Simmer Pot Secrets: Choosing the Perfect Pot for Your Recipe

simmer pot secrets
Photo: IKEA.com

Scent can powerfully affect our mood and well-being. But candles and essential oil diffusers aren’t the only way to fill your home with beneficial fragrances. Simmer pots offer an easy, natural method for aromatherapy and work as a natural air freshener.

A simmer pot is a vessel filled with water, herbs, spices, citrus peels, flowers, and other aromatic ingredients. Gentle, low heat releases the essential oils and fragrances from these plants to fill the air with scent. The ingredients infuse the water with their essence as they mingle together.

Simply add your chosen elements to a pot of water, cover, and simmer on the stove over low heat. As the water gently bubbles, the rising steam will carry the aromatic compounds throughout your home. Once the water has evaporated, a quick rinse of the pot, and you can create a new scent.

Simmer pots provide soothing sensory stimulation. The bubbling sound and savory aromas are warm and welcoming. You can customize mixes to energize, relax, uplift, or calm yourself. The creative possibilities are endless. As an added bonus, they don’t contain any chemicals!

When simmering, the goal is gentle, sustained heat. This allows flavors to meld and the ingredients to release their fragrance over time. To achieve this, a simmer pot should:

  • Distribute heat evenly. Hot spots lead to scorching.
  • Be heavy-duty. Thin pots can warp and scald ingredients.  
  • Be made of stainless steel or enameled cast iron. These materials are durable and low-maintenance.

IKEA Cookware for Aromatic Simmer Pots

IKEA offers an affordable way to get started with simmer pots for diffusing essential oils and fragrances at home. While you don’t need specialized equipment, IKEA has ample options to create an aromatic sanctuary on a budget.

What to Look For

For dispersing scents effectively, a simmer pot should:

  • Heat evenly. Inconsistent hot spots will burn ingredients.
  • Be heavy-bottomed. This helps retain heat at a low simmer.
  • Work on both stove and oven. The oven can be used to intensify aromas.
  • Have a wide surface area. More space for ingredients to mingle and release fragrance.

IKEA Pot Picks

Both stainless steel and cast iron IKEA pots can provide even, gentle heating that is ideal for simmering aromatics.

IKEA 365+ stainless steel pots
Photo Credit: IKEA.com

The IKEA 365+ stainless steel pots in 3qt, 5qt, and 16qt sizes have durable stainless steel construction with aluminum cores for quick, even heating. Their lids help retain moisture and heat. The wide bottoms on the 3qt and 5qt sizes are perfect for a small amount of aromatics.

HEMKOMST 3.2qt stainless steel pot
Photo Credit: IKEA.com

The HEMKOMST 3.2qt stainless steel pot has a glass lid to monitor cooking and a spout for easy pouring.

VARDAGEN 3L enameled cast iron pot
Photo Credit: IKEA.com

For cast iron, the VARDAGEN 3L enameled cast iron pot offers even heating and heat retention. Their enameled cast iron construction requires seasoning but becomes naturally non-stick over time. The compact 3L size is well-suited to simmering.

IKEA Pots to Avoid for Simmering

IKEA’s carbon steel and aluminum pots should be avoided for slow, gentle simmering of aromatics.

The carbon steel options, like the VARDAGEN frying pan, can warp permanently when exposed to low, prolonged heat, as the thinner material is prone to warping away from the heat source.

The KAVALKAD aluminum sauce pans are also not ideal, as aluminum is highly conductive and lightweight, making temperature regulation difficult.

For simmering, you need a heavier material like stainless steel or enameled cast iron that will heat evenly.

Instead, opt for thicker, more durable options like HEMKOMST or SENSUELL when selecting an IKEA pot for simmering essential oils and botanicals. The small extra investment will pay off with better fragrance dispersal and longevity of your simmer vessel. Steer clear of lightweight pots that feel flimsy.

Prepping IKEA Pots

Before simmering, prepare IKEA pots:

  • Wash thoroughly with hot water and soap to remove manufacturing residues.
  • Remove labels and decorate the exterior to make it a visually soothing part of your space.
  • Run 1-2 rounds of plain water to hydrate and seal the metal. Discard the water after each cycle.

How to make a simmer pot 

The gentle heat of a simmer pot allows Nordic flavors to develop fully. Here’s how:

  1. Add your fragrant ingredients to the pot.
  2. Cover with water and bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low to keep the scent going. It should be a gentle simmer.
  4. Check back regularly and add more water if needed.

Try these recipes to add warmth and comfort with IKEA cookware:

Warming Cinnamon Apple Simmer Pot

simmer pot recipe
Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Simmer sliced apples, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and orange slices in water in an IKEA 356+ pot for a comforting autumn aroma.

Soothing Lavender Vanilla Simmer Pot

simmer pot recipe
Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Place dried lavender buds, vanilla beans, and lemon slices in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven with water. Simmer gently to scent the air.

Uplifting Citrus Spice Simmer Pot

simmer pot recipe with ginger and cloves
Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Fill a pot with water, whole cloves, sliced ginger, and orange peel trimmings. Let mingle on low heat for a bright, festive room fragrance.

Calming Chamomile Simmer Pot

simmer pot recipe with chamomile flowers
Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Steep chamomile flowers, rosemary, and mint leaves in a large pot on low heat. The potpourri will infuse the home with relaxing aromas.

Sweet Simmer Potpourri

pineapple slices
Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Simmer cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, allspice berries, and pineapple peels in a HEMKOMST stock pot for a tropical, spiced scent.

Saving or Disposing of Ingredients

Once you have finished simmering, you can drain and save the ingredients for future use. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Ingredients can be reused for up to a week or until they lose their scent.

Once ingredients have lost their scent or you are done using them, they can be composted or thrown away. 

Love simmer pots? You can also give a simmer pot as a gift.

Skål to simmering success!