Recipes have a way of coming on any number of different media of various sizes and shapes. Keeping them organized and easy to find can be a chore. This is a guide about organizing recipes.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
Why on earth did I never think of this? Pop your recipe in a plastic sleeve to make it waterproof.
Source: A picture online.
By Monique from Somerset, UK., Weston-super-Mare
Each time I try a recipe (I'm a recipeholic) and it works, I type it out adding my own personal thoughts or tips on the dish, including what goes well with it, whether it be a certain wine or side dish. Each recipe is in its own category: Beef, Fowl, Side, Beverage, etc. But, it doesn't stop there. I've also added sections of Food Tips and Tricks and Household Tips and Tricks (most coming from this site).
When a community shower was being held for my niece I dressed up my book with how I came upon the recipe (many are from my mother, old family friends, and relatives) and family antidotes. I searched for appropriate pictures for the title pages of each section (I love word processing/desk top publishing and graphic arts too). Each section was separated by a clear plastic sheet with a sturdy stick on tab. I wrote a preface and then bound the whole thing with spiral binding. I'm very lucky to have the machine, but I don't think it is expensive to have done in places like Staples.
I wasn't able to make it to the shower but word was, my cookbook was a huge hit with many of the ladies present wanting to hold on to it longer before passing it along. My niece commented on how nice it was to have some of her grandmother's recipes in the book since she was too young and my mother was too ill for the two of them to get together and cook.
I have three more nieces and a nephew to do books for. One is already done and the second is almost half way finished. Yes, that is how much of a recipeholic I am.
By sooz from Toronto, ON
I have made a "recipe notebook" out of a 3-ring binder and clear insert pages to hold all my recipes that were loose in my kitchen drawer. I have also written down my recipes "from memory", that I know how to make, but never bothered to write down. This way my girls will have all of Mom's recipes when I'm gone.
By vguy from Earle, AR
I start gathering all my favorite holiday recipes a month before Thanksgiving or Christmas. The recipes I plan to use are then placed into plastic page protectors, then those pages are placed into a plastic binder that can be wiped clean. This works very well to keep everything organized and protected and next year you will have a reminder of what you cooked the year before. :-)
I live in a foreign country and also love to cook. So, when I visit my family in the states, I usually say from 2-4 weeks and because airline tickets are expensive, I try to stay a decent amount of time. This time allows me to "make the rounds" so that I can see everyone. The time goes fast because I have such a big family.
I bring with me a 5x7 inch little spiral notebook with some of my special recipes. This way I can not only share my recipes with my family but cook for them as well. This saves us all money because we don't want to eat out too much. My family can just relax and enjoy themselves while I serve them. It is a small gesture of appreciation and love. I shop for all the ingredients and organize everything and then we open a bottle of wine (or two) and relax together.
Of course, my family will not let me pay actual money to them in exchange for staying in their homes, so I do this as a way to "chip in" on all the expenses while I am there and help out especially for those family members who work. The little book is easy to travel with, just throw it in your suitcase. The book also helps at the grocery store to know which ingredients you will need for each dish. I live in Latin America, so lots of my recipes are ones they consider a special change from what they are used to eating.
This is my idea for keeping track of good recipes; ones I find and modify, family recipes, and ones I make up myself. I buy those little hard-bound record books, Simplex Records, to write my recipes in. Each page is about perfect for one recipe, though some recipes take two pages. Some journals can work well also.
I started my first one in 1980, and I'm working on filling my third. They reflect the changes in my cooking style over the years. Each one is a different color so that I can tell at a glance which one to grab. Every time I make something up on the fly and it turns out really good, I put it in my current book. My first book has some of my mother's recipes in it (I wish I had a lot more of her recipes!). I love "finding" an old recipe I had forgotten, like my first piccallili, which was already an old recipe back in '80. Someday I will pass them on to my daughter, and I hope she'll enjoy them - and add her own.
I call my books "How to Burn Water: Recipes for Haute, and not so Haute, Cuisine", and date each one when I start them.
By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH
I have a bookcase in my dining room filled with cookbooks that I have bought over the years. It is difficult, however, to remember which cookbook my favorite recipes are in. So I created my own cookbook with all my favorites.
I bought small 3-ring binders at an office supply store along with plastic sheet protectors that accept 5.5 x 8.5 inch sheets of paper (the size is exactly half a sheet of regular 8.5x11 paper). I created categories such as appetizers, beverages, etc. and put each acid-free sheet in the protectors. I can now find my favorite recipe in seconds.
Because I enjoy trying new recipes, I now have three volumes of recipes that I have tried and pronounced favorites. I continue to add to the volumes each month. Now, no more spending precious time trying to find a favorite recipe in all those books that I have collected.
To make it easier to see the recipe I am working on, I bought a cheap metal picture stand for about $3. Now my small 3-ring binder cookbooks are propped up on the counter, which makes it easier to follow the recipe.
By onelivewire from Rocky Point, NC
I clip many recipes from magazines, newspapers, etc. The pile can get quite large, and I end up never even trying any of them. I've solved this and all it took was a clear 3 ring plastic page protector and a piece of colored paper.
I choose about a dozen recipes from my large accumulation, these would be ones where the ingredients are in season and ones that sound so good to me that I just can't wait to try them. I put these in the plastic sleeve behind the piece of colored paper. Then I pick the one recipe that I will make first, and place it on the front side of the piece of colored paper.
I check the ingredients before I go to the grocery store. Soon I can make the recipe, and it is even protected in the plastic sleeve while I am cooking. If we don't care for the finished dish, I throw away the clipping. If we love it, I place it in another permanent notebook along with my own notes.
When I need something new or special for company, I can go to my "good" notebook and choose a proven winner. A new recipe then moves to the front of my plastic sleeve, and more new clippings get added to the back side of that sleeve. I manage to try about 2 new recipes each week!
I'm getting ready to expand this idea and have several plastic sleeves full of recipes, each sleeve with a category of recipes such as meat, salads, desserts, etc.
By Ruth in OH
When I find a internet recipe I'd like to try, I copy it to a blank email and print it. I then cut it to size and scotch tape it to the inside of my kitchen cabinet, where I'm not likely to forget that I was going to try something new, and it's right there at eye level when I'm ready for it. If I like the results, I tape it to an index card and move it to my regular recipe file.
By Doggy from TX
You can take all your recipes and copy them with a scanner to a computer, print, or use copy machine at library and they become the same size page. Some pages will have more than one recipe, so make sure they are in the same category. Then place them in plastic protective pages with a flap at top.
Take the larger post-it note paper and write cakes on the first cake page. Then take wide tape and cover these post-its with tape, making it all mess and water proof. Also you can have the recipes on front and back, saving paper and saving storage space.
Do next set of recipes for meats. You can use the pink post-it for meat, green for vegetables, yellow for fruit, blue for dairy, and orange for breads.
By cj from Minot, ND
To keep my recipes clean, I place them in a plastic sheet and organize them in a large three ring binder. When I use one, I take it out of the binder. When finished, I wipe up any spills then return it to its place in the binder.
By grandmaearth from Cameron, IL
I use many different recipe books. I don't always take the time to copy all the recipes onto recipe cards especially when it is something I make occasionally. Sometimes when I want to make a particular recipe, I either can't remember the name of the recipe or what book had the recipe.
On a recipe card, I will note what the main ingredient is, the name of the recipe, along with my own rating system or any special notes. Then I write the title of the recipe book along with the page number. I file the card in my recipe file appropriately.
This makes it so much easier for me. I don't have to rely on my memory anymore to find a particular recipe.
By mkymlp from NE PA
I attach the sticky note to a handle of a shopping cart at a grocery store. I put the recipes I am shopping for in the same binder in Ziploc sandwich bags. The recipes stay in the binder until I have time to prepare them. The protector gives some durability to the magazine clippings and also protects them from the kitchen grease when I am actually cooking (I attach the Ziploc bag with a recipe to my refrigerator with a magnet).
By Elena from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
When going through the recipes and other stuff, instead of printing out the whole thing or writing it down, I copy it to a word processing program. First I open my office writer or Microsoft Word. Next I highlight the selected article I want to keep and then click "Control C" to copy it. Go to office writer and click "Control V" to paste it. Then save it with the name of the recipe. This really helps a lot.
By Barbara from Shoemakersville, PA
I am notorious around my house for forgetting to make certain meals after a while. Since I try so many recipes, sometimes I lose track of some winners that my family loves. I came up with a great idea. Whenever we have a meal that is a real hit, I write out the menu on a recipe card. I file these in their own recipe box.
What's great about this is that it helps me remember great meals. PLUS, I don't have to come up with side dishes that go with it since I list the entire meal (including dessert). I also write next to each item where the recipe is found. Now when I am making up a shopping list, I pull a couple of my "winning dinners" and half the work is done!
By Carol from Landisville, PA
I've started to organize my recipes together as meals. I know that I always serve my Mexican rice recipe with my black bean casserole so now I keep them printed out on one sheet and then stored in my 3 ring binder. I always serve apple crisp with my Cracker Barrel casserole. So I have apple crisp with my desserts for the times I just want to make it alone, but then also as a dinner menu with the other so I always know where it is.
I like to print out recipes I find online and I figured out a good way to organize and store them. I print them out so they take up a full page and then three hole punch them. I have two thick 3-ring binders, divided with tabs to make sections. One book is just for meat recipes, I have it divided into beef, pork, chicken, and fish sections. The other book is for everything else such as salads, breads, casseroles, pasta, drinks, and of course miscellaneous. You can make any category you want to fit your needs. The binders store neatly among my other cookbooks and have eliminated the messy stack of papers I had laying around and the recipes are so easy to find now.
By Anne from Marengo, OH
I used to constantly buy cookbooks. Either the large cookbooks in the books section of the store, or the small ones near the registers. Then I discovered I could get the same recipes for free online!
Now as I'm standing in line at the registers, I scan through the books there. If I find a recipe, or a type of cooking that I'm interested in (i.e. crockpot cooking, or summer salads, or Italian cooking, whatever is on the shelf) I'll jot down the title or a word or two in a note pad I keep in my purse.
Then when I get home I get on the computer and look them up. If it's one I want to keep, I print it out. Otherwise I just copy it down and cook it. Or I'll copy/paste it into a recipe file I have created on my computer. I've saved hundreds of dollars over the years by doing this.
Once or twice a year I will go through the file I have on the computer and delete any that are no longer interesting to me. In this same file, I also type up any recipes that I have created myself and keep them there too.
By Cricket from NC
I have many "church" or "community" cookbooks, which have so many yummy recipes, however, I used to lose track of which recipe was in which book. To minimize hunting, I take a permanent marker and write on the back of the cookbook, or on the inside back cover, with the name of the recipe and what page it's on. It makes finding my favorites so much faster. Another thing I like to do is date when I use a recipe, and write a couple words about it in the book, whether it was good or bad, etc. Happy cooking!
By Pam T from Storm Lake, IA
Enter your favorite family recipes onto the ThriftyFun website for preservation in case your house ever catches on fire. Spread the recipes around; give to family members, put in safe deposit box, make copies and bury in the backyard (just joking, but you get the message).
By one.of.a.kind from AL
Editor's Note: You can use the bookmark feature to mark your favorite ThriftyFun recipes for easy access. Simply click bookmark on your recipe (or any other recipe you like) now then click the bookmarks link at the top of the page when you want to access previously bookmarked pages later. All your own submissions are also bookmarked.
I keep cheap, bright and colorful spiral journals handy by my resting chair, to have close by when looking through magazines, in case I see a recipe I think I'd like to try. This way, I don't tear up the magazine ripping out the recipe and can pass on my magazines for others to enjoy when I'm done with them. It also keeps me from trying to remember what magazine had which specific recipe in it & not having to go thru a pile of magazines to search for it.
By Terri H.
In an effort to cut down the incredible number of cookbooks I had amassed, I purposely went through each cookbook and typed out the few recipes from each that we really used and liked. I then compiled them in a 3-ring notebook with dividers (soups, entrees, desserts, etc.) and sold off at garage sales the cookbooks.
Now I only have one extra "book" where an entire cupboard was overrun with cookbooks before. I was surprised to find that, on average, each cookbook had only a couple of recipes I really wanted.
If you find that you are baking the same cookies, cakes, and other baked goods every holiday season, save them to a file on your computer by either typing them in or scanning them. When it comes time to bake, simply print off all of them. You can write on them, make notes (such as where you stored a particular cookie dough-especially if you use a neighbor's fridge) and save your cookbooks from splatters. Plus, it saves having to retrieve the recipes year after year from various cookbooks, clippings, and cards-they will all be in one place.
Here is how I save all of my recipes. I have a folder on my hard drive called Recipes (very original, doncha think? LOL). Under it are sub-folders for categories, like soups, vegan, etc. All recipes are saved here, so if I can just remember that the recipe has tomato in the title, I simply search for tomato and all the ones with tomato in their name instantly pop up.
With an advanced search, you may not even need to know "any" word in the title, because it will review all the words within the recipe and pull out all the ones that contain the word you designate, although in my case that would be too many to help if I searched for tomato. In that case, I might search for rigatoni or some other less commonly-used ingredient I knew was in my desired recipe.
Storing my recipes this way saves me hours of scanning through clippings, notebooks, recipe files, or whatever method I used in the past, and I think I've used them all, including recipe software, which costs money and has to be updated periodically.
Finally, if you're hesitant about taking up space on your hard drive (although files like this don't use much; it's programs that are space hogs), you can look for ways to store your files "in the cloud". If you do that, not only do you save hard drive space, but if you're visiting somewhere and decide to treat everyone to your special recipe of (your favorite here), you can pull that recipe up from any computer. I hope this is helpful to someone.
By Jayni from Richmond, TX
I have a hard time recalling the things for a diet and recipies I am to be working on. So one day, I collected all the recipe pages and diet sheets that I needed; some were on the computer so I printed out the important ones.
I went to a dollar store and picked up clear plastic pockets to hold each page and a duatang cover with a pocket on back page to collect new recipes and tips. Once a week, I sort them out and place the keepers in a sleeve.
So far, I have a 2 week menu and 30 recipies and 2 grocery shopping list. Most importantly, I have inspiration; ideas for exercise and switching foods to keep on track. Keeping healthy is the main idea. If we lose a few pounds, we are happy.
By Carolyn from Chilliwack, BC
When I collect a new untried recipe, I put it in a sheet cover in a thin notebook. If after trying it, I like it, I put it in a photo album that has the large peel back sheets. If I don't like it, then I just toss it. This way I know when I've tried it and I don't waste space in my recipe album.
By Pam from Davie, FL
My recipe file was too full! I like to collect good recipes. I could not find a larger recipe box so I made a larger box with a big popcorn box. The kind that have 15 bags of popcorn in it. I took an empty box, cut it so it is as deep as the index cards (a little deeper than the recipe cards). I put all my recipes it in and have room for more.
By Kathleen from Dothan, AL
I've been an avid cookbook collector for over 40 years with literally hundreds of cookbooks! Because there are special recipes that my family likes in each cookbook, I used to find myself on the floor with piles of cookbooks around me as I tried to find a specific recipe. My solution, which my family really appreciates, is I purchased a used laptop and put a recipe program on it. This laptop is dedicated to recipes and is used for nothing else. As time permitted, I would go through my cookbooks and type favorite recipes on my laptop.
To make it really easy to find special recipes, I created separate cookbooks categories within the cookbook program for the recipes (like BREAD - BAGELS, BREAD - BRAIDS and WREATHS, BREAD - BREAD MACHINE, BREAD - BUNS, BREAD - COFFEE CAKES, BREAD - CORN BREAD, BREAD - CREPES & PANCAKES, BREAD - DINNER ROLLS, etc) Each category has it's own Table of Contents.
It does take some time to type recipes into separate cookbook categories but, in the long run, the categories have saved me hundreds of hours from searching for a specific recipe. I have 383 different categories in my laptop computer book now because the search engine within the recipe program limits my categories to 100 recipes. By keeping my categories within the 100 recipe limit, I can use the search engine to find all recipes using a specific ingredient, like apples, pumpkins, etc. The search engine enables me to create different dishes with the same primary ingredient. That way I can take advantage of in season specials without feeding the same thing over and over to my family.
There's plenty of room for all the recipes I'll ever want. I set the type size as large as possible to easily read the recipes without having to be right on top of the computer. Now I can have my laptop on the counter and get things from around the room as I need them without having to go back to the laptop to see what the next ingredient is. Of course, I input my ThriftyFun recipes and other recipes I may find that I like (say in magazines) in the laptop. I'm almost half way done with my cookbooks. It's nice to know that I have thousands of recipes already on the laptop.
When I've finished going through all the cookbooks, I plan on getting a used laptop for each of my daughters and putting the recipes on each dedicated laptop. Then, long after I'm gone, they will still be able to have a part of me at their table. My girls are pleased that some day they will have all of these recipes without having to look thru all the cookbooks to find them. Some day I'm going to have to part with all the cookbooks. Some of them are very old. But I haven't figured out the best way to do that yet.
I do hope you enjoy creating your own cookbook laptop like I have. The process has given me a LOT of fun going over the recipes. Since I'm typing the recipes instead of creating them, I've also saved myself a LOT of calories too! Make sure you back up your recipes as you go along. It would be horrible to have a computer failure and lose all that work.
By Bobbie from Mesa, AZ
I really enjoy the layout for ThriftyFun's recipes and tips. It's very easy and convenient. I babysit my granddaughter on a daily basis so I don't have the time I would like on the internet or even to read my E-mail. So here is what I do.
When I open your daily tips at the end of the week I simply print out what interests me. I put it into a folder and take it to my daughter's home the next week. I read over more thoroughly and divide into tips and recipes I would like to try. The ones that get a good review get mounted on a recipe card and put into a box. The rest get tossed. This way I have a recipe box that I know all the family likes and don't have all kinds of recipe books cluttering up my precious space, Although I love to read recipe books as one of my hobbies, it's just not practical to have tons of recipe books in my kitchen.
By Katherine from Forest Lake, MN
If you are like me and have literally hundreds of recipes, I would suggest that you purchase several photo albums and place your loose recipes in there. That way they are organized and easy to find.
By Robin from Washington, IA
Editors Note: Robin is our #1 contributor of recipes for ThriftyFun. If you get our daily Recipe Newsletter, you have definitely seen some of her hundreds of recipes. Thanks, Robin!
I've managed to accumulate a lot of recipes! I'm looking for recommendations on inexpensive (possibly free?) computer software to organize and manage the recipes better. It'd be nice if I could print them out and make a shopping list, too.
I have a series of annually produced hardcover cookbooks (based upon a published periodical) but I was having difficulty in finding the recipes I wanted once I had more than 3 of the books. I perused each cookbook thoroughly, jotting down on a piece of paper, which recipes I thought we would enjoy trying along with the page number. I then taped this paper to the inside cover of the book.
It is so much easier to find what I am looking for now. When I do try a new recipe and want to keep track of it, I simply put an asterisk next to the name of the recipe. I may not remember what the name of the cornbread recipe was exactly or which yearly cookbook it was in, but with this index, I can find it almost immediately.
These are great for copying a recipe and printing it. If you don't like it pitch it out! If you have it in hand, you may be more likely to try it rather than save it to your computer, and forget about it.
To organize recipes, buy baseball card sheet protectors, and retype shorter recipes to fit in slots (18 front and back total for one sheet). For larger recipes, put in regular full size sheet protectors. Then organize according to appetizers, meat, veggies, etc.
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Here are questions related to Organizing Recipes.
I need help with printing. I get a lot of recipes sent to my email box. Some of them I like and some I don't. But some have 6 or more on 1 sheet. How do I go about printing out only a certain recipe, rather than all of them? I'm wasting paper and a lot of ink (and paper). Any suggestions please?
I print mine and put them in 3-ring binders that have tabs with categories such as vegetables, rice and potatoes, breads and muffins, cakes and cookies, etc.
When I am in the doctor's office or at the hair salon reading a magazine, I always seems to run across a recipe I like. However, when I write it down, I can never find it again. Any advice on how to keep recipes organized in your purse? I like to keep a few recipes in my purse just in case I decide to stop by the grocery store unexpectedly.
By Krista Shackleford08/07/2011
If you have a phone that has a camera feature, take a picture of the recipe. You can enlarge the photo if needed.
What is the best way to organize recipes? Do you think its easier to buy 4x6 index cards and write all the recipes on them or type them on a full size sheet of paper and cut them to fit or maybe they have some software. Please share your method.
I collect recipes. After I have tried them, I place them in one of three piles. First Pile is our favorites that will be made again and will be udated to the computer and printed out for a small three ring binder that holds our favorites. Second Pile is for recipes we haven't made up our minds about and "might" want to try again. Third Pile is one that I will never use again but family and friends are free to go through them. I keep the 2nd and 3rd piles in folders in a basket on top of the refrigerator along with menus from carry out restaurants.
I need to organize my recipes on my PC. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good TNT free cookbook or recipe software? I'd like to be able to import recipes from websites as well as email them and also be able to export to email and print. Is all that possible in any of the free or shareware programs? Thanks for any experiences you have to share.
Sherry from Georgia
By tom (Guest Post)01/04/2008
Try http://recipe.gauzza.com its free/easy to use and you can access all your recipes where ever there is an internet connection
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
I love to collect recipes. It has become a great hobby of mine. I have recipes sent to me from friends, groups, clubs etc. One extra way I get some super recipes is going right into the Manufacturer's website.
Example: Go into campbellssoup.com and just click on recipes, there are lots to choose from. More good sites are pillsbury.com/, kraftfoods.com and successrice.com. This is a great way to expand your recipe collection and get manufacturer's coupons also. And it costs nothing at all to sign up.
Your own Internet service usually has a recipe site also. I then print out what recipes I really think I will use. Use a three hole punch to put holes in the paper and put them all in a three ring binder. Use a large one because these recipes will start filling your book. Then buy page separators in any stationary department and mark what type of recipes: Chicken, Beef, Pasta, Dessert, etc. Then you will have your own homemade cookbook filled with all the recipes that you love!
By Jackie from Southern Massachussetts
I print them out as I use them and only keep a paper copy of the really good ones that I know I will use again.
I can also color-code the files and folders in Word so they are easy to find. I keep mine right on my hard drive for easy saving and then back it up occasionally. (03/22/2007)
By Lisa from Lena, WI
There are also many categories to choose from, appetizers, chicken, etc.
The recipes can be sorted by clicking, rating,alphabetically.
Check out the Reeses squares or type in 29679.
I have lost track of time and been on this site for hours.
Hope you like it. (03/22/2007)