How To Make Homemade Hummingbird Food

by Amy

IMG_6009 Do you ever get tired of buying that expensive, red hummingbird food at the store? I always thought it looked a little bit weird.  I’m sure it’s probably fine, but I prefer to feed my feathered friends something a little less “processed”.

Behold, homemade hummingbird food.  All you need is granulated sugar and water.  It’s so easy!!!

The Recipe: 3:1 Ratio of water to sugar
6 Cups Water
2 Cups Sugar (Generic is fine for this)

Place water in large pot and bring to a boil.  Add sugar and stir until dissolved.  Return to a boil and continue boiling, uncovered for 6 minutes.  You may have to reduce the heat slightly, so the mixture doesn’t boil over.  When finished boiling, allow to cool to room temperature.  Fill feeders and watch those little feathers fly!

This mixture makes enough to fill three average-sized feeders half to two-thirds full.  I usually refill all my feeders once a week.  Keep any extra you might have in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


By bringing the sugar and water to a boil, you are creating a sugar syrup that they will love.  I have hummingbirds come back every year and I know it’s because of my homemade hummingbird food!


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim K May 15, 2012 at 5:10 pm

This is a great idea! I have wondered why the stuff at the store is red when nectar obviously isn’t. Thanks for sharing your recipe!


Amy May 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I totally agree. The credit goes to my mother. She shared the recipe with me. 🙂


Madison B. May 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

The store type of nectar is red because they put unnatural dyes in there. Homemade hummingbird food is better for the hummingbirds because of the high fructose cornsyrup. 🙁 it’s not necessaryily harmful to them, but it’s also not good for them.


Joyce May 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

Trying this recipe right now! I have been giving mine the store bought but they don’t seem to want it. They go to the flowers right around it but buzz right over the red colored filled store bought nectar.


Amy May 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Hope they love it! Mine are always ready and waiting for a fresh batch…and I just made some last night! 🙂
I actually have three feeders out, mainly because some of the males seem pretty bent on protecting their “territory”. 🙂 This gives the girls a chance to get a nice drink too.


Allie June 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Yes I got this exact recipe fr sweet lady in WV have used it for years they call me the “hummingbird whisperer”


Janalee Buskirk June 2, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I also add orange extract to my sugar water and the humming birds love it and so do the Orioles.


Robin Givens July 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Hi Janalee,
I’m Amy’s sister, Robin. She and my mom BOTH have BEAUTIFUL butterfly beds and TONS of hummingbirds! Mom also has some Orioles and in case you didn’t know, they also LOVE GRAPE JELLY! Mom goes through a few jars every summer!
The Envious Gardner,


Jerry Sims July 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Amazing. In less than one day the hummingbirds don’t even check the real flowers. They go straight to the homemade feeder. Thanks


Amy July 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I know! They love that stuff. 🙂 Mine still check the flowers when the males are being less than hospitable. 😉 Glad they like it!


william August 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm

wow thanks i never see hummingbirds but now i do (:


Selena May 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Tried this for the first time today and we had hummers within 5 minutes of hanging feeder!


Amy May 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Perfect timing! Caution…they will probably return every year now! 🙂 Have fun watching them zoom around!


jANICE July 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm



Kimberly Bankes July 25, 2013 at 5:12 am

My mother inlaw also gave me this idea. The lil ones love this sugar water so much more than the store bought. My ratio is 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water. I also only boil for 2 mins. Thats to make sure ALL sugar is melted for them. They absolutely love it!


Tina Miller August 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Been doing this since my first marriage. My mother in law had humming birds like crazy come into her yard every year. While living on the farm, I watched and paid close attention to alot of things that she done. Just wished that I wrote the recipes down for some of her items / meals. Now that I do it for my hummers, I get to see them constantly fight over the feeders. I have about 20 feeders going and they are something else,chasing each other. Another thing that you might want to do is plant you some sunflowers, My granddaughter wanted to plant some this year and I decided to plant by my kitchen window which is huge. Which is 9ft wide and 6ft tall, the golden finches that come to eat the sunflower seeds is plentiful along with all the dragonflies. Now to find something that will attact the butterflies, my garden will be just right.


Christa at The Yellow Pineapple September 18, 2013 at 8:38 am

I found this pin on Pinterest. Thank you for sharing!


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