Want to organize your recipes but aren’t sure where to start?
To organize my recipes I do the following:
- Find a recipe I want to make (usually online via websites such as allrecipes.com, taste.com, blogs etc.
- Print the recipe straight off that website
- Make the recipe and write any comments, notes, ingredient changes, tips, storage instructions, conversions of cups to grams and vise versa etc.
- If the recipe is good, then I re-type it into one of my recipe binder printables
- Place the recipe page into a plastic sleeve (to protect from kitchen spills)
- Sort the recipes into binders with tabs for various categories (there’s a list later in this post)
The reason I do this is because multiple times I’ve tried recipes that I didn’t like, so there’s no point going to the effort of typing out the recipe onto a nice recipe page if you’re never going to make it again.
So you may be wondering: if you like the recipe why not just keep the print out page that you wrote the notes on? The reason is that they write out the recipe instructions in long drawn out sentences (which I absolutely cannot stand). I like recipes to have each step broken out in a clear and easy to read way, like this:
- Sift flour
- Stir in sugar, chocolate chips
- Melt butter and add to dry mixture
When recipes are written in long sentences it’s easy to lose your place so you have to re-read all the instructions to find out what that next ingredient was, then then you’re also likely to forget to put in ingredients (as I have done before and it’s ruined the recipe).
The font is also small on those print outs and the font styles sometimes hard to read when printing directly from a website. The photos (if there are any) are also typically quite small.
How to organize recipes
1. What types of recipes do you make?
I normally use this recipe page (see photo 4) which allows enough room to write.
2. How do you want to organize your recipes?
– In a binder (I recommend letter size binders rather than half size (8.5 x 5.5″) so you can print recipes at a size big enough to read)
– In a recipe album
– Recipe box
– The Arc planner – this is what I use for my daily/weekly/monthly planner. It allows you to reposition and move pages around
Are you messy in the kitchen? I am :p I use plastic page protectors to protect my recipe pages. You could also laminate your recipe pages. If you decide to use the Arc planner system, they also have page protectors (you will need to purchase the ones especially made to suit the binder rings)
Where to find binders:
- Officeworks (Australia only)
- Office Depot/Office Max
- For something custom, try Company Folders
You want to find the ‘clearview’ ones that will allow you to insert your own printed cover and spine like this one (from Amazon):
Access the free printables library and be notified when new blog posts are published
3. How do you search for recipes? Do you search by:
– Type of meal e.g. lunch or dinner
– Occasion e.g. Christmas
– Ingredients e.g. by type of meat
– By number of calories
– By type e.g. a curry, stir-fry etc.
These become the your dividers and tab labels.
Some categories you might have:
– 15 Minute Meals
– 30 Minute Meals
– 45 Minute Meals
– 60 Minute Meals
– Main Meals
– Slow Cooker
– Side Dishes
– Special Occasions
– Pies & Tarts
– Gluten Free
– Healthy Recipes
– Favorite Dinner Recipes
– Low Carb
– Takeout Menus
4. If you find you have so many recipes it might be time for a purge, or to keep things in separate binders
I keep separate binders for:
– Baking – with dividers for biscuits/cookies, cakes, slices, desserts and other ‘sweet’ foods
– Dinner recipes – with dividers for type of meat e.g. Chicken, Beef, Lamb etc.
– Special occasions – with dividers for Christmas, birthday cakes etc.
– Recipes to Try
If you have a LOT of recipes you might want to keep another separate binder for favorite recipes, or a favorite recipes tab within each section. E.g. ‘Cake recipes’ and then a ‘favorite cakes’ tab or ‘Chocolate cakes’ ‘fruit cakes’ etc.
For my favorites recipe binder I use the rainbow recipe binder collection:
Printable binder covers work great not only for the actual cover of your recipe binder, but for the section dividers within your binder.
5. Tabs, tabs, tabs
Tabs make it so easy to find recipes in your binders. But be careful of using too many. You want to make sure you can see all of the tabs without having to flick through dozens of them in your binder. For this reason I recommend using 1 inch binders to prevent cramming too many recipes in the one binder (and all that paper in larger binders gets quite heavy if you store them on a high shelf).
If you need some editable tabs for your recipe binder, you may like these tabs (includes 7 colors, each in 3 styles: blank for your to add your own, pre-filled with common recipe dividers and a third sheet pre-filled for a household binder)
If you are using a half size binder, you might like this half size binder divider & tab template (which you can customise in Photoshop).
6. What other things do you refer to when cooking?
Some things you might want to add:
– Recipe index (I like to add these behind the section divider page but before I add all of the recipes for that section into my binder). I arrange the recipes in chronological order based on the recipe index list. You might also want to arrange them alphabetically, or keep your favorite recipes for that section near the front, if you don’t have a separate section for favorite recipes within that category
– Meal planning (weekly or monthly)
– Kitchen conversions page
– Favorite recipes
– Notes pages
– Kitchen substitutes cheat sheet
– Grocery lists
– Pantry, fridge and freezer inventories
– Recipes to Try
I use different patterns and colors for each type of recipe binder which helps me find recipes easily. You could go further and print the recipe pages for each section in a different pattern or color. For example, all of the recipes in a baking binder could be various patterns in various shades of blue, all of the recipes in your dinner recipes binder could be in various patterns and shades of green etc. If you want recipe sheets in a range of rainbow patterns, I recommend these
8. Review the contents of your recipe binder every few months
– Purge recipes you never make anymore, or that you have printed but no longer want to make
– Pull out at least 1 recipe from your recipes to try binder when you do your meal planning
My favorite websites to find recipes
If you’d like to get your recipes in order, I have heaps of printable recipe binders in various patterns and colors in my shop including this new recipe binder (with an editable monogram cover!)
And…I have some free recipe binder printables when you subscribe to the blog (you’ll also get access to the rest of the free printables library!)
I hope you found this blog post helpful!
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