Vegetarian “Suet” Cakes For Birds

I’ve wanted to share this for a while, but Christmas happened and there was way too much good stuff to share through out December, so the birdies were put on hold… Actually, this gave me time to test the formula over and over again. It’s now the most tested recipe on the blog (that’s kind of funny 😀 ), but now we know exactly what our feathered neighbours like.

Peanut Butter Wild Bird Feed - A vegetarian, suet style bird cake for your wild feathered friends.

I tried combinations of peanut butter and shortening, peanut butter and coconut oil, and even peanut butter and animal fat (supplied by my Dad, who was certain they would like it best)… The verdict, an incredibly strong preference for the shortening mix. This was confirmed time and time again when placed side by side with any other combination… Everyday, we put out 2 cakes, which will vanish within 4 hours. And incase you’re curious, now that our “guests” know that there’s something better to be had, those store bought suet/seed cakes just sit there idle in our yard (even when there is no other food being served up).

Peanut Butter Wild Bird Feed - A vegetarian, suet style bird cake for your wild feathered friends.

We use those hanging basket style feeders, so I use left over containers from the store bought cakes (that my Mom used to buy) to mould my feed into perfectly sized blocks. If you don’t have any of those containers, you can use silicone muffin cups (as shown in one of the pictures above), or you can simply hand shape balls to hang.

Peanut Butter Wild Bird Feed - A vegetarian, suet style bird cake for your wild feathered friends.

Use whatever seed mix is appropriate for your neighbourhood birds. Though to be honest, they don’t seem to care. They come in droves regardless of the mix of seed I use (I’ve been using up different bags left over from last summer). A (human) neighbour was amazed at how many birds we get. Big ones, little ones, from crows to chickadees to woodpeckers, they all love it! Even a certain, cheeky, squirrel now drops by daily 🙂

Earlier in the week, I threw a teaser picture up on Instagram and asked if anyone could figure out what today’s post was going to be about. If you saw it, did you guess bird feed?


Peanut Butter Cakes for Wild Birds

  • Servings: 4 standard sized cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Peanut Butter Wild Bird Feed - A vegetarian, suet style bird cake for your wild feathered friends.

A vegetarian, suet style bird cake for your wild feathered friends.

Author: Starr Wong @ The Misfit Baker


  • 1 1/2 cup Shortening
  • 3/4 cup Peanut Butter
  • 3 1/2 cup Wild Bird Seed
  • 1 cup Quick Oats
  • 1/2 cup Corn Meal/Polenta



Stir together your bird seed, oats, and corn meal. Set aside.

Melt the shortening and peanut butter together and stir until completely combined (you want the mixture to be a smooth liquid). Pour into the seed mixture and stir together until the seed mixture is thoroughly coated and no dry spots remain.

Spoon the mixture into moulds of your choice, spreading and smoothing to edges, and freeze until set (about an hour)… Alternatively, allow to cool in the refrigerator until the mixture can be easily moulded by hand. Form balls (or whatever shape you think your feathered friends would like), use a skewer to make a hole to hang from string, and freeze until set.

Store in the freezer until ready to use.





36 thoughts on “Vegetarian “Suet” Cakes For Birds

  1. Jasmine S.

    This is such a sweet idea! My mother in law loves bird feeders and watching all the birds that visit her yard. I will have to make this for her as a gift!

  2. Wing It Vegan

    Using silicone molds and string to hang them up is brilliant, plus they are so cute! We don’t have any cheeky squirrels who eat our suet (we only get two squirrel visitors who are both pretty shy) but the birds sure do love the stuff.

    1. Starr

      Your birds are lucky, I think our squirrelly neighbour is running off with more than his fair share… Yesterday I passed through the yard and he just stood there defiantly, collecting his keep… Ok, he can probably realizes that I have no desire to hurt him. However, he tries to stand his ground against some of the neighbours cats too! Crazy little guy!

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    1. Starr

      Have you noticed how much more the birds like homemade cakes (compared to the store bought)? Our neighbourhood birds actually wait in the trees or me to load the feeders. And The silicone moulds are a great tool! They’re super easy to unmould and (if you use shapes) add a decorative touch to your yard/garden/balcony.

  4. Lisa K. Wilson

    I can’t wait to try these! My bird friends are going to love them. Should I use natural peanut butter? Or does it matter?

    1. Starr @ The Misfit Baker

      Hi Lisa! You’re going to become so popular with your feathered neighbours! 🙂 … I’ve used both kinds of peanut butter and it didn’t seem to make much of a difference (if any). One thing to keep in mind is that these are much more sensitive to warm weather than those store bought ones, which are made up of suet, and may melt. If you want to try them during the warmer months, maybe make your cakes on the smaller size and put them out first thing in the morning (before it gets too hot). Also, as we progress into summer months they may even loose interest in this kind of higher fat food.

      1. vegancat

        The National Audubon Society posted this recipe on their website with a note to use shortening without palm oil. I was going to use Spectrum Organic shortening but it has palm oil and every brand I’ve researched has it as well. What brand of shortening do you recommend? Thanks.

      2. Starr @ The Misfit Baker

        I don’t know of any brand that does not use it, so I don’t know why they would say that.

        To keep the feed palm oil free, you can use coconut oil in the place of shortening. I have done this, but to be honest, the birds didn’t seem to like the resulting feed as much. The problem may have been that the feed was too hard for them. A possible solution to this (though I haven’t tried it) might be to replace the shortening with a mix of 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of coconut oil plus 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (such as grapeseed, olive, or canola). Theoretically, this would result in a softer suet, similar to a shortening based one.

        I hope this helps, and if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

  5. Lisa K. Wilson

    Thank you, I made them this morning. They are super easy to make. I used regular peanut butter, only because the natural was too runny. I didn’t think it would hold up well. I just know my little feathered friends will love them.

  6. Darci

    A clever way to get those ”store bought” suet cakes to get eaten is melt one down and incorporate it into your homemade cakes…worked like a charm for me. 🙂

  7. Kathy miller

    I’m going to use those green suet feeders, give the birds something to hang onto. Don’t have any.wild bird seed, read somewhere it’s not particularly healthy, too much filler, so i’ll just use black oil sunflower seeds, which I put in feedees, and finely chopped apples. Thank you for being here and thank you for the recipe.

    1. Starr @ The Misfit Baker

      Thank you for stopping in and taking the time to leave a comment… I always use the hanging basket feeders too, but wanted to give options for people who wanted to try the recipe but may not have a feeder. Plus I thought they looked prettier in the pictures this way… I hope your feathered neighbours enjoy the food 🙂

  8. Lisa Wilson

    I made these for my little feathered friends but I’m not sure if they got to taste them. The squirrels however loved them . I made them in the cute little heart shaped but put them in the suet feeders thinking the birds would get some but those clever little squirrels kept cleaning them out faster than I could fill them. I started out feeding the birds now I’m enjoying feeding the birds and the squirrels. I even had a turkey show up one day. I also found that deer like the the low hanging bird feeders.

    1. Starr @ The Misfit Baker

      LOL… As brazen as our (not so little anymore) squirrel is, the bigger birds that come have kept him at bay. I hang one block out a day, the big guys call dibs, and eat off the block, while the little birds peck at the droppings on the ground. In the mean time, the squirrel raids the feeder with the loose seed. There’s plenty for everyone 🙂 … A turkey and a deer?! That is so awesome 😀

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  10. De

    Hello Starr, this is my first time visiting your blog, it is lovely. I am so excited to find someone was finally able to crack the vegan suet code successfully! I will definitely have to try this, they look adorable and quite simple. Hope to attract a larger variety of birds! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Starr @ The Misfit Baker

      Welcome, and thank you for dropping by! These have been super popular with my birdie (and squirrel) neighbours, and have heard success stories from others who have tried it. One lady told me that it even attracted deer and a turkey to her property! I hope you experience similarly good results. Let me know. 😃

  11. Anne Poole

    Would lard work as well as shortening or do you think the lard would make the cakes too hard? Thanks, Anne

    1. Starr @ The Misfit Baker Post author

      I have never bought or handled pure lard in my life, so I really can’t say how it would work. However, one of the mixes I did test was a shortening/lard blend (a restaurant gave it to me because they insisted the birds would like it better). Structurally it was fine, but my observation was that the birds preferred the blocks made with just shortening… Sorry I can’t be of more help.

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    1. Starr @ The Misfit Baker Post author

      Hi Jaimie!… You can melt them together in a saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave in a safe dish (either way works fine). As they liquify, stir them together until they’re combined.

      1. Chip

        My grandkids love dinosaurs! I’m thinking of trying this with the kids…we have plenty of ‘Wow Butter’…ok to use?

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