How to Create an Organized Recipe Collection

The trick to recipe organization is to find a system that works for you. These three methods are the most popular options out there, and are guaranteed to turn your recipe clippings into a deliciously organized collection!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

The trick to keeping recipes organized is to find a system that works for you. These three methods are the most popular options out there, and turn your recipe clippings into a deliciously organized collection! #recipeorganization #howtoorganizerecipes #recipebook #recipebinder

Recipes seem to attract disorganization. Hand-written cards passed down from grandma, folders full of magazine tear-outs, dozens of cookbooks from your bridal shower….oh, and hundreds of recipes you’ve probably saved on Pinterest and then totally forgot about.

Let’s face it—there are more recipes out there then you could ever make in a lifetime, yet we somehow hang on to them all…just in case. Because….SOMEDAY.

When my own collection spilled out onto another shelf in my kitchen, I knew it was time to do something. Thankfully, I love fixing messes and putting everything in order, so I was actually excited to tackle this project. Although I have to admit—hundreds of recipes can be a little overwhelming!

I eventually created The Printable Recipe Binder Kit to wrangle my own recipes into submission, but the truth is, a pre-designed kit isn’t going to work for everyone. That doesn’t mean you should give up though. If you want seamless meal planning and cooking time in the kitchen, an organized recipe collection will help immensely.

In this post, I’m going to teach you exactly how to start and complete your own recipe organization project, all while finding a solution that works for YOU. As you’ll quickly find out, there are dozens of options to choose from—the key is finding one you’ll love and use long-term!

1. Declutter Your Recipe Collection

The first step in any organization project is to pare down what you currently have. This eliminates overwhelm and turns your remaining recipes into a much more manageable project. This means you should:

  • Be ruthless and get rid of any cookbooks you don’t use. This one was painful for me because I love my cookbooks! But I felt so much better knowing they weren’t taking up precious cabinet space anymore.
  • Comb through all loose pages and make two separate piles. One for recipes you know you won’t make {for instance, if they have ingredients you never buy}, and one for recipes you would like to try in the future. When in doubt, throw it out. Remember, we’re trying to minimize the clutter!

BONUS TIP: For cookbooks you want to keep, place an index sheet inside the front cover, with a list of pages you reference. Or, mark those pages with a cute page flag instead.

2. Organize Your Recipes

Now it’s time to get your recipes in order. I cannot stress this enough, but the most important aspect of recipe organization is finding a system that works for you! 

There are a lot of options out there, but you want an organizational system that works the way your brain works. Otherwise, you’ll have to do the whole thing over again in a few months—yuck. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before trying anything:

  • Do you like using technology {phones, tablets, or computers} in the kitchen? If yes, then an e-solution might be your best option. If not, then you shouldn’t even consider them. Even though they look fancy and work well for others, it’s not going to be something that works for you.
  • Are you inspired by pretty things? For some, function in the kitchen is the most important. It doesn’t matter if the recipes are a combination of cards, clippings, printouts, and pages, just as long as they are organized. For others, it may be more important to have everything look coordinated and pretty. Depending on which side you fall on, your preferred system will be different.
  • How much time are you willing to spend? This is common hangup with any organizational adventure. You want to get organized, but are overwhelmed by the time it might take. Remember, you want a system that fits your personality. Time is a factor, but shouldn’t be the only one.

Now let’s look at some recipe organization solutions…


In today’s digital age, we really don’t really NEED cookbooks anymore. There are more recipes you can get for free on the internet than you could get in any collection of cookbooks. Not only that, but you can find most of these recipes in one spot—Pinterest!

The key to rocking a Pinterest recipe catalog is to create boards that makes sense to you. It doesn’t matter whether you organize by “Main Dish” “Side Dish” and “Desserts”, or “Beef” “Chicken” and “Cookies”. Pick categories that you’ll know instantly where to look when you create your weekly meal plan.

One of the cool NEW things with Pinterest is their “Tried it” button. Whenever you click on that button, it’s a reminder that you have tried that recipe, and you’ll be able to see any comments you had about it.

Other digital recipe organization solutions are:

  • Evernote – Although not specifically created for recipes, you can still “clip” recipes from the internet or type in your own. Organize each recipe into Notebooks based on type of dish, and access on any device!
  • Plan to Eat – Plan to Eat is an app that helps you meal plan AND stores all your recipes. Once your recipes are imported, you can drag and drop each recipe into a calendar and plan a whole month’s worth of meals.
  • Paprika – This app is specifically made to store and curate your recipes. It will even generate a shopping list for you!

The Printable Recipe Binder Kit:

I’m not someone who’s going to use my iPad in the kitchen {at least not very often} and I very much want my organization methods to look neat and cute. That’s why I created The Printable Recipe Binder Kit.

I’m able to print off recipe cards that look beautiful, then copy my recipes over to them. I can also enter them in on my computer if I don’t want to write by hand. Not only do I have an ADORABLE binder that has all my favorite recipes organized, I’m much less overwhelmed when I sit down to do my meal planning!

If you want to learn more about The Printable Recipe Binder Kit and see photos of what it looks like inside, head on over to this introductory post for more information.

A Simple Recipe Notebook:

If the Printable Recipe Binder sounds like too much work, and you’d rather have a physical notebook over a digital one, then your solution is to buy a notebook, a package of sheet protectors, divider tabs, and a glue stick.

You’ll want to grab your stack of favorite recipes, whether they are from a magazine, cookbook, or 3×5 card, and glue them onto sheets of paper. Slip these papers into sheet protectors, and organize by category. It’s a simple solution and should only take you a few days to finish, especially since you aren’t creating an entirely new system…you’re just organizing what you already have.

This is the system I first used because it was super easy to do. But I have to say I’m in love with The Printable Recipe Binder Kit because it just looks so pretty, and pretty gets me every time!

3. Have a system for new recipes going forward

Once your recipes are organized, you’ll need a system in place for any new ones you want to add to the list. The last thing you want to do is surround yourself with a cluttered mess again. This is where the “want-to-try” Recipe Folder comes in!

This folder holds all looseleaf cards and printouts you want to hang onto, so you can easily incorporate them into your Weekly Meal Plan rotation. I usually add 1-2 new recipes a week so it’s not too overwhelming. If the recipe is “meh”, I throw it away. But if it gets raving reviews and is something I’ll make again, I add it directly to my Recipe Binder.

Whatever you do, avoid creating yet another recipe pile. Take 3-5 minutes to type or write out your recipe right away, then toss your looseleaf paper in the trash. One of the keys to staying organized is doing those quick tasks now versus later!

I’ll be honest—organizing your recipes isn’t always a quick project, and I think that’s why so many of us tend to put it off.

But it’s so worth it. I know exactly where to find all my favorite recipes, and an organized system inspires me to be much more creative in the kitchen. Chaos might be the easiest solution now, but organization is much better long term!

Which recipe organization solution is your favorite?


Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. I will cook using a recipe on my smart phone in a pinch but I really prefer using a recipe card. The tricky thing for me is I don’t want to write it out on the card until I’ve made it a few times and consider it a “keeper.” I like your idea of creating a process for going forward.

    1. Thanks, Holly! No matter what system works best for you, having that process in place for trying new recipes and then merging them into your permanent collection is the key to keeping everything organized.

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