Homemade Hummingbird Nectar

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar recipe, Hummingbird food recipe

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar

Hummingbird Nectar is so simple to make at home, much less expensive than commercial mixes, and it contains none of the food coloring or supplements that aren’t needed by (and can even be harmful to) the birds.  

As part of our home renovations last year, we cleared thirty-nine trees, most of which were loblolly pines that were close to the house and in danger of falling onto the house. After we removed the trees, we started to clear understory to have a better view into the woods surrounding the house, too.

Then, it was a natural progression to start feeding the birds. We have to be very careful about our bird feeding, since we are very close to the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, thus…close to bears.

In the fall and over the winter, we had wild turkey, doves, titmouse, wrens, a variety of finches, cardinals, nuthatch, blue jays, three different varieties of woodpecker, and various other critters. When spring arrived, I decided I would get a hummingbird feeder.

I researched different foods and decided to make my own. When I started asking friends who attract hummingbirds what they fed, I got a unanimous response of commercial feeds. When I said I was making my own, everyone asked how to make it. And since it’s so darned simple, I promised I’d post the recipe.

First of all, coloring is bad for hummingbirds, very bad. While hummingbirds are attracted to red, it is the color of the flower that attracts them! The nectar found is flowers isn’t colored. So don’t add food coloring! Yes, hummingbirds are attracted to red, just have some red on your feeder and they will find it. My feeder is copper and glass, but the flowers on the feeder are red metal.

Also, it’s important to change the nectar often. I’ve included in the recipe a chart for how often to change the nectar, but even using that chart, if you notice the nectar getting cloudy, or dark spots forming in it, change the nectar and thoroughly wash the feeder (something you need to do each time you change the nectar). Any fermentation or mold will be harmful to the birds.

Here is the recipe…now, make your own, too! The hummingbirds and your pocketbook will thank you.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Hummingbird Nectar
Hummingbird Nectar is a simple, and inexpensive, alternative to commercial mixes and powders.
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the water and sugar.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  4. Add to your hummingbird feeder.
  5. It is best to replace the nectar and clean the feeder often. Weather will impact the need to change the nectar. See the notes for a handy nectar-change chart.
High temperatures change nectar after:

71 - 75° change every 6 days

76 - 80° change every 5 days

81 - 84° change every 4 days

85 - 88° change every 3 days

89 - 92° change every 2 days

93°+ change daily


About P ~ The Saucy Southerner

I started cooking when I was ten years old. For me, the process of cooking, from inception of a dish, to the execution, to the washing of the pots is sheer delight. I am now retired from a business I still own, in partnership with my husband. I used to work six days a week and still cook every night. Now, I'm gardening, still cooking, always having fun and hoping to share my joy with you. Thank you for reading...and commenting! P~
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8 Responses to Homemade Hummingbird Nectar

  1. This is pretty darn amazing – you’re so wonderfully creative, P! 🙂

  2. M Small says:

    If you add about 5 drops of regular liquid Colloidal silver to the 1 cup mixture after it has cooled before putting into feeder, it will help prevent “scur” which is the clear or cloudly looking bacterial slime that grows in the nectar or any standing water. I put 5 drops in my cat’s water bowl every time I change her water (every 2 days min). It is so small an amount it has no effect on either birds or pets, just keeps their liquids free of scur.

  3. Valerie Larsen says:

    If you’re using 2 cups of water does that mean you use a half a cup of sugar

  4. Valerie Larsen says:

    If you are using say 2 cups of water do you use a half a cup of sugar

  5. Sandra Phillips says:

    If you hang your feeder from your porch and it’s wood color a circle around the hook with chalk this keeps the ants away and chalk is cheap. My dad taught me this

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