Easy Homemade Bird Suet Recipe

Our homemade bird suet recipe uses only five ingredients and freezes well. Make it with the children for a fun lesson on caring for all God’s creatures.

A bird feeder with a bird suet cake in it in an outdoor setting

I’m sharing my Easy Homemade Bird Suet Recipe just in time to coincide with the Great Backyard Bird Count. If you are anything like me, I mostly like to feed the birds for the sole pleasure of watching them in my yard. Now we have an opportunity to be a part of a citizen-science project! How cool is that! You don’t even need to travel anywhere, just walk outside of your own home. 

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A bird suet cake in a bird feeder outside

I had no idea there was such a thing as the Great Backyard Bird Count until I just happened to come across it recently while doing research on a completely different topic. It’s such a marvelous idea, I had to share.

Our youngest daughter is a bird watcher. We surprised her with a subscription to Birds & Bloom magazine (affiliate) for Christmas. Don’t tell but I got that subscription amazingly cheap on Amazon.

Blue jay sitting on suet in a bird feeder

What Is Suet?

Suet is defined as “the hard fatty tissue about the loins and kidneys of beef, sheep, etc., used in cooking or processed to yield tallow.” Tallow is fatty tissue of animals.

So, if you now think that birds enjoy eating fatty food, you would be correct. As with any of God’s creatures; birds come in many breeds and each breed prefers a different diet. What does this mean? Well, not all birds would care for suet but certain birds do and those are the one’s we hope to attract by providing them with fresh homemade suet cakes in our yards.

5 Ingredients For Making Bird Suet Cakes

Only five simple ingredients are all you need to keep your birds happy this winter. You probably have most of these in your kitchen now.

Ingredients for making homemade bird suet
Ingredients for making homemade bird suet cakes


Let’s Talk About the Peanut Butter Found In Bird Suet Recipes

Is peanut butter safe for birds?

In short reply, yes. Peanut butter is a good source of protein for birds. (sourceTry to only use the crunchy kind with lots of nuts and if possible you may even prefer organic. Don’t use low fat. The birds want and need that fat for their nutrition. 

a tree Sparrow eating suet
Tree Sparrow eating suet

What Types of Birds Eat Suet 

Insect eating birds such as; woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, jays, starlings and titmice enjoy chowing down on suet. Some Wrens, creepers, kinglets, cardinals and some warblers have been known to enjoy a nice Suet meal occasionally as well. 

In other words, a large variety of types of birds would love to chow down on some suet in your yard.

a chickadee perched on a suet feeder

When To Make Suet for Birds

Because Bird Suet is made by melting fat and adding some goodies to it and then solidifying again, it will melt in heat. Therefore, suet for birds should only be a winter food. Do you suppose the birds look forward to suet season the way we look forward to soup and casserole season?

Birds feeding on suet balls

How To Make Bird Suet

This recipe for bird food comes together quick and easy. Even the kids can make bird suet with your assistance.

Step 1

Begin by melting the shortening and peanut butter together in a large pot. Once the shortening and peanut butter are melted together you can remove the pot from the heat before adding remaining ingredients. The melted shortening and peanut butter will be soupy. (see video)

Step 2

Stir in the oatmeal and then the bird seed followed by the cornmeal.

steps in the process of making bird suet


If you use a large pot, you can mix all of the ingredients without needing another container, for easier clean up. I had to transfer the mixture to a larger container so I know next time I’ll use a large saucepan or maybe even a Dutch oven to hold it all.

All of the ingredients stir together quite easily. You can let the children help make this bird suet from beginning to end with your supervision. It’s a good lesson for them to learn about caring for all God’s creatures.

Step 3

Spray your container with non-stick spray prior to adding the finished mixture. Then fill your container and pack it down good and tight for a solid suet cake.

If you plan to hang your suet, see our instructions for adding rope.

Step 4

Add your filled containers of suet to the freezer. I like to freeze my suet cakes prior to use. You can take a fresh suet cake out to your bird feeder. The birds will sing for you to show their appreciation.

Containers To Use for Making Suet for Birds

homemade bird suet pressed into plastic containers

Sandwich size freezer containers are perfect for making bird suet. They fit well into the suet holder on most bird feeders. You can find these at Dollar Tree right here.  (affiliate link) Buy online, pick up in store or have delivered when you order online at Dollar Tree.

You can use any container you have on hand. As you see I repurposed a small plastic food container as well.

Thaw the Suet Before Removing From Container

You may recognize the old sandwich keepers from Tupperware. They are the perfect size to form the suet bricks for our bird feeder. Unfortunately I broke the red one when I tried to force the suet out after freezing them. Don’t be impatient like me, allow it to thaw a bit before trying to remove the suet.  No need to completely thaw.

How To Make A Suet Cake Using Rope

If you don’t own a bird feeder with the suet slot, you can add rope into your bird suet to hang from a tree. 

To make the rope suet you will need three things:

  1. Small rope
  2. Deep Plastic container
  3. Homemade Suet

Prepare you plastic container by placing a piece of rope inside all the way to the bottom. 

Now pour the prepared suet into the container taking care to position the rope in the center. An extra set of hands would be helpful so one can pour the suet while the other holds the rope. The children can help and learn.

Leave a long enough piece of rope hanging out so you can tie the bird suet onto a tree branch for the birds.

Place the container in the freezer until it hardens completely, preferably overnight.

It’s ready to feed the birds!

Trick The Squirrels Away From The Bird Feeder

I used the rope suet to feed the squirrels. We needed to trick them away from the bird feeder long enough to participate in the Great American Backyard Bird Count! Hopefully while the squirrels are eating their own suet, the birds will get to eat also.

Homemade Suet in bird feeder.intelligentdomestications.com

Print this quick and easy recipe with only five ingredients. for making bird suet cakes to fit into you bird feeder. Be sure to make bird suet in the winter to attract birds to your yard. See the video.

How To Make Homemade Bird Suet

Homemade Bird Suet

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

A simple 5 ingredient recipe for making homemade bird suet. Can be frozen


  • 1 Cup shortening (such as Crisco)
  • 1 Cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 Cups oatmeal
  • 1 Cup cornmeal
  • 2 Cups birdseed


  1. Melt the shortening and peanut butter together in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the oatmeal.
  4. Stir in the birdseed and cornmeal.
  5. Pack down tight into your containers for shaping the 'bricks' of suet.
  6. Wrap in aluminum foil.
  7. Place containers into the freezer overnight.
  8. Carefully remove the solid suet from the containers and feed the birds.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I made my own suet cakes yesterday, used beef suet rendered down (which is super easy, but takes more time). You get a good product, and a natural fat for the birds.

  2. I used your recipe as an inspiration : I didn’t have enough peanut butter left! So I replaced both the Crisco and peanut butter quantities with some leftover bacon grease I had. The birds love it!
    I used a large casserole dish as a mold, and put parchment paper in the bottom before pouring. Left it to freeze for an afternoon and then cut squares with a knife. Worked great! The parchment paper is now between the squares for easy separation when a new portion is needed.

  3. If you put plastic wrap in your container before the suet mixture you can just lift it out while it’s frozen!

  4. Silly question, but since it has Crisco, I’m thinking it can’t be used in warmer weather, right? I think it’s still cool enough to keep the Crisco solid, but the weather here in SoCal is so unpredictable in the winter.

    1. I’ll have to remember the beef fat tip for next time. We don’t really cook much beef often but I’ll remember it when I do. Our birds love it when I cook for them too.

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