The Best Rat Trap Baits: Expert Recommendations

Rodent Guide
Written By Rodent Guide

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

Want to know which bait is the most successful for catching rats?

That is precisely what I will cover in this post! Getting rid of rats means using the correct bait.

A rat problem is something you need to resolve double-time because rats can carry some nasty diseases! After all, you have your health to consider.

In this post, we will take a look at the bait that I use for trapping rats in the order that I use them.

If you want to catch a rat, you should be using stinky, sticky bait!

One top tip from me: Scatter some of the rat trap bait around the trap too. I do this for three excellent reasons:

  1. It will attract the rat to the area of the trap
  2. It lulls the rat into a false sense of security
  3. The extra food will help to mask any human scent on the trap

Rats have an excellent sense of smell and will be very wary of anything new in their environment. If they sense that a human may have touched it, the rat might avoid your trap.

If you have rats in your attic, they will already be aware of the items in your attic. Rats will avoid anything new. Leaving a scattering of bait around the rat traps will help tempt it!

Here is a list of the best rat baits to use:

  • Meat (Smoked Bacon is best)
  • Cat/Dog Food (Sticky is best)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate (Melt onto the trap)
  • Fruit (Natural rat food)
  • Gumdrops (Sticky and sweet)
  • Nuts (Natural rat food)
  • Seeds (Natural rat food)
  • Cheese (Sticky and soft)

I’ve gone into more detail for each of the baits below.

Rat Trap Bait Options

Best Rat Trap Bait

Rat Trap Bait – 9 Irresistible Options

Meat (Bacon/Sausage First)

bacon for rat trap

Meat is the best rat bait for traps and is what I use every time! Be sure to change it every 2-3 days, though.

Cooked or uncooked – the smellier, the better, as far as I am concerned.

Rats love to eat meat, so throw on some bacon or cut-up sausage, and you will attract a rat to your trap! Meat is the best food bait for rats. It would be best to consider using smoked meat, too, due to the extra tasty scent.

There are some drawbacks to using meat in a rat trap. After a few days, the meat smells just as bad as a dead rat!

While it will still do an excellent job on your rat trap, I constantly revisit each trap and load it up again after 2 or 3 days.

Cat/Dog Food

pet food on white background good for rat traps

Pet food must be changed every 2-3 days when used as bait.

Cat and dog food is full of meat, but it is also full of other ingredients that will attract a rat.

I love using cat or dog food as rat bait because they will happily lick away the residue. The more time the rat spends around the trap, the chances of catching it increase.

Set cat or dog food on your rat trap for bait, and wait.

Like meat, you will need to replace the bait every couple of days to keep it fresh. You must wash the rat trap thoroughly before applying some more bait.

Peanut Butter

peanut butter on a knife being put on toast

Sticky, sweet, and full of fat! Peanut butter is one of the best bait for rat traps!

  • Strong smell – yup
  • Sticky – yup
  • TASTY – yup

Peanut butter has all that is required to be an excellent rat trap bait, and it is one that I have used repeatedly with high levels of success.

When setting up some rat traps, I always opt for the meat option first, but I will also load at least one rat trap with peanut butter.

You have to cater to the sweet-toothed rats, too, right?

All you need to do is smear a small amount of peanut butter upon the rat trap before setting it.

Leave the rat trap in an area where you know the rat has been frequenting.

I always leave four snap traps in my attic smeared with peanut butter, just in case I let my guard down and a rat gets in.


sticky dark chocolate

Chocolate is a superb option for rat trap bait because it is sweet, sticky, and tasty. Even for rats! Let’s face it, the quicker you get rid of rats, the more chocolate left over for you to eat.


Chocolate is one of the best rat bait options.

For some reason (which I have yet to discover), milk chocolate works better than its darker counterpart.

I guess that milk chocolate is sweeter.

And hey, it’s a bonus for me if rats do not like dark chocolate because it means more for me.

Load some chocolate on your snap trap, and get going!


fresh fruit, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries

Fruit will leave a sweet residue on the trap, enticing the rat over to it!

Because it is both sticky and sweet, fruits are a top choice for rat trap bait.

Not only is fruit a regular part of a rat’s diet, but it will also leave sweet-smelling residue on the rat trap. When considering the best bait to catch rats, you must consider what they eat in the wild.

As you may already know, rats have an excellent sense of smell and will smell fruit from a distance.

Consider which fruits are available in your area – because that is precisely what the local rats are used to eating!

You can also use dried fruit (it lasts longer on the trap), but I have had much more success using fresh, sticky fruit.


gum drop candy

Gumdrops offer those sweet-toothed rats some sugary goodness!

Candy in the form of gumdrops is excellent rat bait for one main reason:

Gumdrops are challenging to remove from the rat trap! The more difficult food is to withdraw from the rat trap, the more successful you will be in catching a rat.

Think about it. If you use a nut as rat trap bait and the nut can easily roll off, you are just giving the rat a free meal.

The last thing you want is for the rat to think that your home is a fantastic place to get a quick meal.



Make sure you crush some nuts onto the trap to make them difficult to remove!

Although I mentioned above that nuts could easily roll off a rat trap, you have options for placing the nuts down.

What do I do?

I crush the nuts onto the rat trap to create more of a smell and make removing the nut challenging without triggering the trap. I also scatter a few nuts around the trap.

Here is a tip – crush the food on BEFORE setting the trap! It will save you from hurting your fingers!


bowl of seeds

You can use seeds as rat trap bait as they form part of a rat’s diet.

Seeds are a regular part of a rat’s diet and should be used to coax them onto your freshly set rat traps!

Like nuts, it is a good idea to crush a small number of seeds onto the trap, along with a small number of whole seeds.

A good tip here is to set some seeds around the rat trap. These seeds will act to draw the rat towards the trap, mask the scent of the trap, and give the rat some confidence to jump on it!


cheese on a shelf

Cheese has a strong smell and will help to mask the scent of your rat trap!

The reason why cheese is such a fantastic idea for rat trap bait is that:

  • It has a strong smell
  • It can be sticky
  • Rats are attracted to fatty foods

Cheese does not just work in cartoons. It works in real life too! Stick cheese with a strong odor is one of the best things to put in a rat trap!

Baiting A Rat Trap

Take a look at this video for how to bait a rat trap:

What food is irresistible to rats?

The best food to catch a rat is raw smokey bacon. I have used bacon so many times to catch a rat; trust me, they find it eventually! It would be best if you replaced the bacon every few days, so wear gloves.

Peanut butter is irresistible to rats too.

Do rats learn to avoid traps?

If your trap for rats is set up and baited correctly, rats will not have any memory of anything terrible happening near a trap!

A rat does not know what a trap is but will avoid anything if it carries a human scent. You must always wear gloves when baiting a trap.

Rat trapping is more straightforward when you do not leave your scent on everything you have set up to trap them.

Do rats like cheese?

Yes – rats like cheese. I have used cheese to catch rats in the past. Usually, a rat will prefer sticky cheese with a strong odor.

Not only will the smell attract the rat to the rat, but it is also challenging to remove from the trap, which increases the chance of successfully catching the rat!


Now you know all the food items I use and consider the best rat bait. 

Although this information is freely available, I repeatedly confirmed this list when catching rats.

When deciding which is the best rat trap bait, you must consider what a rat eats in the wild.

In the wild, rats will eat pretty much anything. However, a healthy rat will opt for the following:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Insects
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Meat

As I said, a rat will eat anything. Especially if it is hungry!

You must place any bait onto the rat trap before setting the trap. I am sure you have already worked that out for yourselves, but I must mention it!

Good luck catching the rats!

The bait you choose will define your rat control success rate.


What Can Rats Eat” by WebMD


About the Rodent Guide

I’m an expert in do-it-yourself rodent control. For more than 20 years, I’ve dedicated my life to helping people live harmoniously alongside these critters by sharing rodent control solutions that are effective and kind.

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

7 thoughts on “The Best Rat Trap Baits: Expert Recommendations”

  1. We Have 20 acres and 2 deer feeders one with corn the other with protein pellets. Rats have found my corn and pellets, put in my new tractor cab and damn if they didn’t find the way in and at my chunks out of my seat and sidewall made of cardboard. Have several 45 gallon buckets that cow molasses came in which I put 2 sacks of corn in and closed it with the other bucket in the top. Rats chewed the thick black plastic lip on the top so I bought a new 120 gallon Ice Check and 3 bags of corn in them, Damn if they didnt chew my ice check lid. 3 Victory Traps just got baited, one with Guyda Cheeze the other with Ham. Read the best is Peanut Butter and will try it in the last one. Check it after dark and during the night, I’m SO P****D OFF!!

    • Hey John

      Sounds like these rats are really making your life hell at the moment! Peanut butter has never let me down in the past. Ham works well too as rat bait especially smoked ham (must be the stronger odor).

      Good luck!

  2. what do you do if you think a rat has made a home in your furniture like a couch or chair and I hear scratching noises by the fridge like they are trying to come through the wall. What do I do.

    • Hi – and thanks for getting in touch!

      The first thing I would do is check for rat entry points and blocks them.

      Then, you should set up some traps near the couch. The type of trap will depend on your situation. If the trap is out of the way and will not be stumbled upon by a pet or person then I would opt for a snap trap. Load them up with the bait on this page. You should also take a look at live catch rat traps too. Again, place the bait inside the trap.

      Now that you have confirmed at least 1 rat, you should be on the lookout for more evidence of rat activity (poop, urine, gnawed items, etc), as you could have more of them.

      Make sure you clean everything, with bleach if possible. Rats can carry some pretty nasty diseases so look after your health by wearing a mask as you clean up poop and urine.

      If you are not comfortable taking on the rats, call a professional.

      I hope that helps!

  3. Problem I’m having with your list is that I have roaches in my garage as well. I’m using an electronic rat zapper that deactivates once it has been tripped. So, with most of the bait on the list, roaches enter the trap, get killed and deactivates the trap. I’m trying sunflower seeds next because I doubt the roaches will be attracted to it as much

    • Hi Lawrence

      Wow – thats a collection of pests you have there! A tricky one… yes, I would try nuts/seeds but don’t think roaches will leave those alone either! It might be worth getting some roach traps too, with small holes that only roaches can get into. That may stop them entering the rat traps and deactivating them.


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