Hummingbird Food Recipe

Wondering how to make hummingbird food for your feeder? This hummingbird food recipe is quick to make (and your birdies will love it!).

Hummingbird Food Recipe

Here’s a simple hummingbird food recipe your backyard birdies will lap up:


  • 1 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 4 cups of hot or boiling water

How to Make Hummingbird Food

Dissolve the white granulated sugar in the boiling (or hot) water. You can adjust the amount of homemade hummingbird food in this recipe by using a simple ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Extra sugar water can be stored in the fridge (I make sure to boil the water first if I’m going to store extra for a few days).

Raw granulated sugars and sugary liquids (like molasses) contain iron, which can be harmful to the birds in concentrations higher than would be found naturally in flower blossoms. Stick to refined white granulated sugar for this hummingbird food recipe. Adding red food dye is completely unnecessary.

Hummingbird Food Recipe
Hummingbirds enjoy homemade hummingbird food during their high-energy migratory journey (Courtesy VO)

Using the Food from this Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Clean your hummingbird feeder thoroughly before filling with nectar, and be sure to follow the instructions for you specific feeder. I like hummingbird feeders that can be sterilized on the top rack of the dishwasher, but some other gardeners use cleaning vinegar on their feeders. Your clean feeder can then be filled with yummy homemade hummingbird food!

Homemade Hummingbird Food vs. Wild Bird Food

This hummingbird food recipe mimics the sugary flower nectar that hummingbirds search out in the wild. Hummingbirds drink nectar or homemade hummingbird food to get water and sugar for energy. For nutrition, hummingbirds eat small insects, including mosquitoes, fruit flies, gnats, and spiders.

Hummingbirds drink with their long tongues, which are specialized to drink nectar from flower blossoms. Hummingbird feeders provide a back-up source of energy, especially when fewer flowers are blooming. You may wish to decrease the amount of homemade hummingbird food when lots of flowers are blooming nearby so that your feeder doesn’t reduce the natural pollination that the birds provide as they drink nectar.

Happy Homemade Nectar-Making! Here’s a background video to enjoy while you make this hummingbird food recipe :)


Thanks for visiting! Here’s an image to save to Pinterest if you’d like to make this hummingbird nectar recipe at a later date:

Hummingbirds feeding on homemade hummingbird food

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Mary Jane

Mary Jane is a home gardener who loves creating healthy, welcoming spaces (indoors and out!) - About Mary Jane (

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