How to Make Homemade Suet

Readers share their best money-saving suet recipes for 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. Try these suet recipes in your own backyard and see which suet recipe your backyard birds like the most!

 

  • Downy woodpecker at suet feeder

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • More From Birds & Blooms
  • Downy woodpecker at suet feeder

    Pseudo Suet Recipe

  • Out on a Limb

  • Tropical Treat

  • Recipe for Hanging Suet Cakes

  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!)

      • KLW says

        You can use bacon fat as long as you are sure to skim out all meat particles. Any meat left in the fat can spoil quickly and can cause birds to get sick.

  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. KLW says

    Just a few notes: honey is bad for birds and should not be used to feed them. Similarly, bread crumbs, graham crackers and added sugar are also bad for birds. These recipes should really be vetted before posting them publicly.

  10. Ruth Hochstetler says

    I question the wisdom of putting flour in suet. Wouldn’t uncooked or unbaked flour when moistened become glue-like? I do use dry bread crumbs. Rather than adding sugar to my suet, I sometimes add raisins or other dried fruit. I had a problem with squirrels ravishing my suet cakes within several hours, so I bought the kind that had hot sauce added to it. They are more expensive, so I am experimenting with adding hot sauce to my homemade suet. I started with 1 tablespoon per 1 cup liquid, but I think I may need to add more. The hot sauce definitely deters the squirrels, but the birds don’t seem to have a problem with it. I am trying to cater to the non seed eating birds, so I do not add seeds to my suet. I recently started adding the dried mealworms. The mockingbirds and wrens are steady customers, but I’m really trying to attract the bluebirds. They sometimes come to my birdbath, but they have been there since I made their special suet cakes.

  11. SE Coastal Breeze says

    Have to agree with the comments questioning adding flour, honey and processed foods to suet. These are not things natural to, or healthy for, birds. It has effected the credibility of Birds and Bloom. No longer trust their publication.

  12. Merry Preble says

    I was wondering why no one from the magazine answered any of these question:
    is honey ok?
    what about corn and bread or flour? etc

  13. EVELYN says

    CAN I USE CRAISINS INSTEAD OF RAISINS OR ANY OTHER FRUIT. I DON’T WANT MY DOGS TO GET SICK FROM ANY RAISIN STUFF. HE SNACKS ON JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. I WANT TO BE SAFE

  14. Caha says

    I cannot believe the fact that Birds&Blooms actually posted these unhealthy suet recipes for people to use. No one, I repeat no one should use sugar, honey, processed shredded coconut, flour, graham crackers, or bread crumbs in their suet recipes. These ingredients can KILL birds. TAKE THESE UNHEALTHY SUET RECIPES OFF OF YOUR WEBSITE NOW!!!!!

  15. Flo says

    I have the easiest recipe of all. I use beef suet from the butcher and coat it with chunky peanut butter. The woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees love it!! Occasionally, even the sparrows enjoy it.

  16. Frank says

    Most people are total wrong .honey is natures most perfect food , it kills bacteria . It will last in a jar on a shelf for a hundred years
    And it’s still good .it wont do a bird one bit of harm if feed mine honey all the time as I also
    Keep bees . If you get a nasty cut smear honey on it if you want quick healing .
    Frank

  17. 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!

  18. Sharon Dixon says

    Honey it is not good for birds. Even the best quality honey can harbor bacteria and grow mold that can be fatal to backyard birds. Avoid using honey to make hummingbird nectar or oriole nectar and do not include it in any suet cake recipes.

  19. Frank says

    That’s a total lie also, you can choke but a bird can’t it has a separate air way to it’s longs from it’s nose , as ours joins and if our throat get plugged we die as the air way to the lungs close up also . Same as a dog they can choke . But they can still breath . Or a bow constrictor they plug there whole thoart
    With a cow and still breath

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