How to Make Homemade Suet

Readers share their best suet recipe for saving money feeding birds.

Suet attracts many insect-eating birds, such as woodpeckers. But nuthatches, juncos, chickadees and jays will also stop at backyard feeders for a high-fat treat. True suet, and especially the kind made with animal fat, provides a good source of energy for many feeder birds, most importantly in fall and winter. Try these suet recipes in your own backyard and see which suet recipe your backyard birds like the most!

Hearty Mix
This hearty suet recipe attracts a large variety of birds.
1 ½ cups wild birdseed
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup melted suet
1 cup graham cracked crumbs
2 teaspoons sand (for grit)
Simply mix all the ingredients together and serve on a tray feeder. -Ann Sturgeon, Kokomo, Indiana

Easy Suet Recipe
I’ve shared this suet recipe with all my friends, and it always gets rave reviews from the birds.
2 cups peanut butter
2 cups lard
½ cup each of flour, old-fashioned oats, Spanish peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds and chopped corn
Melt peanut butter and lard. Mix all ingredients in a large cake pan and refrigerate until hardened. Cut and place in suet feeders for your feathered friends. -Ethel Fleming, Hemphill, Texas

Attracts a Wide Variety of Birds
This suet recipe attracts several birds, including sparrows, juncos, blue jays, chickadees and woodpeckers. The birds are always fighting over it.
1 cup lard
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1⁄3 cup sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 cup birdseed
Melt lard and peanut butter. Add sugar to the melted mix. Combine remaining ingredients. Form blocks and freeze. -Joseph Pavelchak, Robbinsville, New Jersey

Out on a Limb
I like to spread my suet on tree limbs so more birds can get to it at one time. Here’s a recipe I’ve put together. The birds can’t get enough of it, even the juncos.
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
¾ cup water
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup lard
1 cup raisins
In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Then add the water, and mix. Put peanut butter and lard in a small bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Add to the cornmeal mixture along with the raisins. Refrigerate for about two hours. -Naomi Manalo, Middleton, Delaware

Pseudo Suet Recipe
I work at a Wild Birds Unlimited store, and I’m always encouraging my customers to make their own recipes filled with fat (rather than sugars and grains) to best benefit the birds. Here’s my simple method for making suet-type food.
2 cups shelled, unsalted peanuts
½ cup raisins
2 to 3 tablespoons cornmeal
Process peanuts in a food processor until they’re the consistency of peanut butter. Then add the raisins and process for another minute. Add the cornmeal and process again. Press this mixture into a mold of your choice. This recipe will have the greatest nutritional value for your feathered friends. -Linda Popejoy, Concord, North Carolina

Tropical Treat
Attract woodpeckers, as well as chickadees and nuthatches, with this suet recipe made with coconut. The best part is this suet mix won’t melt when it’s warm outside.
1 cup lard
1 cup peanut butter
1⁄3 cup coconut
2 ½ cups oats
2 ½ cups cornmeal
Raisins, nuts or birdseed, optional
Melt lard and peanut butter. Stir in coconut, oats and cornmeal. Add optional ingredients. Pour the mixture into a pan and chill in refrigerator over-night. Cut into squares and wrap in plastic for easy storage and removal. -Rebecca Beiler, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Recipe for Hanging Suet Cakes
Make this “bird cake” treat and hang it from trees or bird feeders in mesh bags.
1 cup lard
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
2 eggs
Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. -Mary Hochstetler, Milford, Indiana

  1. Nicola says

    I’m going to try a couple of these for our birds here in Australia, as we come into winter. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the high energy nibbles. Thanks for posting.

    • Donna Shampo says

      I have used the easy suet recipe for over a year now. It’s up all year long & I have many types of woodpeckers coming to it. We have very cold weather already & now our black cap chickadees are at my suet. We had a round bird seed feeder that my husband puts the cupcake suets in. Once the birds get use to it you will be happy with the results. Good luck.

  2. Stephanie says

    I love this! I need to find a recipe that won’t melt in the HOT South Texas sun. Anybody have one?

  3. kathy mccormick says

    Why would you allow someone to show a recipe for suet with honey as an ingredient..Honey is NOT good for bird’s due bacteria growth and can be fatal to Bird’s..Do you not proof read these comment’s Bird’s-N-Blooms I am actually shocked by you allowing this on your site

  4. Donna Langel says

    I am having a bad problem with black birds scaring off the enjoyable birds. What do I do to control? Also the squirrels just shake the feeder to get the seeds.

    • Carol says

      I had the same problem, but decided to put some “indian” corn husks out for the squirrels and rabbits in another area away from the bird feeders. Or if I had some sunflower seeds or fruits pits, and that seems to do the trick. It is like separating the children from the adults at a gathering when the adults want to just sit and chat. Put out what takes their attention away from the main feeders.

  5. Squirrely1 says

    My homemade suet gets gobbled up year round, and actually, more gets eaten in the summer than winter.
    I just melt 16 oz lard, 32 oz chunky peanut butter, and add whatever you have on hand… birdseed, corn meal, uncooked oatmeal, flour, crushed cracker crumbs, raisins. I’ve even added dehydrated mealworms for the robins.
    I freeze it in ziploc sandwich bags, the size of my suet holders. That way I can easily refill the feeders as I need to.
    Quick, easy, and satisfying to watch the birdies gobble it up.

    • blackcat725 says

      I save my bacon fat and mix it with peanuts, seed, raisins, whatever I have on hand and freeze it in containers that fit my suet holders. It can really only be used in cold weather, but I store it up. The birds love it! I use the pre-made cakes in the summer. (I found a store that always has them for a great price!)

  6. Nancy G says

    Is it possible to use something like soy nut butter or sunflower butter? We cannot have peanut or tree-nut products around due to allergies.

  7. Alyssa C says

    All of these recipes look wonderful, but as someone who is severely allergic to peanuts I am only able to use one of them. Does anyone know of a nut-free substitute for peanut butter in these recipes? For human food I use a soy substitute but soy probably isn’t very good for birds…

  8. Judi W says

    I use beef suet from the grocery store; freeze it then melt in large pot; add extra crunchy peanut butter bought on sale and bird seed – no sugar or honey or raisins – got too many squirrels – I put cooled mixture in the round black plastic containers some cheese spread comes in and put them in the freezer for use as needed – my birds love them!!!

  9. NKR says

    I just have a question concerning the bird suet made with bread crumbs. I read somewhere that soft bread crumbs, or even dried breadcrumbs should not be given to birds, as it sticks in their throats which causes choking, and if in the stomach they can’t digest which causes infection and death. Can someone set me straight on this ??? Thank you!

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