Into The Air

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6 Simple Homemade Bird Suet Recipes

Red-bellied_Woodpecker-27527-2The thing I love most about birders is that they’re always willing to help and share their knowledge. So, when I asked what the best suet recipes were on our Facebook page, you responded with a host of great ideas.

For those who don’t know what it is, suet is a cake of fat and other ingredients (like seeds and fruits) that is fed to backyard birds in a suet feeder. It’s most advantageous to birds in the winter because that’s when they need high amounts of fat and nutrients to guide them through the frigid weather. Many birds that might not be attracted to seed feeders, like woodpeckers, love suet.

Even though you can buy pre-made suet, you can just as easily make some if you have a little time. Here are a few fantastic user-submitted recipes. (You can find more at our Facebook page.) Feel free to add your own in the comments section too!

Recipe 1

1 part cornmeal
1 part crunchy peanut butter
1 part lard
Sun flower chips and raisins

Directions:Heat on stove on low until well mixed; then pour onto parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze. Cut to size for feeder.

Recipe submitted by Erron Pujol

Recipe 2

1 part Crunchy peanut butter
1 part Yellow cornmeal
Melted bacon grease

Mix together. I press this mixture into the plastic suet containers from my store-bought suet. And, I rub it on the tree trunk. The birds love it!

—Recipe submitted by Gerre Foster Slaton

Recipe 3

1 cup lard
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups flour
3 cups cornmeal

Melt the lard and peanut butter, then add the other ingredients. I also throw in seed, nuts, or dried fruit as I have it. I press it into 3 bread pans. When it hardens, I cut each cake in half with a spatula and it pops out of the pans. This gives me six suet cakes that fit perfectly in my cages.

Recipe submitted by Carrie Nygard

Recipe 4

1 cup melted lard or beef suet
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups quick oats
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (optional)

Directions:Melt lard and peanut butter together on a low burner. Take off heat, and add remaining ingredients. Spread on a cookie sheet, and allow to cool in the refrigerator until the mixture is just hard enough to cut into pieces. Store in freezer bags and use as needed. The birds love it!

Recipe submitted by Susan L. Fessler

Recipe 5

1 1/2 cups lard,
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (melt)
3 cups of cornmeal
3 cups quick cooking oats
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds
3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Mix thoroughly and put in cupcake papers in cupcake pan. Refrigerate until hard. Take out of cupcake papers and put in plastic bag and store in fridge. My birds eat it all year long and it goes fast.

Recipe submitted by Nancy Stewart Haydock

Recipe 6

My grandmother’s recipe:
1lb of lard and some bacon grease (or any fat of your choice)
2 cups of peanut butter
6 cups of cornmeal,
5 cups of flour

Melt the lard and peanut butter together, then add the cornmeal and flour to the melted peanut butter and lard. Stir the mixture well. Put on a tray feeder, in a suet cage, or in a tin can. If you make the whole recipe and have too much, it freezes very well.

Recipe submitted by Prairie Birder


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  1. Wow, so many recipes, I want to try them all! Thanks for including mine to the mix.

  2. Beverly Boisen

    I love feeding the birds.
    Suet , black oil seeds and a mixture of other seeds purchased from the store.
    I also share my fresh oranges and apples with the birds and the squirrels too.



  4. Debi Roberts

    We will plan to participate in the bird count. We have been feeding the birds
    and providing fresh water for years. We have had a baby barred owl born just yards
    From our front door in a tall red oak. Now we have a Red Shouldered Hawk couple
    nesting in our woods about 75 to yards away. Thanks for all the great info.

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  6. Ruth Smith

    Most all of these recipes call for lard. But is coconut oil a good substitute?

    • Aid 4 Animals

      In looking up coconut oil as a substitute for Lard or animal fat, It has been used, but contains no Protein value.

  7. Michele

    Great info, thanx 4 the recipes going to try Grandmas recipe today !!! I also take all the stale bagels from work rip them up and throw them out for the birds with everyone’s apple cores !!! Looking forward to tomorrow and counting!!!!!

  8. Bobby

    I try one of the 2nd one down it was a hit they where at it in 5 min I put sunflower seeds with it

  9. Can you use cornbread mix?

  10. Beatrix

    I tried # 4 and the suet is out for a week. I saw one chickadee try it and leave it alone. No bird has taken to it so far. Any idea?

    • Sandy Deaton

      That is the one I make and my birds love it. Mostly the woodpeckers and nuthatches. Depending on where you live, if it is a cold weather region some birds may have not migrated yet. Trust me, once they find you it will be gone in no time. I feed year round here in Michigan and I go through 2 suet cakes in a day.

    • Margaret Land

      That recipe #4 was in a bird magazine about 20 years ago. I have made it many many times– birds, squirrels, my dogs all love it.

      Margaret, Kingsville TX

  11. Ned Shaw

    I tried using chicken and pork fat but the birds by me only like beef fat or comercial suet….no chicken or pork?

    • Sandy Deaton

      I have found only beef suet and lard are the only ways to make it and have the birds eat it.

    • Phil Breighner

      I use beef or pork and birds love it

  12. L. Lane

    Do you have to heat it?

    • Daphne

      I do hear up the lard and peanut butter, it makes it easier to add your seed and fruit. If you do hear it up, do it slowly so you do not burn the lard. Enjoy!

  13. marg marshall

    How to keep blackbirds from hogging all the food and suet cakes???

  14. Robin Bennett

    Gonna try this!

  15. Daphne

    Hi Timothy,
    Have you ever made no melt suet for the summer?

  16. Jordan Rivers

    I put some homemade peanut butter suet out about a month ago and the birds are still eating it; I’m just wondering how long it lasts before I need to replace it. I put some dried figs and raisins in mine, if that matters. Thanks for your help.

  17. Sandra

    These are all good recipes.I don’t heat the lard as I find it very therapeutic to mix everything with my hands and then form balls.I add different ingredients each time using up whatever I have ( cooked potato, rice , pasta and things that are past their sell by date in my cupboards like dried fruit ) I always add some nuts and bird seed though.

  18. Gloria Pratt

    I’ve read that shortening has a higher melting point than lard and saw it used in a no-melt suet recipe on the internet somewhere.
    I substituted shortening for lard and added shredded mini-wheat to help as a binder too.
    Happy Birding Everyone, Tight Lines.
    Have a Blessed Day and Peace Out!

  19. Charlie dow

    What about just suet alone? My sister in law gave me big chunks of suet from their cows and said to either just slice it and put it out, or melt it down and pore into molds as is.

  20. I melt the suet in a slow cooker on low…preferably in my garage so I don’t have to smell it then when melted I bring it into my kitchen.

    I add:
    1 cup flour (whole wheat or white flour), or 1/2 cup of cornmeal and 1/2 cup of the flour
    1/2 cup peanut butter…birds love this
    1 cup fat (suet or vegetable shortening)**
    4 cups grains, seeds, legumes and/or dried fruit***
    Choose local, organic ingredients where you can.

    I pour into 2 quart empty milk cartons…allow to set in the refrigerator.
    Remove when set…open the side of the carton and unroll allowing the suet to stay on one side…slice into blocks…wrap in Saran and store in freezer bag in the freezer.
    Hope this helps.

  21. Ja

    Can birds eat wow butter?soy? Peanut free school club

  22. Bonnie

    Are there any recipes without cornmeal?

  23. Lee

    Curious if I could use Pancake/Waffle Batter Mix w/my own birdseed & make the form for the suet cake cages.? : )

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