Skip to Content

Winter Simmer Pot Recipe

A pot of cranberries with cinnamon sticks sits on a counter surrounding by winter seasonal spices.
Photo: / Candice Bell

Thoughts of wintertime bring the fresh scent of pine trees, mingled with comforting aromatic spices that waft from the warmth of the kitchen. Meanwhile, a pot of tea is brewing on the stove, releasing a sweet aroma into the air. The fireplace crackles every now and then, spreading a woody, smoky fragrance throughout the room. A winter simmer pot means you can enjoy these relaxing, wonderful winter scents anytime!

In reality, your home may not mimic all these scents in winter, and instead of inviting aromas, you may be faced with stale smells with no outdoor breeze to circulate through. Not to mention, some scented products like incense and air fresheners may contain harmful chemicals in their fragrances. That’s when a winter simmer pot can come in handy. 

What Is a Simmer Pot?

A simmer pot is a natural method to extract fragrance from an ingredient by letting it simmer in water. The natural aromas offer a healthier alternative to other scented products like candles that are safer to breathe into your lungs. 

Making a simmer pot is easy. You could even create a bouquet with the ingredients you have in your kitchen right now. All you need is a medium pot and several aromatic spices, fruits, herbs, or foods that you prefer. For a simmer pot that really captures the essence of winter, try the recipe below. The woodsy, festive aroma is a personal favorite of mine to make this time of year. 

Winter Simmer Pot Recipe 


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2-4 lemon slices
winter simmer pot ingredients


  1. Add water, vanilla, and allspice powder to a medium pot. Stir until combined.
  2. Heat pot over medium-low heat and add cinnamon, star anise, rosemary, and lemon. Cover until it begins to simmer.
  3. Remove lid and let simmer for up to 20 minutes, then remove from heat. Leave on stove for up to 20 minutes longer, or until no longer fragrant.
winter simmer pot close up

The Importance of Using Whole, Pure Ingredients

While you’re not technically ingesting the ingredients used in simmer pot recipes, you are breathing the compound into your lungs. Sticking with Paleo ingredients for your simmer pot recipe or any other whole, pure foods, herbs, or spices can help protect you from harmful volatile organic compounds. Moreover, these ingredients may offer various health benefits to your body when inhaled.

  • Cinnamon has the potential to relieve stress and anxiety, boost mood, and aid in concentration. [1]
  • Star anise may help heal congestion in the respiratory tract. [2]
  • Research shows vanilla extract can have a relaxing effect and also provide support to those struggling with sleep apnea. [3]
  • Allspice, similar to cinnamon, can contribute to anxiety and stress relief. [4]
  • Rosemary has demonstrated the ability to decrease tiredness and enhance mental clarity in some studies. [5]
  • Lemon can decrease nausea and stress levels. [6]

Combing these ingredients together creates a relaxing, brightening, and nostalgic scent with various other health benefits.

Make Your Own Winter Simmer Pot

Just like taste, scents are subjective to each individual. Below are some of my favorite winter ingredients that can help create a cozy, wintertime bouquet. Feel free to mix and match with the ingredients in the recipe above until you find your favorite winter combination!

  • Almond Extract
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Peppermint Leaves
  • Sliced Pears
  • Thyme Sprigs
  • Whole Cardamom
  • Whole Nutmeg

Simmer Pot Tips

A few things to keep in mind before you let your creativity loose and start creating your simmer pot recipes:

  • Simmer pots come in all shapes and sizes. I have a clear glass pot, and I love it! But be sure you know what material your pot is made of, what type of stove it’s good for, and how much heat it’s able to sustain. Glass CAN brake when put under extreme temperatures, and should not be used on induction stoves.
  • For a stronger aroma, squeeze the juice of your leftover lemon (or any other fruit) into the simmer pot mix.  
  • Whole spices create a much stronger scent than ground spices. However, they both work in simmer pot recipes, it just depends on how you want your kitchen to smell.


  1. Cinnamon Essential Oil: Discover The Fantastic Health Benefits Of This Woody Infusion [Internet]. Netmeds. Available from:
  2. ‌“Star Anise: Health Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, Dose & Precautions.” RxList,
  3. “Health Benefits of Vanilla.” WebMD,
  4. Rally, Spice. “9 Health Benefits of Allspice.” SpiceRally, 15 Jan. 2022,
  5. Nasiri, Ahmad, and Masoomeh Mo’tamed Boroomand. “The Effect of Rosemary Essential Oil Inhalation on Sleepiness and Alertness of Shift-Working Nurses: A Randomized, Controlled Field Trial.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, vol. 43, May 2021, p. 101326,
  6. Rambod M, Rakhshan M, Tohidinik S, Nikoo MH. The effect of lemon inhalation aromatherapy on blood pressure, electrocardiogram changes, and anxiety in acute myocardial infarction patients: A clinical, multi-centered, assessor-blinded trial design. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2020 May;39:101155. 

Isabella Mead

Isabella Mead is the Assistant Project Manager at The Paleo Diet and has experience in creating digital content for lifestyle and nutrition brands.

More About The Author
Isabella Mead Heashot

Family & Household

back to top