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How To Make Homemade Suet Cakes To Attract Birds

Homemade Suet Cakes

My son Erik installed some bird feeders for us a few years ago, and every summer we’ve really enjoyed seeing all the feathered visitors that the feeders attract to the yard! We’ve been able to see several species of finches, hummingbirds, and doves that live in the northern Utah area.

One of the bird feeders that we’ve enjoyed watching is his suet cake cage. This little boxy cage contains a “cake” made out of bird-friendly seeds and, of course, suet. Suet, which is rendered fat from sheep or cattle, makes a tasty and easily digestible snack for many species of birds. A suet cake cage in your backyard can attract many different fun-to-watch birds such as woodpeckers, wrens, robins, orioles, jays, and more!

Making your own suet cakes is easy, affordable, and they’re sure to turn your backyard into a bird-watching hot spot this summer!

Related: 7 Simple Ways To Make Your Yard A Haven For Birds

Homemade Suet Cakes

Homemade Suet Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. suet or lard
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups millet
  • 1 cup dried fruit

Homemade Suet Cakes

Directions:

Melt the suet (or lard) and peanut butter together in a pot over low heat.

Homemade Suet Cakes

Pour the melted suet and peanut butter over the sunflower seeds, millet, and dried fruit. Mix well.

Homemade Suet Cakes

Spoon the mixture into a shallow baking dish and place it in your freezer for a few hours.

Homemade Suet Cakes

When the mixture has frozen completely, use a sharp knife to cut it down into individual suet cakes.

Homemade Suet Cakes

Place a cake into a suet cake cage and hang outside.

Homemade Suet Cakes

Tips For Hanging Your Suet Cakes

Suet is similar to coconut oil in that it will start to melt when the temperature gets much over room temperature. It’s important to hang your suet cake in a shady area to keep it from melting immediately in the sun!

But if you live in a very warm area, you may want to eliminate the suet from the recipe entirely. Just sub in more peanut butter and seeds for a more solid, less melty texture for your cakes.

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Hey! After melting the suet and peanut butter, what say we combine the wet and dry ingredients right in there in the baking dish? This will eliminate one step, a dirty bowl, two utensils and one potential transfer mess (that of dripping on the counter while spooning mixture from bowl to baking dish)! Yeah, baby.

  • Too kool. I love using suet cakes, but they are exspensive. I’ll try this tip and see if it is more affordable than pre-made cakes. Thank you.

  • Be careful to make certain the peanut butter you use does not contain xylitol!! It will kill dogs & cats in short order and has been known to kill some species of birds.

  • love this .. made them years ago.
    I would suggest replacing the mullet with another seed.
    mullet is a cheap filler.. birds just kick it out.
    in winter cranberries might be good too.

  • I was going to mention, one bird you don’t want to attract is woodpeckers. They will destroy the wood on houses. We get them in late summer in the Midwest. My folks always tell me if I hear one to throw a rock at it. They usually take off when they hear a door open. That’s one thing I miss about not having a cat. They will run those pesky breeds off.

  • Thanks for the recipe, Jillee! I heard a organic gardening podcast last fall that said if you have trouble with worms in your fruit trees or tent caterpillars to keep a suet feeder in the problem trees all winter. Without the leaves, birds will find the suet feeders easily and will spend time foraging in the tree for other food. I can vouch that has worked for me! So far, not tent caterpillars in my apple tree so far, so good!

  • I was given several pounds of suet, and have been making cakes. There are “no melt” recipes you can find online. They use cornmeal. The birds here loved it. Plus if you read the ingredient list in some of the ones you buy, they have artificial flavors! Why? The birds don’t want or need artificial cherry flavoring. It has no nutritional value to them.

  • I would substitute sunflower seeds for the millet as birds do not eat millet. That’s the stuff they use for filler when the sell bird seed. If you ever watch them, the flick the millet out of the feeders!
    Also, lard is a natural product unlike crisco shortening so USE LARD! No sense trying to poison those precious birds!

    • Some prefer millet. It may be that you just don’t have those birds. “Millet is high in starch, protein, fiber and fat, and is a good food source for small birds. It is particularly favored by finches, juncos, buntings, sparrows and towhees, though many birds will sample millet, especially when it is blended with other types of seed.” -from https://www.thespruce.com/types-of-birdseed-4122052

  • I do not want bird poop on my drive, car or yard…..feeding birds mean the seeds etc fall to the ground, and that attracts ants, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes…birds eat insects, but I will skip that for a bird-free yard

  • Great idea. My Mom recently found a hummingbird feeder at one of our areas garage sales. Those hummingbirds always scare me. It’s just their pointed beaks that give me the creeps. Any other bird would be fine.

  • Dear Jillee,

    I love your posts and of course, receive one every day. But, how come you are no longer making them “print” friendly?

    Thank you,

    Doruss

  • Please re-visit this post in the fall and winter, when birds may be starving and need extra fat for migrations or bad weather.
    Peanut butter is not essential if you are doing a group project with children, as peanut butter is a common child allergen. I did a group project with the Audubon Naturalist Society education department and used just Crisco. Crisco won’t harden, the way lard does, so use lard for a cake, Crisco works well for pine cone and cardboard roll feeders.

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