Homemade Hummingbird Food Recipes

Hummingbird food can go bad quickly. So it is important to change it often. Store bought foods can be expensive and contain dyes that are not good for birds. This page contains homemade hummingbird food recipes.


June 2, 2016 Flag

Making your own hummingbird food is easy and much cheaper than buying the concentrate. Plus you can make it without the red dye, as it is generally unnecessary for attracting hummingbirds to your feeder.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • sauce pan
  • stove
  • clean bottle (for storing leftovers)


  1. Combine sugar and water in a sauce pan.
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  3. Bring to a boil. This will help kill any bacteria or mold. Then remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  4. Fill your feeder with hummingbird food and store the leftover food in the refrigerator. Note: I recommend labeling your storage container to avoid confusion as to what it is. My son poured a huge glass of it, thinking it was cold water. :)
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  6. Hang up the feeder and enjoy your tiny feathered friends!
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June 4, 20160 found this helpful

I didn't realize making hummingbird food was so simple. Thank you. I will make some and place it near the Lobelia Cardinalis I have growing to attract hummingbirds. When the Lobelia blooms, I should get some good pictures for ThriftyFun with this double whammy!

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October 17, 2011 Flag
7 found this helpful

After attending several lectures by the Hummingbird Bird expert in Christoval, TX (that feeds 3 1/2 gallons of food per day), I have learned some helpful information regarding feeding hummers. The mixture is 3 parts water to 1 part sugar. There is no need to boil the water, just use hot water, mix and stir. Add a tiny drop of red food coloring (so you can see when it is empty).

Do not remove feeders in fall, as the passing through hummers are looking for food. They will leave when they are ready and should. In hot weather, the food spoils quickly.

By jbennett from San Angelo, TX

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful

Everything I have read is the red dye is harmful to the hummingbirds. I make my food like you but no red dye.

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with the ratio of sugar to water. However, if you have chlorine in your drinking water, you should boil it first. Chlorine is a terrible poison. If you are on a well, cold water is best since it contains fewer accumulated minerals than your hot.

Warm the water to room temperature if you wish in a clean, No Detergent residual container. Stirring for a while at room temperature is best. Any food coloring is harmful to the birds. They can see the clear solution level just fine. For their protein requirements, they pick tiny gnats out of the air, among other small insects on plants.

Personal observations and experiments over 30 years are my qualifications. Please remember the migrants that will visit, hopefully, so keep your feeders 1/2 full & clean (no soap), until you haven't seen one in a week or two. I have year around hummers, Anna's.

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July 16, 20130 found this helpful

September 20, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

This is a guide about canning homemade hummingbird food. One way to have homemade hummingbird nectar on hand whenever you need it, is to make large batches and can it.

Hummingbird on a red hummingbird feeder

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April 18, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

Is it OK to substitute stevia for sugar in hummingbird nectar?

By Amber from southern Ontario, Canada

April 18, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would not do that! The sugar provides calories for energy, and stevia is popular with humans as it is so low calorie. Also, it may not be metabolized safely by the hummers. Stick with ordinary table sugar.

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

No! Stevia is a sweetener for couch potatoes who can't resist sweets; it has almost no calorie value for hummingbirds, who work and need energy. Even greener stevia is close to calorie-free.

And yes, avoid the 'safe' food colors. Color the feeder.

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

October 16, 2011 Flag
4 found this helpful

I have always used one part sugar to four parts water and it works for me. Clean out your feeder every time you change the food and you will eventually get hummingbirds.

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September 6, 2013 Flag
1 found this helpful

How much sugar do I add to 2ltrs of water to feed my hummingbirds?

By D

September 9, 20130 found this helpful

Ditto on the above - 1 cup (white) sugar to 4 cups water. I don't even boil the water - just stir til the sugar dissolves. I keep any extra in the fridge and let sit a bit before I put it out to take the chill out of it - Although nowadays the hummers would probably appreciate a bit of a chill. Good luck!

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September 3, 20150 found this helpful

There are two suggested ratios given: 1 part sugar to 3 parts water, or 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Since you're using 2 liters (or "Litres") of water, then you would either add: 1/2 (.5) liter of sugar (for the 1:4 ratio) *or* 2/3rds (.666) liter of sugar (for the 1:3 ratio.)

Apparently no one else realized you were on Metric, but the math should have translated just the same.

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Anonymous Flag
April 15, 20160 found this helpful

June 16, 2012 Flag
0 found this helpful

Some friends are using a mixture (of what I call harmful) of 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water. This does really attract the birds, but I know that it must be very harmful for the birds. Am I correct?

By Joan from Signal Mtn., TN

June 18, 20120 found this helpful

4 cups water to 1 cup sugar is correct.

No need to add red food coloring. Some "birders" say that if it isn't good for humans,why should we give it to birds? I agree. The bird feeders usually have a red base anyway.

We have 4 feeders 3 in our yard and one just outside the wall to the Path Garden. We have 3-4 butterfly bushes and a couple of cape honeysuckle bushes near by. This week a young father and his child said he counted 9 hummers at the garden feeder.

We also have a couple of orioles that sneak a drink from them. Just be sure to check for mold during the week. GG Vi

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June 20, 20120 found this helpful

It's like everyone saying 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Thanks, 'Cookie"

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April 28, 20140 found this helpful

August 29, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

When making hummingbird nectar at home, my solution turns golden before it comes to a boil. Is it being burned? I used medium-high heat and it takes forever to come to a boil (electric ceramic stovetop). Any suggestions?

By Mary D.

August 31, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for the homemade Humming Bird Recipe. It sure beats buying it. Can you put red food coloring in it to make it look like the store bought kind? : )

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August 31, 20110 found this helpful

Correction: Humming Bird Nectar Recipe. Boy,I got a Good Laugh at myself when I realized what I wrote & posted the 1st time. No I don't eat humming birds! LOL.

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August 31, 20110 found this helpful

July 18, 2014 Flag

This mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Source: My awesome friend Richard Wildermuth


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water


  1. Bring water to a boil then add sugar, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved
  2. Cool to room temperature then fill feeders

A few drops of red food coloring will tint nectar to attract birds.

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August 7, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

Is using red food coloring in homemade nectar harmful to the hummingbirds?

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June 24, 2013 Flag
0 found this helpful

On the nectar you buy in the store, the package directions say 3 parts water to 1 part water. What are they meaning? 3 cups water to 1 cup of nectar? Please help me clarify this. I'm not sure what that means? Can anyone help asap?

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