6 Homemade Bird Suet Recipes for Your Feathered Friends

Readers share their best suet recipes to make bird suet. Keep birds fueled and happy by following these tips for making homemade bird suet!

Duncraft Protected Seed Ball Feeder (digital Composite)Duncraft.com
Tufted titmouse and downy woodpecker on a suet feeder

Although homemade bird suet is especially popular with tree-climbing birds such as woodpeckers and nuthatches, it will attract many other birds, from jays to chickadees. And no wonder: This high-fat treat is a good source of energy. True suet is just raw beef fat, and it can be used as bird food; but backyard birders now use the term “suet” for many kinds of fatty mixes that are easier to manage and even more attractive to birds. Try these homemade bird suet recipes in your own feeders and see which recipe your backyard birds like the most!

Check out common questions about feeding suet to birds.

Expert-Approved Suet Cakes Recipe

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup lard
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups birdseed mix
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour

Bird experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman suggest this DIY suet recipe. Melt 1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup lard over low heat. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups quick oats, 2 cups birdseed mix, 1 cup yellow cornmeal and 1 cup flour. Stir melted ingredients into the dry mix. Once cool, press into molds and refrigerate.

Bird Buffet Suet Recipe

Begin with equal parts lard and peanut butter, melting and mixing them over low heat. Add a variety of ingredients to this gooey mess: unsalted shelled peanuts, raisins, rolled oats, dried mealworms, sunflower seeds or cornmeal. Then chill the mixture for a day before cutting it into blocks or cubes.

Check homemade suet regularly and discard if it gets either moldy or rancid.

Check out our guide to feeding mealworms to birds.

Peanut Butter Suet Recipe

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup lard
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups bird seed mix
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour

Melt peanut butter and lard over low heat. In a large bowl, mix quick oats, birdseed mix, yellow cornmeal and flour. Stir melted ingredients into the dry mix. Once cool, press into molds and refrigerate.

Check out the best suet feeders for winter birds.

Pseudo Suet Cakes Recipe

Linda Popejoy, Concord, North Carolina, says, “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.

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Spreadable Suet Recipe

pine siskin and bluebird on peanut butter log feederCourtesy Mitchel Dickinson
Pine siskin and eastern bluebird on a log feeder with spreadable homemade bird suet

“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 for homemade bird suet. The birds can’t get enough of it, even the juncos,” says Naomi Manalo, Middleton, Delaware.

  • 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.

Is it OK to add bacon fat to bird suet?

No-Melt Suet Treat Recipe

homemade suetCourtesy Susan Goewey
Offer suet to attract woodpeckers

“Attract woodpeckers, as well as chickadees and nuthatches, with this homemade suet recipe. The best part is this suet mix won’t melt when it’s warm outside,” says Rebecca Beiler, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 ½ cups oats
  • 2 ½ cups cornmeal
  • Raisins, nuts or birdseed, optional

Melt lard and peanut butter. Stir in 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.

Learn how to clean a suet cage bird feeder.

Readers Share Their Best Suet Feeding Tips

Bnbugc Judy Roberts2Courtesy Judy Roberts
Juvenile red-headed woodpecker

Birds & Blooms readers and contributors share clever solutions to keep pests and critters away and serve suet to more birds.

  • Attach a clear baffle or dome to keep both suet and visitors dry.
  • Look for laminated coating on feeders, which helps protect bird feet.
  • Larger woodpeckers, such as pileateds or flickers, may be more drawn to a feeder with a tail prop included.
  • Hang suet feeders in a spot where they’ll be out of direct sunlight.
  • If squirrels or bully birds are an issue, try a suet feeder with an upside-down or caged design.
  • Add twigs to a cage-style feeder to enhance the access for birds. A fledgling red-headed woodpecker (above) seemed to appreciate the extra perch, says reader Judy Roberts.
  • After the local deer kept stealing our suet, I finally found a solution. I use a simple pulley system that places the feeders out of their reach and saves me having to get up on a ladder, says reader Lori Bowers.
  • Freeze your suet to keep it fresh for longer. My woodpeckers even seem to like it better that way, says reader Mark Kittrell.
  • Slather a layer of peanut butter on your suet. It won’t last long! says reader Lori Lorraine.
  • Raccoons figured out how to open my metal suet feeders, so I lock them with a carabiner clip. It works like a charm, says field editor Sue Gronholz.
  • I use spreadable suet, which is sometimes called bark butter. Just smear it on trees and it attracts tons of birds. It gives visitors a natural perch instead of a hanging wire cage suet feeder, says reader Lynette Buckner.

Next, check out even more proven tips for attracting birds with suet.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.