Winter might be the ultimate candle season: Longer nights mean more time to burn, and there’s nothing quite as romantic as cuddling in the candlelight while snow falls outside your window.
Some winter-themed candles admittedly fall on the cloying end of the scent spectrum, which means you should be discerning in your selection. We’re here to help: We’ve rounded up 19 top-rated candles that’ll capture the magic of the season without making your house smell like a giant candy cane.
Homesick Ski Trip Candle ($34; homesick.com)
Embrace the après ski vibes with Homesick’s highly rated candle, which has cinnamon, patchouli and cedar notes that evoke a cozy alpine lodge. Per its name, Homesick also has a wide range of candles tailored to specific cities and states, perfect for anyone craving the comforting scents of home over the holidays.
Homesick Winter Mantel Candle ($34; homesick.com)
Another great seasonal option from Homesick featuring notes of spruce, holly berry and fraser fir. This is basically a Christmas tree farm in candle form.
Brooklyn Candle Studio Catskills Escapist Candle ($38; brooklyncandlestudio.com)
Notes of cedar, juniper, sandalwood and cypress combine in this candle inspired by the woods of the Catskill Mountains — a cozy and idyllic winter getaway. All Brooklyn Candle Studio candles feature soy wax from American-grown soybeans and lead-free cotton wicks.
Chesapeake Bay Vanilla Birch Candle ($12.99; target.com)
Target has a fantastic selection of affordable candles, but we’re particularly partial to this crowd-pleasing vanilla birch option. While vanilla candles can sometimes be excessively sweet, reviewers praise Chesapeake Bay’s candle for being perfectly subtle and non-syrupy. The ultra-chic black jar is an added bonus.
Boy Smells Ash Candle ($32, originally $36; amazon.com or starting at $25.60; nordstrom.com)
This beeswax and coconut wax hand-poured candle features notes of charcoal, palo santo, dry hay and juniper berry for a unique, warm scent with just the right level of smokiness.
Apotheke White Vetiver Candle ($42; amazon.com)
Apotheke’s soy blend candle combines earthy vetiver with cashmere, eucalyptus, amber and lilac for a soothing and sophisticated winter scent. The company uses natural, plant-based ingredients and hand-pours all its candles in its Brooklyn, New York, studio.
Opalhouse Cozy Nights Lidded Glass Jar Candle ($10; target.com)
This is another great value option from Target, made from a soy and paraffin wax blend and designed to burn for up to 50 hours. The calming, comforting scent is a mixture of tobacco, bergamot and caramel.
Byredo Bibliotheque Candle ($85; nordstrom.com)
Byredo makes the ultimate candle for bibliophiles, with an elegant, woody scent perfect for cozy afternoons curled up with a book by the fire. The candle features notes of leather, plum, peony, vanilla and patchouli.
Diptyque Feu de Bois/Wood Fire Candle (starting at $38; nordstrom.com)
No best candles list would be complete without Diptyque, the ultimate name in luxury scents. While it’s hard to pick a favorite candle from the brand, we recommend this woody, soul-warming scent for the winter months.
Diptyque Ambre Candle (starting at $38; nordstrom.com)
If you want something a little less woodsy, Diptyque’s amber candle is another popular option. It combines aniseed and incense with tonka bean, patchouli and vetiver for a warm, spicy scent.
Snif Old Saint Wick Candle (starting at $49; snif.co)
Pine, sandalwood and fir balsam combine with hints of apple blossom and jasmine for a sophisticated scent that evokes the holiday spirit without, as one reviewer puts it, making you feel like you’re “trapped inside a Christmas tree.”
Paddywax Tobacco & Patchouli Candle ($20; amazon.com)
This top-rated soy candle blends notes of cinnamon, vanilla, patchouli and, of course, tobacco for a scent that’s at once rich, earthy and sweet. As a bonus, it comes in a vintage-looking amber apothecary bottle that you can upcycle as home decor.
Otherland Adorned Pomander Woods Candle ($36; otherland.com)
Otherland’s candles are known for their unique, complex scents and gorgeous containers. The Pomander Woods candle, one of six scents in the company’s seasonal Adorned collection, combines notes of honeybell orange, toasted cloves and dark mahogany for a spicy, citrusy scent that evokes your favorite holiday cocktails. You can also save by bundling Otherland’s candles in a three- or six-pack ($89 to $170; otherland.com).
Birthdate Candle ($48; birthdate.co)
Birthdate candles come in 365 unique scents, customized by master perfumers for each day of the year based on astrology, numerology and tarot. Adorability factor aside, they’re also just great candles that are made from a natural soy and coconut wax blend and hand-poured in small batches in the US.
Nest Fragrances Holiday Classic Candle ($44; nestnewyork.com)
One of luxury fragrance brand Nest’s top sellers, this refreshing vegan candle combines notes of pine, pomegranate, mandarin orange, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla — in short, the scents of the holidays.
Voluspa Baltic Amber Large Jar Candle ($35; amazon.com)
Voluspa’s Baltic Amber is a smooth, slightly sweet scent with nodes of sandalwood, vanilla and cedar. The candle is made from a clean-burning coconut wax blend that comes in a stunning glass jar.
Grove Co. Sparks of Joy Spiced Berry Candle ($9.99; target.com)
This limited edition candle has hints of cranberry, spice and citrus and comes in a festive, reusable glass jar.
Illume Noble Holiday Collection Balsam & Cedar Candle (starting at $13, originally starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
We love this affordable candle’s decorative tin, which will add a festive touch to the mantel as it fills the room with the cozy scents of balsam and cedar.
Beloved Roasted Chestnuts & Ginger Candle ($18.29; target.com)
The warm, inviting smell of roasting chestnuts combines with the spicy zing of ginger and nutmeg in this highly rated candle from Target. It also happens to be vegan, made from ethically sourced oils and packaged in a recyclable jar.