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Tips for Organizing Recipes

I LOVE to cook and bake and I enjoy trying new recipes. Unfortunately this leads to a lot of pages from magazines and newspapers, recipes scribbled on napkins and post it notes as well as recipe cards. Has anyone found a good way to organize mass amounts of recipes? I've tried file folders and a notebook (and obviously the box system isn't working).

I get inspired to try new things when I try to organize the bazillions of recipes I've accumulated - however, when I try a good one - and then want to cook it again - I can't find it. The piles of recipes are intimidating and overwhelming, but throwing them ALL out and starting over isn't an option! Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Lovinladyd from Prosperity, SC


Tips for Organizing Recipes

The photo album thing works great! One of my granddaughters and I made her mom (my daughter) a recipe book for valentines day. She loves to cook and doing this with my grandchild gave her the interest in cooking too. At 10 she's going to be a natural in the kitchen. Some magazines come with recipes that are already on index cards with pictures and all. Those were the kinds that we used in "our recipe book". (06/13/2006)

By PeggyLee

Tips for Organizing Recipes

Why not buy a box of sheet protectors and a duo tang or binder at your local office supply store. Just pop the recipes in the sheet protectors and "file" in the binder. (06/13/2006)

By Judy two dogs

Tips for Organizing Recipes

I use egg-crate type file boxes (a true recipe-holic, I'm now up to three crates) with hanging folders for the major categories and regular manila folders for sub-categories. When I find a recipe that sounds good, I just toss it in the file--quick and easy. It eagerly accepts magazine clippings, restaurant napkins, backs of envelopes--whatever form or condition the recipe is in. When I actually make it, if I like it, that's when it goes into my computer recipe file, where I can adapt or comment to my heart's content. If I don't like it, of course, it goes into the "file" under my sink. Every once in awhile, I use a little TV time to go through the files to dispose of duplicates or things that no longer sound as good as they did at first. I'm also in the process of dumping any recipe that calls for ingredients that I don't ordinarily keep in my pantry. (06/13/2006)


By czechens

Tips for Organizing Recipes

Judy two dogs idea is a good one and I use that for the many recipes I print from the internet. I print on both sides of the paper and then slip ea into a clear sheet protector. I have quite a few of these binders and designated ea one with a different category. I have one for beef, chicken/poultry, sausage/pork, desserts, veggies/side dishes and salads. Basically I have made my own cookbooks with the recipes I really like or like the sounds of and want to try. After I try a recipe and decide we like it well enough to keep it, I write notations right on the sheet. I might write what our reaction was, how the kids ate it, if I made any changes, etc. It doesn't stay in the binder if it's only so-so;

Also I have a recipe box with many cards written up with our favorites....some of the cards are from family and friends.

I am going to weed out my large cookbook "collection" as I find I mostly made one or two recipes in ea book and no sense in storing so many. That is why I like the binders because then you can keep just the recipes that you yourself have chosen to be family favorites! (06/13/2006)

By Debbie52

Tips for Organizing Recipes

My way to be more organized with cooking is as follows. I write down all recipes I've used or want to try in numbered spiral index cards. Number is on the top right hand outside corner. Then I took the back page of a school spiral 8 1/2 x 11 paper and wrote down the favorites and ones I want to try with the number book they are in. This makes for a quick location. (06/13/2006)

By Lori from Marion AR

Tips for Organizing Recipes

I have

- a folder of recipes to try


- a notebook of recipes to keep.

The notebook is divided into "meat main dishes," "one dish meals with meat," "meatless main dishes," "sides," and "party food (desserts and dips and stuff)." When I try a recipe, I write down the date I tried it and leave it out on the counter until after dinner. If it turns out good, I move it to the "keep" notebook and put it in a page protector in the appropriate section. If the recipe needs something (more salt, less water, whatever), I write that on the recipe next to the date and put it back in the "try" folder. If it isn't any good, it goes in the "circular file."

If I want to use a recipe out of a cookbook, I print it using our scanner so it can go into my "system."

But the key to any system is to actually DO it. Your own systems might work fine, you just have to put the recipes where they belong when you're done. (06/14/2006)

By Allison

Tips for Organizing Recipes

When I find a recipe I like I will type it into my computer; I use the master cook program. I then put in the description part whether I like it or I haven't tried it. Once I find out that the recipe is a go; (the program will print out different sizes.) I print out the size to fit a rolodex card.

My favorite way of organizing recipes and one of the easiest is to just roll your recipes. You can buy tabs to fit into your Rolodex and categorize anyway you want. I even have a favorite section. You can organize this system so easy just by pulling a card and putting it where you want in a snap. Just remember if you are using just your computer for recipes to always back up to a disk, it's never more frustrating to have to start all over again. It might sound silly but I back-up to a disk and put it in my safe place. We had a house fire a while back and we lost everything. Trying to remember all those recipes you loved to cook over the years is something you never get back. (06/14/2006)

By biffy62

Tips for Organizing Recipes

I saw a great idea for your recipes on a crafty channel. Put them on index cards, cover them with laminate on both sides, punch a hole thru the corner and put a key ring on it. You can easily hang it up in your kitchen and when you take it down to use it the laminate keeps your recipe from getting ruined. AS far as the ones on your computer, use this freeware.


It has a recipe box on there for you, absolutely free. You can organize your recipes very easily and it it so easy to add recipes to it. One thing that I do on it though, I don't type each ingredient in like they do, I just copy and paste entire recipe and add it into the recipe slot. You can then look up your recipes by category or who gave you the recipe. I have had mine for about 5 months and have almost 900 recipes on it so far. Also when I want to share I can just copy and paste and email to whomever or even copy the disk and give someone a whole disk full of my recipes. Also easy to delete one that you try and dont like. It also has a print feature, in case you want them hard copy. Hope this helps. (06/14/2006)

By micksgirl

Tips for Organizing Recipes

I am a recipe-holic....I have thousands...and use the loose-leaf binder method. Several years ago I was fortunate enough to retrieve about about 30 loose-leaf binders that were going to be thrown away at my office....these have the clear plastic on the front & down the spine (good thing is I didn't have to pay for them). I labeled each one (Appetizers, Breads, Candy, Cakes & Frostings, etc.). I my home "office" I have floor-to-ceiling shelves along 1-1/2 walls & on another wall I have a six-for double-door bookcase (that my dad build when I was a little girl). All of these are full of cookbooks. I have also printed a couple of hundred from the internet & separated them into categories for the binders, My favorites I put in sheet protectors, the others just put in the binders. Doing this makes it fairly simple to find a recipe I'm looking for....I always make notes by any recipe I try. (06/14/2006)

By Rubyred

Tips for Organizing Recipes

I tried putting my favorite recipes on MasterCook, but this has not been a perfect answer. My daughter is almost always on the computer and is in the middle of a test when I need to peruse my recipes for inspiration.

The other problem is that on the few occasions when the computer broke (one of which was when Microsoft kept telling me to load Works, but wouldn't accept my legit disc all of a sudden), so I couldn't access the information.

I have a bookcase with labeled folders and these contain recipes that look interesting. If I have prepared a recipe, I put a star next to the title with comments (or throw it out).

The best recipes are typed or scanned into the computer and next to the title I write, "PRINTED." They are printed out and placed in plastic cover sheets which I keep handy in the kitchen in binders, grouped according to categories. These are also where I get the ones from internet sources. For I while every recipe that looked interesting was printed out and discovered that we were going through paper and ink at a prodigious rate and had nowhere to put the papers except to stack them. This became annoying and truth be told, when I got around to searching the pile, many were discarded.

I don't want to waste paper nor ink, so I decided not to keep on re-printing favorite recipes. And after having had my share of printer problems, don't trust them any more than I trust my computer.

All of my favorite recipes are backed up on a flash drive, too. This is because I have lost my recipes twice over the years and do not want to take any chances. One was due to a virus and the other due to a malfunction in my recipe software (also many years ago).

I also have hundreds of cookbooks and as soon as my allergenic fussy eater child goes off to college, I am going to start using them and getting rid of those that don't suit.


By cookwie

Tips for Organizing Recipes

I buy .99 cent photo albums and put my recipes in them. These albums are small enough that you can put one in your purse to take grocery shopping. One of my albums is just for special occasion recipes, another for favorite desserts, and another for every day meals. (07/23/2006)

By SusannL

Tips for Organizing Recipes

I just type mine into the computer. Unfortunately, for the longest I didn't back up my computer so I lost a lot of good ones. Learned my lesson on that one. When I save it I type in like APPT (appetizer), DESS (dessert), MAIN (main dish), SAL (salad), etc. and then put it into the appropriate file that I have created for that type of recipe.


By TonyaG

Tips for Organizing Recipes

I never had/have the time to transpose them from books, so I have a wonderful and neat book shelf/look of my favorite recipe books, best ones in front, back-ups in back. I have them right beside my kitchen table on a "buffet" I created from a double mahogany dresser, topped with glass which
serves as a good resting place for things in/out of the microwave. I don't think I can improve upon the
books I've chosen to keep. Good luck to all who have extra time/patience/faith in the computer to
type/store them all in a memory bank/or on a disc. God bless you while choosing the healthiest ones, as well. : ) (10/07/2006)

By lyndagayle62

Tips for Organizing Recipes

I use the binder method, however, I like to keep things simple for myself so that binder is my only location for "loose" recipes. The binder has a pocket in the front where loose notes, packaging that had an interesting recipe on it, recipe cards that I get from our local produce stand (handwritten recipes using the produce that they sell! - so sweet and down home...), etc. For the recipes that I print from the internet, I use the protective plastic sleeves. This way, when it comes time to bake/cook, I just bring it with me to the counter top, and wipe clean before putting back in the binder (if needed..) For the recipe cards obtained from magazines (like MS Living), I use photo pages that go into a binder (obtained from staples). I get multiple sizes so that I have pockets for all types of cards. I put two in each (back to front). Then of course, there is a pocket in the back of the binder which is where I put recipes and ideas that I want to try this week (or for an upcoming occasion.

I like everyone's ideas, perhaps I might try the ring type card system to bring to the store in my purse to pick up the ingredients (I often forget one or two key items....). This might make for less need of creative substitutions! (02/19/2007)


Tips for Organizing Recipes

I have a collection of "fundraiser" collaboration type cookbooks which started with a few that were my grandmother's. At one point I had thousands of recipes that I had printed off the computer "to try" and never did so I just got rid of the whole lot. Now I am a lot more selective about the ones that sound good that I keep.

My system may sound complicated but it's really not. I have a word document named "recipes" and I also have one called "index". I copy and paste the ones that I want to keep from websites, email, etc into my recipe document. I have my index separated into typical cookbook categories and when I add a new recipe to the recipe file I then go to the index and put the title under the heading in alphabetical order, followed by the page number it is on in the recipe document.

It only takes about a minute to do both and works out a lot better than the print it off and not use it strategy I was using. The "clipped" recipes and ones from my favorite cookbooks I type it into the recipe document directly and add to the index.

I like simple easy recipes so it doesn't take long to type them in. I have printed my recipe file once and it's about 25 pages long, printed on back and front. After I add about that many more pages I will print it again and give the original to my mother. I own a binding machine so I have my own cookbook that only contains recipes that are tried and true for our family or ones that sound appetizing to us.

At one point I did have an accordion file for the paper recipes with the categories of a cookbook as sections and that was the best system I had before I started my current one because I could just drop the recipes in their categories. (09/10/2007)

By taginmom

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