The Official Blog of Backyard Chirper

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.

    • Mari M

      I was so excited to try this and did today I added a little bit from each recipe and kind of made my own little thing I poured it out into sheet pans with wax paper and then after it froze almost all the way I cut it into the appropriate size squares for the feeder but I did add that wasn’t on any of the recipes was I found an oatmeal single serving Thang and it was perfect because it had oatmeal in it but it also had dried blueberries raspberries cranberries and then I also added some raisins and some shelled sunflower seeds because the bird seed that I added already had the shelled ones in it it came out really good and the birds seem to love it although by the time it froze it was late in the day and only had a few go after it can’t wait till the morning to see then go crazy poor little things makes me feel good to know you’ll have full bellies

  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.



    • Dale Ritter

      Third away old bacon fat the end of bread loaves anything stale bread wise old nuts berries peanut butter and we clean our egg cells and grind them and put it in the mix as well I’m just not sure how much is too much but basically we use leftovers except for the peanut butter

  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.

      • Sofia

        I’m sorry but neither do lard or beef suet contain protein. What the birds need most is calories . I have used both lard and vegetable shortening for many years . Always mix with peanut butter-the natural sort , ground peanuts only usually from the bulk section where the grind-it-fresh machines are . Then add whatever non spoiled scraps with whatever seeds and grains I have on hand.So I think coconut oil would be fine , just on the expensive side . Lard and shortening are the most affordable choices.

  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???

    • Cindy Allaer

      I got an upsidedown suet feeder. Bluejays Blackbirds the bully birds do not like to eat upsidedown. Really works.

      • Rick

        I used an upside down suet feeder and the grackles would just fly up and hit it hard with their beaks, then big chunks would fly out and they would eat them. I finally got a feeder that is surrounded by a cage with holes just big enough for smaller birds. It took them awhile to use it, but they did.

  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.? : )

  24. Mariann

    I have a can with a few stones in it and shake it when the blackbirds come by too often. haha However, they will come back and I let them
    eat. All birds need a treat once in a while. 🙂

  25. Ron Katz

    I started to calculate the cost. I don’t eat bacon so that leaves store bought lard. At Wally here in TN the best deal is 40oz. for $5.68. I stopped at this point. If I can buy a 10 pack of 11 oz cakes at Lowes (even less at Wally) for around $11+ It just doesn’t seem worth the effort. It’s late June and here in Crossville the birds are going through ~1 cake per day. That consumption would equate to a lot of cookin’. Besides the satisfaction of making it yourself ,I do not see much of a savings. To each their own I guess.

    • Judy B.

      Go to your meat department and ask for any beef fat…… it’s free. Render the fat into melted lard and go from there. Much cheaper and you are utilizing the beef fat instead of them discarding it.

      • Beef fat is not free in my town. I called every grocery store and finally found a local market that sells it to deer hunters to mix with ground deer meat. It’s $1.99 lb. I’ve purchased 5 lbs twice that I cooked overnight in my crock pot to make homemade suet cakes. Three pounds of Sunflower chips are $7 so it’s not worth the money, mess or time when Woodpecker Suet Cakes are $1.49 each but I still enjoy making suet on occasion (: My bird visitors LOVE Honey Nut Cheerio “wreaths” covered with peanut butter & dipped in seeds and even toasted bread covered in peanut butter & seeds. I also have Orioles & Mockingbirds that love natural grape jam. I am about to try a seed cake recipe with seed & gelatin.

    • Rick

      I don’t do it for the savings, as you said, you can but it cheaper. I just like to watch the birds tear into it, it disappears in no time. It is much much more popular than the store bought stuff.

  26. Mrs. Kirk

    Hi and thanks for all these recipes.
    I will try them ALL and come back with my outcomes.
    I have several seed feeders jn my yard that all birds love (squirrels too). I also have a medium sized suet cage that I initially filled with store-bought suets, peanut butter based cakes and suet based. Of course many types of backyard birds visit to eat…quickly!
    I also have a birdbath that I keep close by my feeding stations that I clean and fill with fresh, cool water. I am adding nesting homes next…..

  27. Cynthia

    Please can I add, bacon fat has nitrates not good for humans worse for birds! Sugar is not needed, neither is salt. Salted peanut butter isn’t part of their normal diet. Feed the birds? Absolutely! But be wise to their needs and health.
    Equal parts of lard and unsalted crunchy or smooth peanut butter-1 cup of each
    Add a total of 4 cups of goodies!
    Chipped sunflowers, mixed bird seed, cornmeal,left over baking nuts that may have gone stale, raisins currents.
    Healthy for them and easy to make! I don’t melt the two fats, soften and use a mixer. Melting works, takes a while to set up.
    Press or pour into lined pans chill and cut to shape and size.

  28. Ela

    I saw something like this for sale at the bird food store last christmas and it was molded to look like an owl and had the seeds stuck onto the outside in a pattern and was very beautiful. I just did a deep cleaning and I was looking for a home for 8 pints of lard, 6 jars of peanut butter, a bag of sunseeds, raisins and dry cranberries, and a pile of cornmeal that I’ve found I am allergic to. What better solution that to feed the birds! My question now is what to use to stick the decorative seeds onto the outside of the feeder.

  29. Lucia Butler

    My father drilled holes, about 1.5 inches in diameter and about the same in depth, in a thick 18 inch branch, screwed a metal ring into the top, filled the holes with the lard, peanut butter, etc. mixture and then hung them up. The birds loved it.

  30. Duane Groscost

    I read on-line that bacon grease was not acceptable in place of lard or suet because of chemicals in bacon?? True? False?

  31. Hi!! Does anyone ever add in shredded vegetables in addition to the fruits? Maybe some shredded carrot?

    • Sam

      I had the same question! I used to have 2 parrots, and I made them zucchini bread and also little frozen blocks of veggies. But I guess it’s not a thing for wild birds around here?

  32. I am looking for something to feed the robin’s. Mine showed up about 2 months early, and they won’t touch my suet blocks, or any of the different mixtures of Food I have put out for the other birds. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all!!

  33. cheryl

    i used lard with equal parts coconut oil, add as much peanut butter then add several cups of quick cook oats and a few cups of crushed peanuts, walnuts and almonds. the birds and squirrels eat 8 suet cakes a day. I make 24-30 suet cakes per batch. I have even used oat flour in this recipe and they love it. its really not a specific, recipe u just eye ball it. if i want berries i will use dried cherries, cranberries and raisins.

  34. What is the value of flour in any of these recipes?

    • Sofia

      Hi Ron , you’re right about cost. Only most of the cakes they sell are almost all packed with cracked corn and often with other cheap seeds like milo which nearly no birds will eat . Of course bird tastes and consumption vary greatly from place to place , I have lived in places where even the cheapest suet blocks -which might have a tablespoon of actual suet per block- will be eaten and the corn which falls to the ground will be eaten too , but I’ve lived in other places where store bought affordable blocks will not be touched and will be be left to fall to a mess on the ground , or just turn black in their cage.

      Main thing is , these homemade mixes with lard & peanut butter are very popular with the birds . They please us so we like to please them as best we can .

      Claire, the flour holds the mix together so it can be molded without falling apart or crumbling once it’s out in the cold .

      Lacey, I don’t know of any birds except hens who will eat veggies. I’ve seen birds eat dandelion leaves tree leaves and buds but they’ll find the greenery they want in the wild.

      Lucia, the log feeder u describe is probably the absolute top favorite method of all birds who will eat suet to have it served up for them . Sounds like u had a compassionate and capable dad.

      Lee, I’d be wary of a pancake mix cuz of the baking powder or soda in it I don’t know what effect it would have on them.I’d lose sleep thinking I might have given some birdie cramps,or dehydration or a headache so I’d stick with flour.its possible they’d have no ill effects but since I’m not sûre of that …

      Charlie Dow , lucky you &lucky your bird friends if you have a source of pure whole fresh suet.In the wild the little birds will join the ravens when an elk or deer has died & been opened by someone’s claws n teeth, snagging bits of suet from around the inner organs.. they love the simple original source , the only caution is watch out for areas of muscle-meat- as it will rot and that’s a bad thing .

  35. George H Jones

    I use no. 4 and it’s gone in a day. Cardinals, chickadees, woodpeckers and other species wolf it down. Maybe your birds haven’t discovered it yet?

  36. Sam

    I made recipe #1 and it was eaten, but not wildly popular. Then I did recipe #4. EXTREMELY popular! I added in hulled sunflower seeds, blueberries, a little mixed birdseed and almonds.
    I made a second batch today and included some Craisins and crushed cereal. We will see if it’s as popular!
    Thank you for the recipes!

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