11 Sweet + Spicy Stovetop Scents That Make Your Home Holiday Happy

You (and your nose) can thank us later.

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What better way to greet autumn guests than with the comforting aroma of fresh-baked sweets wafting from your kitchen counter? The answer likely being, "greeting guests with actual fresh-baked sweets."

In theory, I can agree that yes, greeting visitors with a batch of warm, crumbly gingerbread cookies would be the ideal holiday hostess welcome. That said, sometimes you're just trying to mask that incessant (though, darling) dog odor or the notorious clothes-that-were-forgotten-in-the-wash-and-now-smell-super-questionable situation — am I right?

Looking for an easy solution that will have all your guests thinking you live in a magical, merry place that smells like Christmas and Thanksgiving all rolled into one? A solution that also requires zero baking skills, at that? Stovetop scents, people. Stovetop scents.

Stove-scent: BS

Stove-scent: BS

Photo by: iStock/zi3000

iStock/zi3000

To make, simply fill a pot or saucepan with 2-3 cups of water and your desired ingredients. Turn up the heat and bring contents to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Be sure to continue adding water as needed, then revel in the delightful aroma from every room in your house.

Not sure where to start? No problem. I've got 11 sinfully-easy stovetop scent combos, all of which are guaranteed to have your home smelling like happiness in a matter of minutes.

Cinnamon Apple Crumble

Stove-top Scent: Cinnamon Apple

Stove-top Scent: Cinnamon Apple

Photo by: iStock/zi3000

iStock/zi3000

2 sliced apples

3 cinnamon sticks

lemon rind

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 whole cloves

Pumpkin Pie

Stove Scent: Pumpkin

Stove Scent: Pumpkin

Photo by: iStock/bhofack2

iStock/bhofack2

1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cinnamon sticks

Spiced Orange

Stove-top Scent: Spicy Orange

Stove-top Scent: Spicy Orange

Photo by: iStock/Tartalja

iStock/Tartalja

1/3 cup fresh cranberries

2 oranges

1 lemon

2 whole nutmeg

1 tbsp. whole cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

2 bay leaves

Cranberry + Cinnamon Spice Cobbler

Stove-scent: Cranberry

Stove-scent: Cranberry

Photo by: iStock/brebca

iStock/brebca

1/2 orange, sliced

4 cinnamon sticks

2 cups cranberries

2 tsp. nutmeg

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Naughty or Spice

Christmas Spice

Christmas Spice

Photo by: iStock/TKphotography64

iStock/TKphotography64

Add any combination of the following for a truly intoxicating, spicy aroma: whole cloves, anise stars, whole peppercorns, dried or fresh ginger, dried or fresh lemon peel, dried or fresh orange peel.

Gingerbread Cookie

Stove-top Scent: Gingerbread Cookie

Stove-top Scent: Gingerbread Cookie

Photo by: iStock/Tartalja

iStock/Tartalja

10 slices fresh ginger

3 cinnamon sticks

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 orange rind

Candy Cane 

Stove-top Scent: Candy Cane

Stove-top Scent: Candy Cane

Photo by: iStock/karandaev

iStock/karandaev

2 vanilla beans, sliced

5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil

Christmas Tree

Scotch Pine

Scotch Pine

The scotch pine is one of the most common Christmas trees in the United States, loved for its dark green color and longevity.

Photo by: Image courtesy of The National Christmas Tree Association

Image courtesy of The National Christmas Tree Association

handful of fresh pine twigs

1 lemon rind

2 cinnamon sticks

3 bay leaves

1 tsp. nutmeg

Sleepy-Time Scent

Stove Scents: Sleepy

Stove Scents: Sleepy

Photo by: iStock/tanjichica7

iStock/tanjichica7

2 sprigs of fresh lavender

1 tsp. whole cloves

1 tbsp. nutmeg

Fresh Floral + Mint

Stove Scents: Floral Mint

Stove Scents: Floral Mint

Photo by: iStock/botamochi

iStock/botamochi

handful of fresh lavender sprigs

1 drop of eucalyptus oil

3 drops of peppermint oil

Make Cinnamon-Scented Pinecones

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Scented Pine Cones

Pine cones are an inexpensive way to decorate seasonally. Arranged in a basket or vase by the front door, they invoke the holidays without putting out the hardcore Christmas decorations before a flake of snow has been forecast. Increase the warm and cozy factor this year with DIY cinnamon-scented pine cones.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Collecting Pine Cones

If you have pine trees in your yard, you won’t have to go far to gather these harbingers of fall, but neighbors or parks can also be good sources. Select pine cones of similar size without indication of insect presence or damage. Don’t worry about finding cones with open “petals.” Pine cones close when damp and will open when dried.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Wash Pine Cones

Fill a large bowl or sink with warm water and add a little dishwashing detergent. Submerge pine cones and agitate to release any loose debris, dirt or stowaways.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Rinse Pine Cones

Rinse pine cones thoroughly. You’ll notice the pine cones have closed up when placed in water, but will blossom in upcoming steps.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Remove Excess Water from Pine Cones

Shake away excess water and pick out any lingering pine needles.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Arrange Pine Cones on Baking Tray

Line baking sheets with aluminum foil and arrange pine cones in a single layer. Sap may be released during the baking process, so foil is recommended to protect the trays from damage.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Bake Pine Cones at Low Temperature

Heat the oven to 200 degrees and set a timer for 45 minutes. Low temperature baking will remove the moisture to open up the pine cones, does away with sticky sap and will kill off any tiny bugs that may have made it this far.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Check and Turn

After 45 minutes, check to see if the pine cones have opened up. If not, turn over with tongs and continue to bake, checking every 15 minutes or so until they appear ready. Depending on the size and density of the pine cones, this can take a couple of hours or longer.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Prepare Scent

In a spray bottle, add about 20 drops of cinnamon essential oil to ½ cup of warm water. Cinnamon is a soothing scent associated with the holidays and pairs well with pine, but other scents like sandalwood or rosemary may be used as well.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Spray Pine Cones

As soon as the pine cones have come out of the oven, lightly spray with cinnamon/water. Turn over and spray to completely cover. The more spray used, the stronger the scent will be. Especially when displayed in small spaces, a little can go a long way.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Place in Airtight Container

Your scented pine cones could be set out immediately, but a few days in airtight storage will help intensify the scent and extend longevity. If you’ve made a small batch, you can place in gallon sized ziploc bags, but a 5 gallon construction bucket with a lid is perfect for larger batches.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

How Long to Store

Two to three days may be enough time for the pine cones to absorb the cinnamon, but waiting as long as two weeks will produce a scented pine cone that will keep the smell of the holidays going until it’s time to pack up the ornaments. If the cinnamon does start to fade, respray as needed.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Display Cinnamon-Scented Pine Cones

Place a few cinnamon-scented pine cones in a basket in the foyer or corner of the living room, use in holiday displays or pass along to friends to share the spirit of the season.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

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