Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Hummingbird feeding from red feeding ports.

Attract hummingbirds and make your own nectar at home. Buying hummingbird nectar from the store can be convenient, yet making your own nectar from scratch is easy. 

Make Your Own Hummingbird Nectar

Homemade hummingbird nectar contains only two ingredients: sugar and water. This simple recipe has proven itself time and again to attract hummingbirds, without any additives. The final result produces clear nectar and there’s no need for red dye (read more about this below).

“The color on your feeder is enough to attract [hummingbirds],” according to the Frequently Asked Questions in the Audubon archive. “You can mix your own nectar using 1/4 cup sugar to every 1 cup of water.” Now, here’s the recipe. 

How to Make Your Own Hummingbird Nectar


1 part Sugar, also known as Granulated Sugar or table sugar

4 parts Water, boiling


Boil four parts of water on the stovetop. Remove from the heat. Add one part sugar and stir until fully dissolved. Let come to room temperature or place in the refrigerator until cool. Add the nectar to your clean hummingbird feeder. Store the remaining nectar in your refrigerator for up to a week.

Please note, this recipe may be adapted to make as much or as little nectar as you need to fill your feeder. No special tools or equipment needed. Again, store any remaining nectar in the refrigerator. 

CAUTION: It is important not to use sugar substitutes when making your own nectar. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “It’s easy to make hummingbird food with just table sugar and water. Use table sugar rather than honey to make hummingbird food—when honey is diluted with water, bacteria and fungus thrive in it.” 

DO NOT use honey, molasses, brown sugar, corn syrup, coconut sugar, stevia or any artificial sugar substitutes. Also, DO NOT add orange juice, apple juice, fruit juice of any kind or food coloring to the nectar, as it is not necessary. 

Keep in mind, red dye is not necessary, either. When hummingbirds feed on flowers found in nature—the nectar consumed is colorless, just like the hummingbird nectar you’re making from scratch. Once you dissolve white sugar in boiling water, you know you’re feeding the hummingbirds what they want—and more importantly, what they need to supplement their natural diet of insects. Thank you.

Even though making your own nectar is easy, you may prefer the convenience of ready-to-pour hummingbird nectar. Attract hummingbirds and shop hummingbird feeding supplies at



“FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) about California birds,” Audubon California, 2006. June 20, 2018. <>.

“Feeding Hummingbirds,” All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. April 20, 2009. June 20, 2018. <>.

“You’re Seeing Fewer Hummingbirds At Your Feeder. Should You Worry?” All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. July 29, 2011. June 20, 2018. <>.

Join the Duncraft bird feeding community on Facebook today!

You Might Also Like