The Best Homemade Hummingbird Food Recipe

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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!
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 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!

I love to make a batch of my favorite granola bar recipe (or a smoothie recipe), taking a snack outside, and spend some time enjoying nature and these highly entertaining little critters. Seriously, they’re so entertaining and good for the soul.

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 nectar 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!

Best Hummingbird Feeders

A hummingbird feeder should be sturdy, have lots of red on it, be easy to wash, fill, and hang AND it should be a good price.  Here are my top 3 hummingbird feeders to buy:

  1. Nature’s Rhythm Red Antique Glass Bottle Hummingbird Feeder (holds 28 ounces, 5 feeding spots)
  2. Juegoal Glass Hummingbird Feeders (holds 26 ounces, 5 feeding spots)
  3. Sewanta Hummingbird Feeders, plastic (holds 32 ounces, 10 feeding spots, pack of 2 feeders)

For a complete list of the best hummingbird feeders (glass, plastic, and unique feeders) check out this post. 

humming bird in motion feeding
4.92 from 45 votes

The Best Homemade Hummingbird Food

Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 cups


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


Serving: 1 of 4 cups, Calories: 193kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Fat: 0.2g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 1mg, Sugar: 50g, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 0.03mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!
Attract beautiful hummingbirds to your backyard or garden with this simple homemade hummingbird food recipe!

Homemade hummingbird food is inexpensive and a more healthy option than store bought food. Store bought food tends to have harmful chemicals and preservatives that are not healthy for hummingbirds.

How to clean a hummingbird feeder:

It is important to regularly clean your feeder to avoid mold growth and protect the delicate hummingbirds. Every other day is recommended. Rinse your bird feeder with very hot water. It is advised not to use soap because the residue can change the flavor of the nectar.

A deeper cleaning of your hummingbird feeder is in order about once a month. You can soak your feeder in vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. Combine 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. Take the feeder completely apart and let it soak in a bucket for 1-2 hours.

Where is the best place to hang a Hummingbird feeder?

Hummingbird feeders should be placed in partial sun. If your feeder is in the sun all day it will spoil faster. You want to put the feeder somewhere where you can see it but also somewhere that the hummingbirds feel comfortable. They don’t like to be out in the open, so the partial shade of a tree or bush, or hanging from a canopy or your house is a good location.

What time of day do hummingbirds come to feeders?

Hummingbirds can often be seen feeding on nectar at dawn or dusk.

10 Fun Facts About Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are truly remarkable little creatures. Check out these fun little factoids.

  1. A hummingbird’s heart beats about 1,200 beats per minute. Just to compare, on average a human heart beats 60-100 beats per minute.
  2. Hummingbirds have very good eyesight but have no sense of smell.
  3. The smallest eggs of all birds are laid by hummingbirds. They are only 1/2 inch long. Their eggs are tinier than a jelly bean!
  4. Hummingbirds can fly up to 30 mph.
  5. On average, hummingbirds eat 5-7 times an hour. They have a very high metabolism. Hummingbirds consume half of their body weight in sugar over the course of a day.
  6. Hummingbirds have fewer feathers than any species of bird. They have around 1,500 feathers. They are small so they don’t require as many feathers, but having fewer feathers also keeps them lighter and more able to fly.
  7. Hummingbirds are the only bird that can fly in any direction. They can fly up, down, sideways, forward and backwards.
  8. The life span for hummingbirds on average is 3-5 years.
  9. The memory of a hummingbird is impeccable. They remember every feeder and flower they have flown to.
  10. The females are the nest builders in the hummingbird world. They only lay 2 eggs at a time and their young stay in the nest for about 3 weeks.
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 nectar recipe will be sure to bring lots of these magical and exciting birds to your outdoor space!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hayley says:

    Hi, I have multiple feeders and need lots of nectar . Is it ok if when I make more than one batch to store it together in one container or is that too much sugar content?

    1. Melissa says:

      I think it’ll be fine! The sugar to water ratio will be just great.

  2. Tara says:

    5 stars
    Once the nectar shows signs of mold, you’ve already killed every hummingbird that has drunk it. Mold causes their throats to swell and they slowly starve to death. Two weeks (per the recipe) is way too long. The nectar in the feeders should be changed and they should be thoroughly cleaned every 3 days (at longest) or they’ll turn into killing machines. Even a fragment of mold you can’t see yet will kill them. That means sterilizing the feeder itself, too. These can be machine washed:
    Please don’t start feeding unless you’re willing to do the cleaning.

  3. Jennifer says:

    If you have bees overwhelming your feeders, it may scare away your hummingbirds. If this is the case, you might try a ratio of 1:5, or 1 cup of sugar to 5 cups of water. The birds will still come, and the bees will stay away.

  4. Michelle Fiddelke says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe! The hummingbirds love it ❤️

  5. Eric says:

    5 stars
    Hi and thanks for the info on the hummingbird!!!

  6. Eric says:

    5 stars
    Ann, don’t be a jerk…

  7. Rick Labuda says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for taking the time to post this recipe. So lucky to have found it and appreciate you. Clear, concise and easy. Have a farm and first time for feeding Hummingbirds. Feed and have habitats for birds, rabbits, raccoons, possums, skunks, foxes, and deer and others. Thanks again.

  8. Vicki Amend says:


  9. Sherry says:

    I have read that too much sugar and additives can cause liver damage in hummers. So sticking to 4:1 ratio and no vanilla is better for our feathered freiends

  10. Rich Hughes says:

    4 stars
    Hi , I have been feeding all types of birds for about 20 years . My hummingbirds like 3 cups water to one cup cane sugar (not beet sugar) and I add two to three drops of pure vanilla extract . They also like brown (cane) sugar and water . I clean my feeder using bleach only , no detergent . Thanks , Rich H , San Diego P.S. Last week I was privy to watching a hawk nail a dove on my backyard fence .