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17 Homemade Potpourri Recipes

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There are two basic types of homemade potpourri recipes: dried and simmering. Making dried potpourri – the kind that sits around in a bowl, letting off its wonderful scent – is a great hobby.

It costs less than buying it at a store,  and you get to come up with your own custom fragrances and mixes. It also makes for a lovely and inexpensive gift. But there’s a lot to the process.

If drying and curing and stirring is more hassle than you want to get into, or if you just want to be able to whip up a lovely scent spontaneously, you should look at instant simmering potpourri recipes.

I’m going to cover recipes for both kinds here, starting with the easy kind.

Homemade red potpourri from a recipe

Homemade Potpourri Recipes

You can make instant simmering potpourri from anything that smells good while it’s being simmered, and you probably have a lot of stuff on hand already that qualifies:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Vanilla extract, almond extract, peppermint extract, etc.
  • Dried spices and herbs – thyme, basil, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, nutmeg, clove, lemongrass, etc.
  • Apple cider

If you don’t have these flavorings on hand, you can easily order them online.

Instant Simmering Potpourri Recipes

Homemade potpourri scattered on table

These recipes can be ridiculously simple. Just cinnamon sticks simmering in a cup of water on low heat makes a wonderful cinnamon smell.

Add vanilla extract to some clove and you’ve got vanilla spice. You don’t really need specific amounts – you just combine the ingredients slowly, letting your nose tell you when you’ve got the blend just right.

You may want to invest in a mini crock pot like the Crock-Pot Food Warmer. Instead of sitting on your stove, it can be plugged in anywhere in your home and release fragrance from your homemade potpourri for hours.

Most potpourri burners and simmer pots are designed for liquid and wax potporri, but a crock pot can handle anything. Plus, it’s more useful because you can also cook with it.

Here are some suggested recipe combinations for simmering on the stovetop in a saucepan, or in a potpourri burner:

Simmering Potpourri Recipes

1. Cinnamon Buns

Add a little apple cider to your simmering water, and you get a whole new flavor.

2. Coffee Potpourri

  • Fresh ground coffee beans (ideally – instant coffee will do, too)
  • Optionally, any or all of the following: vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon sticks, orange peel, carob chips, chickory. Anything that tastes good in coffee will work, (except for dry ingredients creamer and cocoa powder, which don’t simmer very well).

3. Mint Potpourri

  • Add a few drops of peppermint extract in a cup of water, and simmer.
  • You could add lemon verbena or rosemary or almost anything, but it’s also delicious with just mint.

Fresh mint from the garden is another way to go. This can yield a slightly more “green” scent than you get from peppermint extract or oil.

4. Cilantro Mint Potpourri

Put mint extract and dried cilantro into your simmering pot. It makes one of those scents you can’t stop inhaling because it’s wonderful and fascinating.

5. Chai Tea Potpourri

  • Black tea bags (get PG Tips – best tasting tea ever, and best smelling)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Chai spices include the following, so use any or all of them: cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, ginger, coriander seed, mace, star anise, fennel, bay leaf.

When you’re done simmering, you could strain this into a cup, add some milk, and enjoy a chai tea latte.

6. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Sprinkle dried versions of these into simmering water and you get a wonderful green herbal scent.

Dried potpourri recipes

Homemade potpourri in dish on table

If you want to do a little more work, you can create dried potpourri which will let off scent just sitting a bowl, or wrapped in a sachet, or even from simmering. In fact, simmering is a great way to get one last burst of scent from dried potpourri that’s losing its aroma.

Dried potpourri is also great for gifting. Just put it in a little cellophane gift bag, tie it with a ribbon, add a printable gift tag, and you’ve got a gorgeous little gift.

If you want to up your game, a dehydrator will really speed up your dried potpourri projects, and also seal in more scent.

Here are some dried potpourri recipes to get you started:

7. Citrus Zing

Lemon verbena, lemon balm and lemon thyme, with marjoram and other common household spices and some essential oils

8. Velvet Winds {scroll down}

Peony, rosebud, jasmine and other flowers combine to make a smooth floral scent

9. Apple potpourri

Dried apple slices, cinnamon, cloves, pine cones and berries

10. Rose and Carnation Potpourri Recipe

Perfect for sachets, great for Valentine’s Day.

11. Kitchen potpourri

Apples, oranges, limes, lemons, cranberries, vanilla and spices. This is guaranteed to get the smell of last night’s cooked salmon out of there!

12. Orange Spice Potpourri

Zesty citrus rinds, anise, cinnamon and cloves make for a lovely scent

13. Pine Potpourri {scroll down}

Pine cones and other fragrant evergreen elements, with pine and cedar oils

14. A summer and a winter recipe

Scroll down for two wonderful recipes featuring mixed flowers and herbs for summer, and evergreen scents with anise for winter.

15. Essence of Rose

A colorful assortment of rose petals with chamomile, eucalyptus and rose oil

16. Primitive Potpourri Bricks

These “fixins” are essentially little baked beads of potpourri that you can use to accent a potpourri dish, hang from a car windshield, or put just about anywhere you want to scent things. Very neat idea!

17. Blend #1

A simple citrus blend of jasmine, sandalwood, grapefruit and other essential oils, which you can put over dried flowers.

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