5 from 2 votes

Hummingbird Food (Homemade Nectar)

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Creating your own hummingbird food at home is simple and rewarding. With just sugar and water, you can make a fresh and safe nectar that your feathered friends will love.

I’ve been making this recipe for my hummingbird feeders for years, and it’s always a joy to watch these tiny little birds enjoy the homemade nectar.

hanging hummingbird feeder with homemade nectar recipe.
Just waiting on the Hummingbirds!

Why Make Hummingbird Food at Home?

Making your own hummingbird food is not only cost-effective and you can make at any time but also ensures that there are no harmful additives.

Store-bought options often contain preservatives and red dye, which are unnecessary and can be harmful to birds.

Ingredients:

all ingredients on a table getting ready to make bird food.

How to make Homemade Hummingbird Food

Here’s my step-by-step guide, complete with tips and tricks to ensure you get the best results. If you head to the recipe card below and watch the video, you can see a real hummingbird in action!

Boil the Water: Start by adding 4 cups of water to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the water for 6-8 minutes, or until it reaches a rolling boil.

Dissolve the Sugar: Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave (it will be hot!). Slowly stir in 1 cup of granulated sugar. Pour in a small amount initially because the sugar will boil and bubble up when you pour it into the boiling water. Continue to stir until all the sugar is completely dissolved.

Cool the Nectar: Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. This is important as hot nectar can harm the birds.

Boiling water in microwave-safe bowl

Fill the Feeders: Once the nectar is cool, pour it into your hummingbird feeders. Each of my feeders holds about 1-1/2 cups.

Fill the feeder’s cylinder and then flip it over to allow the nectar to flow into the base. It may not look full when hung, but that’s normal.

Pouring nectar into hummingbird feeder

Store Leftovers: Any leftover nectar can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Homemade hummingbird food can last up to a week in the fridge.

Tips for Hummingbird Feeding:

  • Sugar to Water Ratio: The ideal sugar to water ratio for hummingbird food is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. This mimics the natural nectar found in flowers.
  • How Long It Lasts: Hummingbird food should be replaced every 3-5 days in hot weather and weekly in cooler weather to prevent fermentation and mold.
  • Fixing a Leaking Feeder: If your feeder leaks, try tightening all parts and ensuring it’s hanging straight. Sometimes, feeders can leak if they’re tilted or if the seals aren’t tight.
  • Does Hummingbird Food Go Bad?: Yes, it can go bad. While we replace it weekly or less, if the nectar appears cloudy, develops mold, or has an off smell, discard it immediately and clean the feeder thoroughly before refilling.
full hummingbird feeder that is fool of the food I made.

Sugar to Water Ratios

Cups of WaterCups of Sugar
1 cup1/4 cup
2 cups1/2 cup
3 cups3/4 cup
4 cups1 cup
hummingbird feeder ratio chart

cats laying on the bed
20% of our lazy pets
5 from 2 votes

Hummingbird Food (Sugar & Water Ratios)


Cook Time 8 minutes
Make safe and fresh hummingbird food at home with this simple recipe. Just two ingredients and a few easy steps to enjoy watching your hummingbirds thrive.

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Boil the Water: Start by adding 4 cups of water to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the water for 6-8 minutes, or until it reaches a rolling boil.
  • Dissolve the Sugar: Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave (it will be hot!). Slowly stir in 1 cup of granulated sugar. Add a small amount of sugar at a time, as it will bubble up when it hits the hot water. Continue to stir until all the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Cool the Nectar: Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. This is important as hot nectar can harm the birds.
  • Fill the Feeders: Once the nectar is cool, pour it into your hummingbird feeders. Each of my feeders holds about 1-1/2 cups. Fill the feeder's cylinder and then flip it over to allow the nectar to flow into the base. It may not look full when hung, but that’s normal.
  • Store Leftovers: Any leftover nectar can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Homemade hummingbird food can last about a week in the fridge.

Video

Notes

Keep leftover nectar in the fridge for about a week. 
Hummingbird food should be changed out every 3-5  days when outside to avoid molding, cloudiness, and going bad. If you notice any weird smells, bugs, or the water looks bad, its fine to replace sooner. If its exceptionally hot outside, you may want to change every other day in order to preserve freshness for your birds.

Nutrition

Serving: 4cups | Calories: 768kcal

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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5 from 2 votes
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3 Comments

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      Hi Megan, thanks for the comment. Glad this hummingbird food recipe worked well for your garden!

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