DIY Suet Cake Recipes for Birds

Homemade bird food to feed backyard winter birds.

DIY Suet Cake Recipes for Birds | Homemade bird food to feed backyard winter birds.

With Jack Frost’s arrival, it is time to retreat to the warmth indoors. Yet many outdoor birds that winter in the north could use some extra food to stay warm. Keep these birds happy and well-fed in your garden by making your own DIY suet cakes and enjoy birdwatching right from your home.

Suet, by definition, is hard, raw fat from the loins and kidneys of beef or lamb. Birds need extra fat in the winter season as they actually burn through half of their calories just to stay warm at night, as explained by Shirley Bovshow in this YouTube video. For this reason, birds need an extra protein and fat boost in their diet.

It is easy and economical to make your own suet. Make this a time to involve the family, as well as tend to your environment and to your  feathered friends. You can even make suet molds as gifts for the nature lovers in your neighborhood. You may soon be attracting woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, juncos, and more to your garden feeders, according to Birds & Blooms.

Getting started

For the suet, you can get the raw fat at your local butcher, or use lard. If you want to make a vegetarian version, substitute with vegetable shortening, as recommended by The Spruce. Your homemade suet will be free from the dyes, preservatives, and additives that may be in store-bought suet.

Making suet at home is simple to do. Add a combination of rolled, uncooked oats, cornmeal, peanut butter, dried fruits, unsalted nuts and seeds, as suggested by Birds & Blooms. Avoid using salted nuts and seeds, sugar, meat, and bread. Shirly Bovshow recommends using one third fat to two thirds of the dry ingredients.

Simply mix all of the ingredients, place in silicone molds, and refrigerate. You can also form them into balls and place them in trees with a twig as a perch, or pierce the molds with twine and hang from branches. Another idea is to spread the mixture right onto the tree branches so birds will have a natural perch for their feast.

These two suet cake recipes are guaranteed to make the birds sing!

Peanut butter suet

In this recipe from Birds & Blooms, melt peanut butter and lard together. Stir these into a bowl of oats, birdseed mix, flour, and cornmeal. Cool, then press the mixture into a mold and refrigerate.

You can also freeze your suet so winter birds can have a treat readily available all winter long!

Homemade suet is hanging from a tree branch in a wintery garden.

(Medvedeva Oxana /

Peanut cornmeal suet

This nutritional, fat-filled recipe from Birds & Blooms is grain free, and will have the birds flocking to your garden. Grind unsalted peanuts in your food processor until it has a nut butter texture, then add raisins and process again. Add the cornmeal and process, then place the mixture  into molds.

Winter birds flock around a snowy feeder with homemade suet cakes, a sight much loved by birders.

(Ian Hanson /