Feed the birds and decorate a tree with suet ornaments! These cookie cutter ornaments are a creative and fun way to serve up nutritious treats to your backyard birds and help sustain them through the cold, winter months.
We keep our feeders filled year round, but it is especially important in winter
when the days are shorter and there’s snow on the ground.
Because of birds’ accelerated metabolism, they need a high-energy food,
especially in winter to stay warm. This suet recipe helps provide nutrients
that replenish depleted stores of energy.
Animal fat is easily digested and metabolized by birds and provides them
with more than twice the caloric energy as protein or carbohydrates.
This easy bird-friendly recipe replaces traditional suet,
(that has to be rendered and strained to remove contaminates),
with lard as a safe alternative, while packing a nutritional punch with
additional pantry items to supplement your backyard birds’ diets when food is scarce.
To make these suet ornaments you’ll need some cookie cutters
and some twine or ribbon to hang your suet ornaments with.
I have a stash of cookie cutters but I couldn’t resist picking up some extra
Christmas ones at Hobby Lobby for this project. All Christmas items are 50% off at Hobby Lobby
so a set of three cookie cutters were around 60 cents each.
If you can find some at the thrift store for less, even better!
Tie some twine or ribbon onto your cookie cutters before filling them with your suet ingredients
and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper for easy clean up.
There are lots of recipes and variations for homemade suet online.
For best results, use a 1:2 ratio of fat to dry ingredients,
so your mixture holds together (like cookie dough) but isn’t too crumbly.
This recipe uses a combination of lard, peanut butter, corn meal and flour
for any easy and bird-friendly recipe to whip up!
Peanut butter contains fat and protein for winter months and cornmeal
contains fat, fiber, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and folate,
beneficial to bird health.
Stir in treats like raisins, bird seed and unsalted peanuts
once you have your consistency to your liking.
Homemade Suet Ornaments
Makes about 12 (3-inch) cookie cutter ornaments
1 cup lard
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup all purpose flour
3 cups cornmeal
Additional add ins: oats, bird seed, unsalted peanuts
Note: Don’t substitute bacon drippings for lard in your suet recipe. The chemical preservatives in commercial bacon become more concentrated when cooked and can be harmful to birds.
Melt lard and peanut butter together in a pan over low heat. Stir in dry ingredients.
Add additional mix-ins, bird seed, etc. until texture holds it shape (like cookie dough).
Place into cookie cutters using a spoon (or your fingers).
I used an offset spatula to level the suet mixture once the cookie cutter was filled.
Alternatively spread suet mixture into a pan, refrigerate and cut into squares to fill suet cages.
Refrigerate suet treats overnight or until firm and hang on a tree for your feathered friends.
Keep your suet in the fridge or freezer until ready to hang.
Use any shape cookie cutter for your winter suet treats!
Birds can dine from either side of the cookie cutters and
you can refill them with a fresh mixture when it’s gone.
We typically see chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, tits and other small clinging birds
as well as woodpeckers (both Hairy and Downy) visit our suet feeders.
The exact birds that will feed on suet depend on the birds’ range in your area
and what other foods are available, both at feeders and naturally.
DIY Suet Ornaments for Your Feathered Friends
- cookie cutters
- twine or ribbon
- 1 cup lard
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups cornmeal
- Optional add ins: bird seed, raisins, oats, unsalted peanuts
- Tie some twine or ribbon onto your cookie cutters before filling them with your suet ingredients and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper for easy clean up.
- Melt lard and peanut butter together in a pan over low heat. Stir in dry ingredients.
- Add additional mix-ins, bird seed, etc. until texture holds it shape like cookie dough.
- Place into cookie cutters using a spoon (or your fingers).
- Use an offset spatula to level the suet mixture once the cookie cutter is filled.
- Refrigerate suet treats until firm or overnight and hang on a tree for your feathered friends.
- Use any shape cookie cutter for your winter suet treats.
Birds can dine from either side of the cookie cutters and you can refill them with a fresh mixture when it's gone.
Alternatively, spread suet mixture into a pan, refrigerate and cut into squares to fill suet cages.
- We typically see chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, tits and other small clinging birds as well as woodpeckers (both Hairy and Downy) visit our suet feeders. The exact birds that will feed on suet depend on the birds' range in your area and what other foods are available, both at feeders and naturally.
If you love feeding and watching the birds in your backyard, you may also like:
DIY Birdseed Wreath Feeder, using a bundt pan!
Gingerbread House Bird Feeder!
Make an edible house for the birds, a fun activity with the kids using a gingerbread house kit from the grocery store!
An easy and fun DIY project with the kids for a snowy or cold winter day
Lend the birds a helping hand and provide them with some nutrition and food to keep warm this winter!
If you feed them, they will come ,-)
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What a thoughtful idea for our feathered friends and healthy for the environment, as well. You think of everything, Mary.
Brilliant Mary! I have a box of old cookie cutter collecting dust, what a great way to use them! I know my grands will enjoy helping decorate a tree for the birds. Thanks for all your great ideas!
Love this! I enjoyed making your recipe with the bundt pan. Will have to try this version with the cookie cutters. How cute, thanks Mary.
Do you mean lard like Crisco?? What a wonderful idea! You are amazing. May I ask where you Live? The lake is so beautiful. Maybe I missed it in past blogs. Thanks again for the daily dose of happiness your provide for so many!
Hi Mary Anne, Lard is animal fat and shortening like Crisco is vegetable fat. You usually find them near each other on the baking aisle or sometimes lard can be found with the Hispanic ingredients, labeled ‘manteca’.
Thank you so much!
Delightful post! Feed the birds….tuppence a bag lalalalaaaaaa
Lol, I love Mary Poppins, looking forward to seeing her return! ☂
Thank you Mary for your inspiration. My grandchildren love watching the birds in my yard so I know they will enjoy helping me make a few treats for our little friends.
As always, great ideas and wonderful pictures!!! I have made popcorn and cranberry garlands to decorate a small evergreen tree in my yard, along with pinecones ornaments smeared with peanut butter then rolled in birdseed. One year I decided to make suet cakes and rendered down the suet. When it was done I poured it through my Tupperware strainer – one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done, as the bottom of the strainer immediately melted!!!
I love this idea, so much better than the fat balls I buy. I’m going to give this a try, there is a Christmas tree in my garden that would be just right!
Mary…you have the most incredible and beautiful ways to feed the precious birds for the winter!…talk about adding beauty to nature!…Have a great weekend Mary…regards to the girls!
Thanks for the idea and recipe, Mary. This would be fun for my grands, and I have a stash of cookie cutters. Happy Friday to you and your feathered and fur friends. ❤️
Morning Mary, this post came at a perfect time as it is sleeting and windy here today. These cookie cutter suet feeders are absolutely adorable. Thanks for sharing your recipe and ideas.
This is so wonderful Mary. Perfect timing as it’s starting to snow again. A great reminder in this busy season to take a little time to help the birds outside! I’m going for my bi-monthly food shopping trip tomorrow – we’re in the Catskill Mountains and all of the good stores are about 45 minutes away. Now I can make sure to follow your great recipe and get everything I need to make these cookie cutters & squares to fill the suet cages – essential food for the birds. I really forgot all about feeding them, appreciate your reminder. Thank you!!!
Last year after going to the botanical garden here in Omaha my great grandchildren and myself made an assortment of treets to hang on my spruce in the backyard and they took some home for their house. Thanks for giving me some additional ideas for this year. I had a thought about you the other night-if you ever have a tag sale at your house could we all be invited?😘
These are great, I especially love the wreath idea. Do you have a problem with squirrels? We do here in Jersey and have to add cayenne pepper to keep them away!!
These are lovely – enjoy the birds so much & you make everything so pretty!
That is the same recipe I have been using for years and I have one little warning. Once your birds have tasted this they will turn their beaks up at store made suet cakes so make plenty. Love the cookie cutter idea and will give it a try. I have some small cedar logs that are drilled with holes and I stuff these often daily in the winter and hang in the “bird feeder station “in my gazebo. Love watching all the species of birds that stop by and usually join the feeder count that our local bird club sponsors. Great hobby!@
So funny, i was looking at my feeders this morning and thought it was time to make them some goodies, of course you were thinking the same thing! Is there and version you think they prefer over others, I have done the same recipe over and over, just curious~ I have never lived with such a HUGE bird population before, there is something to be said about being near a forest of trees!
Can you tell me if the squirrels re going to destroy them? We have HUGH squirrels.
My son is going to love doing this.
This is a great post Mary, and we are going to make this tomorrow with our Granddaughter…she’s six and she will get a big kick out of Christmas ornaments for the birds, Thanks again, Sandi
One of my winter pleasures is watching our birds flock around the feeder…these recipes will add to that pleasure…I find it interesting that you say not to mix bacon drippings in with the suet….my father would save a coffee can full of bacon grease and sat that can on top of a small shed in our backyard and the birds flocked to it. It would all be gone in a couple of days..he only did this in winter. He said the grease kept the birds warm…don’t know if that is true but they sure ate it up!! Thanks for the post!!
Love this❤️ And we are making the suet ornaments for our feathered friends here. Thanks for this great idea.
You are so good to your feathered friends Mary! No wonder your garden is always full of beautiful plants, birds and butterflies!
I hang suet squares in the green wire containers designed for just that but the birds don’t eat it. Is that because they don’t like it ( it’s boughten?) or because it freezes in our Iowa winters???? Will they eat frozen suet?
We did this several years ago and the squirrels helped themselves to the suet “cookies” by chewing through the cords and leaving with the cookie cutters full of suet. It was a bit annoying at first, but when you think about, even the squirrels need extra fuel when the winter is very cold and bitter. We now use suet cages which we wire shut and also wire to the bird feeder stand, because the squirrels are clever and a couple of years ago figure out how to get one of the cages off and disappeared with it. Nothing to do but laugh.
Hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas and will have a happy, healthy New Year.