A happy customer!

Over the years, I’ve purchased various types of suet for my backyard birds. While they would eventually eat whatever I put out for them, there was one flavor they just couldn’t seem to resist: peanut butter.

I used to buy little cakes of suet at the store. There’s nothing wrong with that, as they’re very inexpensive and you can just open the package, pop the suet cake in the feeder, and be done with it. But I’ve discovered that I really like making the suet myself. It’s just a few steps to throw the ingredients together, it’s fun, and I feel like I’m doing something good for a handful of beautiful creatures who depend on me for their winter food.

Also, even though store-bought suet is fairly cheap to buy, you will still be saving money if you make it yourself.

The recipe I use calls for shortening, but you can also use real suet (beef fat) that you can obtain from your local butcher or grocery store meat counter.

Peanut Butter Suet

1 cup shortening
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups cornmeal (not cornbread mix)
1 cup oats (not instant)
1-2 handfuls of birdseed (this is a great way to use up seed the birds aren’t too crazy about)
1 handful of raisins, chopped (optional)

1. Ready your containers. You can pour your suet into any container that you choose. A 9×13″ pan will work, but keep in mind you’ll have to cut the suet into blocks. Small disposable containers that are the same size as your suet feeder are the most convenient (and even though they’re disposable, can be washed and reused). You’ll need between four and six shallow disposable containers. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of your containers and set aside. Tupperware containers work great, too.

*Alternatively, the suet can also be shaped into balls or patties and placed on a platform feeder.

2. Heat shortening and peanut butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When melted, remove your pan from the heat and gradually add in both flours, whisking as you go to keep lumps from forming. Add in cornmeal, oats, birdseed, and raisins (if using). I like to give the raisins a quick chop before adding, but you can just toss them in as they are if you want to skip that step. I use a heavy-duty wooden spoon for stirring.

3. Pour into your containers, making sure the suet is no more than 1″ to 1-1/2″ inches deep so it will fit easily into your suet feeder. After pouring it into the containers, I like to put the suet into the freezer for a quick set. (This is usually because I wait until the previous batch of suet is gone and I need to get some put outside very quickly!) Otherwise, just put in the refrigerator for the day, or even on your countertop, until set.

The finished product:

There’s nothing really set in stone about this recipe except that you don’t want it to be so dry that it crumbles or so moist that it doesn’t set. Don’t try to judge how well it’s going to set by how it looks just after you’ve mixed it. (I made that mistake. Once.) This recipe sets perfectly for me, and I’m sure it will for you, too (let me know if you have a problem with it or have any questions).

You’ll find the birds aren’t picky about the ingredients: If you don’t have all-purpose flour, you can use all whole wheat, and vice versa. If you don’t have oats, add a little more cornmeal. If you don’t have crunchy peanut butter, use creamy, but be sure not to skip the birdseed if you do. Have some cracked corn on hand? Toss it in, too — they’ll love it all the more.

Note: If you do make the mistake of using too much flour and the suet crumbles after setting, don’t throw it out. Instead, place the crumbles on a platform feeder and let the birds eat it that way. They’ll still love it! If you don’t have a platform feeder, place it in a pie tin or other flat container and set it on the ground near a feeder. Or just toss the crumbles on the ground — they’ll still find it. I do this, anyway, even with suet that did turn out right. Birds love to gobble up the pieces. Steller’s Jays, for example, will grab a piece and take off like they’ve secretly captured pirate’s booty.

Have fun and let me know how it turns out!


Learn all about the birds in your own backyard! Birds of the Pacific Northwest: How to Identify 25 of the Most Popular Backyard Birds is now available for you to read (and take with you!) on your Kindle, Kindle app, or on your PC or Mac.



4 Responses to “Want to Attract More Birds? Try This Homemade Peanut Butter Suet Recipe”

  • Wendy says:

    I was just curious as to the type of bird this was pictured at the suet feeder? We have one of these at our new home and I am trying to identify it.

    Thank you and I look forward to making this tasty treat!

  • Kathy Geiger says:

    I love this and plan on making when the weather gets cooler and the bear goes away! Thanks so much

  • Thanks for sharing your great recipe!

    Can you please give me an indication of how much the recipe yields? Also are there any specific seeds, nuts or berries that our beautiful array of Pacific Northwest Birds prefer? Or to avoid?
    Thank you!

    I ordered suet cages for feeding and for putting out fabric and yarn scraps (I knit, quilt, sew, embroider, etc.) for the birds to use in nest building. I am learning what they like by observing what is left behind. I am hoping that the suet cage will make a better delivery method than a box in a tree has! Although I notice daily what has been taken and picked through!

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