Bird Seed Fat Balls Recipe

Wild birds visitors to our gardens in winter need extra nourishment to help keep them warm through cold days and nights.

Making bird seed fat balls or fat cakes is a useful way to support garden birds and they’re extremely easy to make. All you need is solid vegetable oil, beef suet or lard, plus a bag of bird seed mix. The best ratio for this fat ball recipe is one part fat to two parts dry mixture. Follow our easy step-by-step method to create your own homemade fat balls.

What you will need

  • Solid vegetable oil, beef suet or lard at room temperature
  • Bird seed mix
  • Plastic container or tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper
  • Saucepan & utensil
  • String & ice cream scoop (optional)

This recipe will make one to four fat ball cakes depending on size.


Step 1 Mix one part suet to two parts bird seed in a saucepan and gently heat, stirring well until the fat has all been absorbed by the dry mixture, and everything sticks together.

Step 2 If you find the mixture is a bit crumbly, add a little more fat to the saucepan and melt before moulding. When the mixture has cooled, use an ice cream scoop, or mould with your hands by rolling the mixture in the palm of your hand to form a sphere shape.

Step 3 Once moulded, space apart in a plastic container or on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and place in the freezer to set firm. If you want to hang them from a tree, make a hole so you can thread some string through them.

Step 4 Once the bird seed fat balls are solid, put in the garden on a bird table or in a fat-ball feeder. If you want to hang your fat ball, make sure you place the fat ball out of reach from predators.

You can make a batch of fat balls and keep them in the freezer until needed.

If you wanted to be creative, you could put the bird seed and suet mixture into moulds or use cookie cutters to create shapes. Making fat balls is easy and a great way to get the kids involved. You can learn together about the types of birds that visit your outside spaces.

These high energy fat balls not only provide a tasty treat for the birds but are also a great way to create a wildlife-friendly garden.

Here at Gates Garden Centre, we sell a wide variety of wild bird seed to encourage birds to your garden or outdoor space. Please note, a standard wild bird seed mix will work well for this fat ball recipe, but if you wanted to use something which contains seeds specially selected for their high energy value, a winter bird seed mix is a great choice.

Homemade bird seed fat balls recipe feature image

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