Special Gift Offer

How to Make Your Own Suet Cakes

By: Garden Gate staff
Learn how to make your own suet cakes and even how to customize the recipe in order to attract different types of birds!

Make your own suet to feed the birds

Suet cakes are easy to make and provide insect-eating birds something to eat in winter when they can't eat the berries and seeds in your garden. Of course you can buy suet cakes prepackaged at almost any grocery or hardware store. But it’s fun and satisfying to make your birds some homemade treats. And did you know that different birds enjoy different ingredients? Customize your recipe to feed your favorites! We’ll start by showing you the basic process, then scroll down for three different recipes below.

What is suet?

Suet is rendered beef fat and is the ingredient that holds all suet cakes together. You can find it at the meat counter of your local grocery store. (If you can’t find it, lard is a good substitute.)

You Might Also Like:
DIY Terra-Cotta Bird Feeder
Bird Feeder Wreath Project
How to Make Birdseed Ornaments
How to Attract More Birds to Your Garden

How to make a basic suet cake

Making a basic suet cake is easy and a great way to feed your bird friends. Look below for materials and tools you will need as well as a simple step-by-step process!

Materials (makes one 4x4x2 in. suet cake):

  • 1 lb. suet or lard
  • 1 cup oatmeal or cornmeal
  • 1 cup peanut butter


  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Saucepan or double boiler
  • Wooden spoon or spatula spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Milk carton, plastic food storage container or an ice cube tray to use as a form for the suet cake

Step 1: Combine suet ingredients

Melt suet in a double boiler over low heat until it’s clear. Using a double boiler will prevent smoking or scorching. Then stir in additional ingredients until well combined. Make sure your ingredients are chopped into small pieces — it’s much easier for the birds to enjoy.

Step 2: Add suet to a form

Scoop the mixture into a form — the bottom of a wax lined milk carton, a plastic food storage container or an ice cube tray all work well. If you’re concerned that the mixture will stick to the container, line the container with some wax paper first. And don’t forget that the mixture will be hot! Use caution to avoid any burns.

Step 3: Let the suet cake cool

Let the cake cool in the refrigerator for a few hours before you put it outside or store it in the freezer until you’re ready to put it outside.

Suet cake recipes for specific birds

Want to attract a certain type of bird to your garden? Check out the three easy recipes in the slideshow below that you can make and the type of bird it will attract.

Previous Next
Published: April 30, 2012
Updated: Oct. 22, 2020

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.


Related Tags

backyard bird friendly budget friendly diy issue 174 november december 2023 patios decks project web extra

Also in This Newsletter

Garden Gate

Last Week’s Newsletter

November 4, 2021

Colorful Fall Garden Bed

This easy-care garden plan is full of colorful fall foliage and flowers that give a stellar performance at the end of the growing season.

Perennial Seeds to Plant in Fall

Did you know some perennial seeds are best planted in fall? The alternating freeze and thaw of winter actually helps break down the seed coat of the perennials you'll find listed here.

Designing with Japanese Maples

Japanese maples are so varied in size, habit and leaf color, they can go almost anywhere in the garden! Try a few of these ideas for designing with Japanese maples.