The Best Homemade Hummingbird Food Recipe

Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!

Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!

 Homemade Hummingbird Food Recipe

I’ve written before about my adoration for the whimsical creatures that are hummingbirds. Last month, I shared about how to attract them to your own yard in this blog post! They just fascinate me and bring so much joy and wonder to outdoor spaces. I grew up watching their little bodies flit and flutter outside the window at my Grandma’s house, and ever since, I’ve always been delighted when they show up in my garden to feed on flowers or from my hummingbird feeder.

Why Make DIY Hummingbird Food?

My kids always get a kick out of observing these little guys, too. It’s just so much fun for the whole family! That’s why I want to share the simplest and best homemade hummingbird food with you all today. It’s two ingredients and couldn’t be easier (or faster) to make, and it’s sure to bring a few of these pretty birds to your yard this season.

I will advise right off the bat not to use red dye, which some sources say to mix into the food. Hummingbirds like the bright color red because it reminds them of sweet flowers, but just use a red feeder for the same effect, since dye can be harmful to hummingbirds’ health. With that, let’s get into the recipe!

Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!

Hummingbird Food Ingredients

Homemade hummingbird food only requires two simple ingredients that I guarantee you have at home. To make this hummingbird food recipe you’ll need:

  • Hot Water
  • Granulated sugar

That’s it!

How to Make Hummingbird Food

To make hummingbird food simply boil the water, remove from the heat, add the sugar, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool completely, then pour into your hummingbird feeder.

Start keeping an eye on your feeder because once these beautiful birds realize there’s sweet sugar water for them to drink they’ll start visiting your feeder as often as possible.

Can I use tap water?

You can! Just be sure to boil it before using so that it dissolves the sugar and the boiling will remove any impurities.

What kind of sugar should I use?

You’ll want to use granulated white sugar — or regular table sugar. Do not use raw or unprocessed sugars or honey or corn syrup because those can be harmful to hummingbirds’ health.

Should I boil the water?

It’s recommended to boil the water to help clean it of any impurities that might be in the water.

How long can I store extra sugar water in the fridge?

Store leftover sugar water in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you notice mold growing in the mixture, toss it and make a fresh batch.

How often should I change the food in the hummingbird feeder?

It’s best to change and clean out feeders every other day, but if you miss a time or two, just make sure you’re switching out the food and cleaning it out at least twice a week during warm months and once a week in cooler months. This helps to prevent mold growth.

When should I put out my hummingbird feeder?

Hummingbirds migrate with the seasons, so when you put out a hummingbird feeder depends on where you live. For those who lives in southern parts of the States, you can set up feeders from February through November. Across the middle of the country, plan on placing feeders from April through October. Along the northern states in the U.S., put hummingbird feeders out from early May through September.

Where should I set up my hummingbird feeder?

Place your hummingbird feeder in low-activity areas (away from where pets or kids might play often because hummingbirds can be shy and territorial!). Close to trees is best because they like to perch on branches to watch out for predators.

Why shouldn’t I add red dye to the hummingbird food?

Foremost, red dye isn’t necessary because many feeders themselves are red — plus, dye is harmful to hummingbirds’ health, so be sure to skip it.

What plants attract hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds love flowers that are brightly colored and produce lots of nectar, including bee balm, trumpet honeysuckle, and bleeding hearts. They also really like red tubular flowers.


Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!


The Best Homemade Hummingbird Food

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x


Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!



  • 4 cups very hot tap water
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar


  • Boil your water on the stove for 1 minute.
  • Remove the water from the stove and stir in the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
  • Fill your humming bird feeder as directed on individual instructions.
  • Store leftover sugar water in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


  • If there is noticeable signs of mold on your sugar water before 2 weeks, discard and make a fresh batch.
  • Please do NOT use red dye. Red dye is harmful to hummingbirds. Use a red feeder to attract them instead of dyeing their food.
  • Don’t use raw or natural sugars — they contain too much iron that can hurt hummingbirds.
  • Do not use honey or corn syrup.
  • Category: Hobby Farm
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: Hummingbird

Keywords: hummingbird food, hummingbirds, hummingbird food recipe, attracting hummingbirds, hummingbird nectar,

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Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!


Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!

Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!


Learn about attracting hummingbirds to your garden:

This easy and quick homemade hummingbird recipe will be sure to bring lots of these magical and exciting birds to your outdoor space!

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About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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great recipe.Thanks for sharing.I made it the other day and put to thr hummingbird feeder and saw hummingbird keep coming

FYI – A point of clarification. Boiling water does NOT remove impurities. It sterilizes the water. If you have lead or toxic minerals and chemicals in your water, boiling will not remove those impurities, it just sterilizes the water (kills bacteria and viruses).

I’ve been doing this recipe for years and it’s perfect, I have loved these beautiful birds for years and my mom used to say that when she dies she’s coming back as a hummingbird, well my mom passed away March 1, 2019 and just 2 months ago I started noticing this same lil hummingbird coming to visit me when ever I’d go out for a morning smoke. Everyday now and I had no nectar. So last weekend I went and bought a beautiful glass feeder and got it already to put out tomorrow. And if this is my momma coming to visit me my heart is filled. God Bless everyone and stay safe & healthy! Remember to always tell the ones you love them because we are never promised tomorrow.


Can we use bottle water?

How about filtered water? Do I boil it or is the water safe?

The Smithsonian National Zoo has a recipe for hummingbird feeders, and they do not recommend boiling the water. In fact, they specifically state that it isn’t necessary.

I can’t keep the ants away. Help!!!! What do I do?

Cinnamon. Ants hate it and won’t cross it.

I purchased an ant moat from Amazon that hangs above the feeder. It has a small cup that you fill with water and the ants can’t make it to the feeder. I haven’t had a single ant this season!

I would not think it advisable to use tap water, as it contains chemical from the hot water tank..boil water would sound more reasonable to me..

Can you over boil the solution ? And would this make it not as good?

I have heard that you shouldn’t use hot water from the tap for cooking. Hot water heaters tend to allow water to become less pure, as the water evaporates from the heat and is replaced to evaporate again, leaving higher concentrations of metals and impurities.

Actually, there is no evaporation in a hot water tank as it is sealled. If there are sediments in your water the hot water tank volume and less frequent use allows time to settle out.. Want proof? There are filters at the inlets of all,clothes washers – the hot is always clean and the cold will likely show contaminates.

This was EXACTLY copied from Smithsonian. Give credit were credit is due!

You are incorrect. The Smithsonian does not recommend boiling the water.

Due to corona virus my husband could only obtain powdered sugar. Can I use it to make nectar? If so at what ratio? Also, I have been doing 3 to one of granulated sugar – is that bad for them? They love my super sweet feeders, but I do not want to harm my 20+ visitors at one time to my feeders.

Too much sugar can harm their kidneys. 4 to 1 ratio is best. 2 cups water and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

Beautiful feeder! I’d love to have one like that! Where’s it from?

There are a few styles like this on Lowe’s & Amazon. The bottle part is glass & the rest is mostly metal.

Sams club last week

Walmart 2 yeats ago

Thank you for the recipe and tips, it is my first time setting up a humming bird feeder. It was at gift from a dear friend this past Christmas and can’t wait to share pics and hang it up!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.