to the holidays. Let me share with you my two favorite Christmas stove top potpourri recipes!


I am going to give you measurements so you have an idea of about what you need. You can follow my measurements to the letter if it makes you feel better but I NEVER MEASURE THIS! I always eyeball it and change it every time based on what I wanna smell that day

Feeling spicy? More cloves! Feeling fruity? More berries!

So, you do you!

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Spiced Cranberry Orange

This was the first stove top potpourri I ever made and it will always be my go to! Part of it is because this recipe is so visually appealing with the red, orange, green and browns; It looks beautiful, it smells great, it takes two minutes to make.

2 Cups Cranberries (about half a bag)

1 Orange (sliced)

3 Bay Leaves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 TBS cloves

1 TSP Vanilla

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Warm Pine & Citrus

This potpourri works better if you have an actual sprig of pine needles. I no longer live in Colorado, so I don’t have pine needles at my disposal like I once did. However! If you do and you prefer to use it, then walk out side, pick a sprig of pine needles and you can skip the essential oil. This smell is a new fave of mine, the pine smell makes me so happy!

2 oranges (sliced)

3 cinnamon sticks

1 tbs cloves

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 bay leaves

3-5 drops pine needle essential oil


Dump all your ingredients into a pot. I recommend using a medium size pot or larger; I used to cook it in a small sauce pan but since changing to a medium pot I have noticed that the bigger pans seem to let the smell waft better.

I’m not sure why but it’s definitely a thing.

This is the pretty Instagram version of this step:

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This is the reality, dump it all in and go (Note I added ground cinnamon as well this time ’round cause I was feelin’ spicy):

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Fill pot about half full with water and bring the whole thing to a vigorous boil on the stove.

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Once you have a big, bubbly boil stir the pot and turn down the heat.

You want your potpourri to be at a soft simmer or a lightly bubbly boil.

That’s it. I let my pot sit at a simmer and keep an eye on it; as the water boils off you can add water and keep simmering! No need to bring it back to a vigorous boil, I just let it do it’s thing. You may want to add your liquid ingredients in again, but that’s up to you!

If I leave the house? I turn off the burner and resume when I get back.

If I want more fragrance? I’ll add more ingredients or up the heat and back it boil a little more.

I tend to use it on and off throughout the day, topping it off as necessary.

Once the ingredients have effectively turned to brown mush in the pot, is usually when I call it quits.

I turn off the stove, let it cool completely (typically that means overnight) then add it to the compost the next day! Since I buy my spices in bulk and my vanilla in glass, the only waste I have is the plastic bag from my cranberries which makes me so happy!

I told you it was simple!

And since I use about 1/2 a bag of cranberries , I typically buy at least three oranges at a time to make sure I have enough fresh ingredients to last for a few batches.

I hope you get as obsessed as I am with these awesome stove top potpourri recipes!

If you are having guests over for the holidays, take 2 minutes before they get there and boom! It’s done.

All it takes is the time for the water to boil for the smell to start to infiltrate the whole house.

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Have you tried this recipe or one like it? What are some of your favorite recipes for stove top potpourri? Don’t forget to share this with a friend so you can be sure their house smells freaking fantastic when you come a-callin’


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