Homemade Suet Recipes (and Suet Feeding Tips) for Birds

Readers share their best suet recipes and tips for feeding suet to backyard birds. Save money and attract more birds by making your own homemade bird suet!

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 the 4 best foods for attracting woodpeckers.

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 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. This recipe will have the greatest nutritional value for your feathered friends.

Look for pine warblers at suet feeders.

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

Spreadable Suet Recipe

“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.

Check out common questions about feeding suet to birds.

Suet Treat Recipe

“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.

Follow these proven tips for attracting birds with suet.

Recipe for Homemade Bird Suet Cakes

“Make this suet cake treat and hang it from trees or bird feeders in mesh bags,” says Mary Hochstetler, Milford, Indiana.

  • 1 cup lard
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup oats

Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

The Best Suet Feeding Tips

Bnbugc Judy Roberts2Courtesy Judy Roberts

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

“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 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 Lori Bowers.

“Freeze your suet to keep it fresh for longer. My woodpeckers even seem to like it better that way,” says Mark Kittrell.

“Slather a layer of peanut butter on your suet. It won’t last long!” says 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 Sue Gronholz.

“I use spreadable suet, which is sometimes called bark butter. I smear it on trees and it attracts tons of birds. I like that it gives visitors a natural perch instead of a hanging wire cage suet feeder,” says Lynette Buckner.

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.