9 Inviting Simmer-Pot Combos for Holiday Parties

Bubbling away on the stove, these ingredient mixes make your home smell sweet, warm and welcoming.

Simmering Scents

Everyone thinks about the food, decor and music when it comes to planning a holiday gathering — but you shouldn't overlook the power of scent. A simmer pot is a clever, all-natural way to waft a pleasant aroma throughout your entire house. Just put the ingredients into a saucepan, cover with water and let simmer. The heat and steam will welcome your guests — or even help them feel like they've been transported somewhere else.

By Karen Cohen for Food Network Kitchen


Fresh pine branches, cracked cardamom pods, orange slices and sage mimic the scent of crisp, woodsy air in winter.

Pumpkin Spice

With this mixture of ginger slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice simmering on the stove, everyone will think you've got a pumpkin pie baking in the oven.

Winter Snap

Cranberries, cloves and lemon slices are a quintessential holiday combination.


To truly transport your party guests away from the winter doldrums outside, combine pineapple slices, shredded coconut and vanilla extract.


Eucalyptus, mint and dried chamomile are soothing and spa-like together.

Mellow Vanilla

A split vanilla bean smells lovely on its own, but dried lavender and star anise add an interesting extra layer of scent.

Thai Style

Smashed lemongrass, lime slices and basil create an aroma that's herbal and bright.

Warming Cider

Apple slices, orange wedges and cinnamon sticks are perfect for a post-apple-picking gathering.

Citrus Zest

Ginger slices, grapefruit rind and rosemary are a zippy combination.