How to Make Hummingbird Food Without Sugar

Hummingbirds are naturally attracted to sweet nectar, so sugar has become a common part of most hummingbird food.

With its high glucose content, sugar provides hummingbirds with the energy they need to function effectively. These solutions taste almost the same as natural nectar, and they also contain some essential monosaccharides in flower nectar.

Since sugar is a readily available household item, most hummingbird foods are sugar solutions. However, if you want to make hummingbird food without sugar, you could try other options available in this article.

Hummingbird Foods Without Sugar


Jello is available in many colors and flavors, so it is a ready substitute for sugar in hummingbird food.

Besides its high glucose content, Jello also contains other valuable nutrients like protein, essential to hummingbird development. Feeding hummingbirds with Jello will significantly increase their energy levels and improve their appearance.

While the sweetness of Jello is bound to attract hummingbirds, they will avoid the feed if it tastes too sweet. Hummingbirds may also shy away from Jello due to its sticky nature.

You need to ensure that you prepare diluted concentrations. Ideally, half a teaspoon of Jello should serve for two cups of water. Also, avoid adding any other sweeteners when making hummingbird food with Jello.

Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a common artificial sweetener used in the production of beverages. Due to its sweet taste, it can also serve as a perfect substitute for sugar in hummingbird food.

However, corn syrup does not give hummingbirds the energy they need to function effectively. This deficiency is because corn syrup does not contain enough glucose, which hummingbirds easily metabolize.

When you use corn syrup as a substitute for sugar, it is best to add other supplementary high-energy content, such as Cane juice or Fruit concentrates.

Avoid high concentrations of high-fructose corn syrup when making hummingbird food. Add a teaspoon of corn syrup to three cups of boiled water to prepare a suitable mixture.

Fruit Juice

Hummingbirds are naturally attracted to fruit juice and nectar. Therefore, you can easily replace sugar with fruit juice in hummingbird food.

There are several ways you can prepare hummingbird food with fruit juice.

First, you could crush the succulent flesh of any available fruit and let it simmer in boiled water. Filter the mixture with a clean cloth after it cools. This way, you will eliminate any residual material that would lead to a buildup of bacteria in the hummingbird feeder.

While any fleshy Fruit will serve this purpose, hummingbirds prefer fruits such as grapes and strawberries. You could also use different fruits in one mixture.

You can also prepare hummingbird food by mixing pure fruit juice with water. However, you would need to add lots of water to the mix to prevent the fruit juice from forming crystals when it evaporates. A 5:1 mix ratio of five cups of water to one cup of liquid is ideal for hummingbird food.

It’s best to use only natural fruit juice when preparing hummingbird food. Processed fruit juice contains additives and preservatives which could be harmful to hummingbirds.


Soda makes this list due to its obvious high sugar content. But it also contains many of the essential minerals hummingbirds need.

High concentrations of soda pose significant health risks to hummingbirds. Hence, it’s always best to use only highly diluted soda mixtures as hummingbird food. Although soda is bound to keep hummingbirds hooked to your feeder, do not offer soda consistently.

Final Verdict 

There are a lot of hummingbird food solutions that you can make without natural sugar. However, not all of them are safe for hummingbirds. From the list above, you can find some of the safest alternatives to sugar. Though some still pose threats, you can dilute them to get the best and safest results for hummingbirds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add Honey to Hummingbird Food?

No. You should not add honey to hummingbird food.

Honey is sweet and very attractive to hummingbirds. But mixing honey with water creates a suitable culture for the growth of many harmful bacteria.

These bacteria pose significant health risks to hummingbirds and could even lead to death.

How Often Should I Change Hummingbird Food?

You should not leave your hummingbird feed out for more than three days. Due to high temperatures, hummingbird food becomes moldy after a few days.

Hence, it’s best to get rid of residual food in your hummingbird feeder at least twice a week. Also, clean the hummingbird feeder whenever you empty it.

How Should I Store Hummingbird Food?

It would be best to store Hummingbird food in the refrigerator until it is ready for use. This way, it stays fresh and free from bacteria.

Do not store fresh hummingbird food for longer than two weeks.

Should I use Distilled Water for Hummingbird Food?

No. Do not use distilled water for hummingbird food.

Distilled water is pure but lacks many essential minerals that hummingbirds need. Instead, use boiled tap water to prepare hummingbird food.

Leave a comment