A cook I am. An organizer I am not.

My collection of recipes that I’m going to make is getting a little out of control.

Seriously people, I’ve got recipes from the web pinned, I’ve got a binder, a basket, and a folder full of recipes I’ve pulled out of various magazines, and I’ve got a bazillion cookbooks earmarked, paper clipped, and full of little pieces of paper standing in as reminders that there’s a recipe in there just waiting to be made.

Really and truly, it’s starting to take over my kitchen.


I have tried to organize them in the past but the system(s) I’m using don’t seem to stick. Slowly, I add recipes, things get jumbled and I’m back to square one. I’m looking not just organize them but also a system to start actually using them.

So…..I’m looking to you for help.

How am I going to organize all of these recipes? When and how am I going to starting cooking them? One of you must have a system you’re using that you’d be willing to share. Please leave links, ideas, suggestions in the comments below and PLEASE for the love of this mess, hook a sister up.


I pay in cookies. Or cake. Or jam.

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42 Responses to How Should I Organize All My Recipes?

  1. Evin Cooper says:

    Firsts thing I do is google each one and if it’s online somewhere, I bookmark it and toss the paper copy….

    That’s as far as I’ve gotten.

  2. Taylor Hanton says:

    After I look through my food magazines, I cut out the recipes that have made my mouth water….and then I file them according to “cookies, bars, cupcakes”; “desserts”, “salads”, “sides”, “pasta”, etc. and put them in an accordian file I keep in one of my cupboards in the kitchen. I know it is ancient to save paper…but I figure it is already there and then I have the picture too. It is helpful when I am hungry for pasta…to just look through my “pasta” or “sauce” file. Then at least I don’t have piles of magazines around… But I suppose that is just a solution to part of the problem, since my cookbooks look similiar to yours ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. If you figure it out let me know. I’ve got the same problem.

  4. Bree says:

    So…I’m horrible at this too, but my mom has started using binders with sheet protectors & either adding a recipe & 3-hole punching it (one printed from the Internet) or putting it in a sheet protector (like one that’s been ripped from a mag). OR you could laminate each one & then 3-hole pinch it & add it. (cheap if u have your own laminator, which if u don’t, your should own one, it’s changed my life! Lol!)
    Then she has a binder for each type…cookies, main courses, salads, etc…

    Binders could be any size-those ones in your picture are too cute not to use!

    How are those suggestions??

    You could also color code your post-it’s in your cookbooks …green for salads, red for desserts, etc… That way you know right where to go.

    I’m all about suggestions & organization gear, but I have a hard time following through with my own shiz!

    Good luck!

  5. Maria says:

    I wish I had an easy answer for you but I am not organized when it comes to recipes either. I do keep a notebook for my own ideas/creations, but all of my other recipes I want to try are a mess!

  6. Renee says:

    I got a big 3-ring binder, a bunch of sheet protectors, and tabs that stick out past the sheet protectors. I sorted the recipes by categories, taped the recipes to paper and put them in the sheet protectors. I labeled the tabs and put them all in the binder. You may need to use more than one big binder if you have too many recipes. This was the best solution to for me because I like to save the original recipe as I cut it out or as given to me.

  7. I have the same problem too! I SO need help with this!

  8. Rivki Locker says:

    With the exception of my vast collection of cookbooks (close to 100) which I don’t organize at all, everything else I come across is organized electronically. If I find it in a magazine, I scan it or shoot a photo. If I find it online I clip it. And all my electronic recipes go into Evernote. It’s an AMAZING notetaking / organizing tool that I couldn’t live without. Even if I scan or photograph things, it actually indexes all the ingredients so I can search by ingredient (or any other word in the recipe). It’s a lifesaver for me. Oh, did I mention that it’s free???
    Feel free to email me with questions. rivkilocker at gmail dot com.

  9. I do the same thing Renee does with the big binder, sheet protectors, and tabs with different categories. Works like a charm for my magazine cut-outs, print-outs, and cookbook tear-outs! Best of luck in finding a system that works for you.

  10. Erin says:

    Looks like you have a lot of delicious stuff to cook!
    I’m probably a little too organized…I have a spreadsheet organized into categories and have the title and source of each recipe listed in its respective category. I actually went a step further and added ingredients in, so everything is in one place when I’m making my grocery list…but this is probably a little to insane for most people!
    I’m working on learning to live with disorganization though and know that I can’t have every recipe I want to make perfectly organized! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I’d go paperless if I were you. I like the idea of finding out if they are online (like one of the comments above). Many of them are, and then you should use delicious to store them. That’s what I use at least. You can file them online by ingredient then when you have an ingredient you need to use you can just go to your delicious account and search your saved recipes by that item. It may take a while but I love have no papers around. Here is my delicious account in case you want to see how its set up-

  12. Kristi says:

    I’m excited to see other solutions. My current one is arecipe box that tried and true recipes go into, the other is a folder of ripped out/saved recipes. Once I try them, they move to the recipe box. My sister is in the process of saving them all to her ipad but that would take me years! I know there are also software programs that would enable you to sort and categorize and make lists from, but you have to enter them all manually. Best to you!

  13. Ami says:

    Kelly, What I did after looking at a mess much like the one you have pictured is this: I got several loose leaf binders and a three whole punch, also dividers. My binders are marked dinners and lunches, breakfasts, desserts with candies and cookies,and finally misc. In each binder the first page is a list of the recipes that I have in books and want to try with the name of the book and page number. This rid my cookbooks of sticky notes. If I find a recipe on the web that I want to try, I print it out, punch it and add it to the appropriate binder. This has worked like a charm and didn’t take much time or money to complete.
    I hope this will help. Ami

  14. Mikki says:

    I second the seeing if they are online. That will cut down some of it. Use pinterest to keep a board of recipes by category and this way you can see the picture and title of the recipe and click through to the website for the recipe itself and print it out if you need a rough paper copy for shopping or in the kitchen while you make it. And then a binder for the rest of the recipes you cant find online.

  15. Tracey says:

    Looks like you have some great suggestions already. I have a huge stack of recipes from magazines and ones I downloaded off websites too. I look at my stack everyday with intentions to organize them. This is my plan. I am going to go through and purge similars or duplicates, then insert them into sheet protectors and into a 3 ring binder and categorize each section. I suggest the sheet protectors because if they are loose and just hole punched, it is easy to tear out the recipes from the binder rings (been there done that). Happy organizing!

  16. kimster says:

    I don’t buy cookbooks anymore because I’ve been cooking so long that I rarely ever look up a recipe in them anymore… even if i HAD to HAVE that particular cookbook.

    That’s because any recipe that can be had (or something very close to it) IS available on the internet! I have lots of recipes saved online and on my computer now.

    I have lots of recipes torn from magazines and stored in a files but I have started going through them, being brutally honest with myself and getting rid of the ones I know in my heart I will never make, even though they look sooooooo good.

    It’s time for me to cut the clutter. One day I’ll declutter (okay, START to declutter) the recipes on my computer as well!

  17. Janelle says:

    Try out TasteBook. You would need to type the recipes into the system, unless they are from a book/website that TasteBook is linked to, but the end result is a fabulous cookbook, completely tailored to you, and the recipes you love. I have made a few as gifts and love them!

  18. Consider how and when you go back to your piles of recipes/books, that may help. You can organize them anyway you want, but it needs to jive with your creative process.

    Piles and piles of books and magazines sit around my house, and at my office at work. I finally came to the conclusion that the answer of how I needed to organize my recipes and inspriration needs to correspond with why I look back for them.

    Most of my cooking and baking is a la minute inspiration, from something I see that week or that day…I rarely look back into these piles, so sadly they just sit! After I realized I don’t look back, my question of how to organize became clear…don’t bother…

  19. Vivian says:

    For my cookbooks when I first go through them I have a piece of paper beside me and I write down the recipes and page # I like and stick it in the front of the book. So if I’m looking for a recipe I pull out the paper and scan it and when I make a recipe on the paper I write down if I liked it or not (very good, yuck etc..). This eliminates the papers sticking out of the cookbook and makes it easier to find a recipe instead of going to each individual page, I normally rip my pages when I do that. I have a 3 ring binder also that is not working, I like the accordion style file system, I may try that. good luck.

  20. joyce hurt says:

    i use photo album sheets for mine. i buy the sheet that holds 6 4×5 pictures (3 in front and 3 in back). after i try the recipe if i like it i then put it on my comp and print it out and back into its slot it goes. i made family recipes books for my sisters, daughter, niece and granddtr at christmas using the single photo books that you use to get when you developed pics. you can still buy the single photos books at walmart. hope this helps

  21. L Bradford says:

    I am seeing this post many months after the original, but if you have not yet found the solution, you might think about using the Pepperplate application – I would give it a 5-star recommendation.

    I have over 500 cookbooks and have collected recipes from magazines and friends for years. I started with ring binders (multiple) filled with recipes, migrated through two or three desktop software applications and created online recipe boxes with several sites. I wasn’t really satisfied with any of them.

    I was looking for a solution that would allow me to continue collecting recipes from the internet, but to easily copy in my older recipes from my computer and clippings and to scan favorites from cookbooks (including photos), without worrying about public posting and copyright. I am an avid pinner and love Pinterest for collecting visual foodie pictures, but I wanted ready access to the actual recipes.

    With PepperPlate I am building an online version of my private collection that I can access whereever I want and can share copies of individual recipes with friends if I choose.

    Entry is incredibly easy and the application auto formats the recipes in a clean, crisp look. For larger recipe sites like Epicurious you click on a PepperPlate button in your browser and the recipe enters by itself. All you have to do do is to add your custom tags to retrieve the recipes as you wish. For small blogs, you copy and paste.

    Pepperplate also has an excellent shopping list component that autosorts the list and can be customized by store, plus a good menu planner.

    When I first started using the application, there were a few things that I thought could work better, but their development responded really quickly to suggestions and the app now works pretty much ideally for me. The one thing I would like to see are bigger photos, which they say they are considering for future versions.

    Recipes I collect on the internet, I pin in Pinterest and then easily enter the actual recipes into PepperPlate. With the short-life span of some blogs, it gives me a more permanent copy, the same way as if I printed and stored it in a ring binder.

    I have no connection with PepperPlate other than being a really, really satisfied user. I would encourage you to give it a try. It could be what you are looking for.

  22. Valerie says:

    Hey there,

    I have the same problem. I just found this cool site: 52 weeks to organize your home. The first few I have read are really good. She also has a week dedicated to organizing recipes. Maybe she has ideas that will help you. The page link is:

    Good luck. I’m organizing too.

    Valerie from Texas

  23. Karen says:

    I used to do all the cutting out recipes out of magazines etc Now I scan them in and they are all stored on my computer. Now I just need an i-pad to use in the kitchen.

  24. I am actually researching this now. I am going into the professional organizing business and I know so many people have this same issue. There just doesn’t seem to be an allround good way to conquer this. So far this is what I do –
    I keep a notebook with recipes I want to try out of the million cookbooks I own so I can easily access the page number – I divide this by category such as desserts, main dishes etc. I also keep a three ring binder which is divided by category (same categories as my notebook) and paste in things I printed out from the net or found in magazines or the newspaper. When I have tried and true family just loves them recipes I go one step farther and keep it in a file in word I call my family recipes. I print this out and keep it in a binder as well. I know huh? so many steps! There has to be a better way and I hope to find it! LOL

  25. nancy says:

    Try It’s pretty awesome for recipes because you can clip them from the web, photograph them with your phone camera, etc. You can tag them by category as you collect them. You can search them on your smart phone (while you’re at the grocery store).

    I still tear pages out of magazines and always have a pile of papers, but evernote is quickly becoming my ‘go to’ recipe organizer.

    Oh yea … makes it easy to share recipes with friends too.

  26. Deborah Christian says:

    Do you have an iPad? I have “Recipe Box” app on my iPad and I store, rate my recipes there. It is very user friendly in that it copies and paste recipes from the Internet with great ease. It will also allow you to use the iPad to view your recipe while cooking. Just prop it up and it stays on while preparing your meal. You can search for a recipe given , name, calories cook time, ratings, source, etc.

    I just used it to copy many of your recipes. It is easy and convenient when I travel to my sisters and prepare meals with her.

    It takes the initial time to put them into the app but helps to cut down on paper.

    It works for me. I am enjoying your wonderful recipes.

    Thanks so much

  27. Melanie says:

    I had that very issue with my recipes collected over the years and so had an online software website designed a few months ago called Dish Dish, where you can save all your favorite recipes complete with pictures and comments and notes, share easily with your friends and family, or share across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. I finally have my hundreds of recipes organized in one place and I can add new ones all the time as I find ones to try from magazines or online websites. It’s a great way to share family recipes, too, across the distances between family members. We’re in the process of developing our app now for the iphone/ipad, but the site is mobile already and easy to use on any mobile device at this time.

  28. Trina says:

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like
    yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% sure. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  29. Jade says:

    Bhaha I used to have that problem too but have now found a good way on how to organise and sort. Use display pocket books for ure recipes! Its soo much easier than a binder because all you have to do is just slip in the recipe page and thats it ure done.

  30. Lydia says:

    I love Evernote (someone else mentioned it here). I love that I can scan or photograph anything and search by any ingredient. It is also accessible across multiple platforms – phone, table, computer, online.

  31. Val Stevens says:

    I have a brand new “Neat Desk” for scanning and then organizing with their software. I have 2 whole bookcases of cookbooks and magazines marked just like yours and they aren’t any help if I can’t find what I need. So that’s my major project for 2015.

    I have to “sort” into groups….ie: fish, beef, chicken, pork, etc. vegetables…ie: brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, zucchini casseroles….breakfast, vegetarian.

    I should mention that I have only one rule when I pick a recipe. If it takes more than 20 minutes “hands on” time and more than 6 ingredients, I just won’t cook it. I don’t mind baking for an hour or using the slow cooker, but I personally won’t devote any more than 20 minutes. Steaming in the microwave or stove top is great and I use my rice cooker a lot. Brown rice is great in all kinds of things. Also, I’m diabetic so I try to limit sweets and some carbs like potatoes. I make lots of soups in the winter and generally they are slow cooked or simmered on the stove for a long time. Yum.

  32. StanFL says:

    How you organize should depend on how you use it. Otherwise it’s organization for the sake of organization… I like to write about the results of my cooking new recipes, and variations I’ve tried and substitutions I used and the effects. So I make a paper copy of all recipes, 3hole punch them, and file them in one of a set of binders, along with dividers. Then I can go back and see what I did last time, and maybe certainly NOT do that again! Family reactions to the taste are recorded as well, which helps me figure out what to make.
    All my recipes come from the internet. I read cookbooks for fun, but if I find something interesting in one of them I google the basic idea, get several webpages related to it, and pick and choose what I like to make the first draft recipe. I save it, print it, hole it, file it, and cook from it, then comment with date about what happened.

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