6 Foolproof Ways to Organize Your Recipe Collection

Use one of these ideas to make sure you never lose a recipe again.

How to organize recipes, woman cooking from recipe
Photo: Getty Images

Between your aunt's famous baklava, your kids' favorite chocolate birthday cake, and the first meal you cooked with your now-spouse—your family's most cherished recipes hold meaning. Figuring out how to organize these recipes, whether in a binder of photocopied favorites or using an organizer app, will help you find them quickly and easily. Even if you maintain a box of handwritten recipes, there are simple ways to digitize them to easily share with family and friends. Follow these guidelines to curate and organize your recipes so you can spend more time cooking and less time searching.

01 of 06

Download a Recipe Organizer App

Woman using recipe organizer app while cooking in kitchen

If you find most of your recipes online, download an app like Recipe Keeper to make saving and locating them much easier. The app lets you import recipes from any website, categorize , and even scan recipes from cookbooks or magazines. If you want a recipe organizer app geared towards meal planning, try Prepear, which lets you schedule out your dinner ideas. Bonus: With your favorite recipes neatly organized on your phone, sharing that chicken curry recipe only takes a couple clicks.

02 of 06

Mark the Page

metal bookmark grommets

The next time you're browsing cookbooks and see an enticing recipe, slip on a Book Dart ($10 for 100, bookdarts.com). Made of paper-thin metal, it does the job attractively and won't fall off, wrinkle the page, or leave a mark. Book Darts come in bronze, silver, and brass, so you can color-code to distinguish recipes you have tried from those you haven't, or entrées from appetizers.

03 of 06

Create a Filing System

Illustrated 3-ring recipe binder

If you tend to save recipes from magazines as well as handwritten recipe cards, sort them into a three-ring binder. Use tab dividers and plastic page protectors for both full sheets (for pages from a magazine) and divided sheets (for 3-by-5-inch recipe cards). The page protectors will keep paper recipes protected from greasy fingers—especially that prized recipe handwritten by your great-grandmother. To make the process even easier, order a recipe binder with customized tab dividers (from $35, theillustratedlife.etsy.com).

04 of 06

Make a Kitchen Nook for Cookbooks

Woman Cooking in Kitchen with Cookbooks

Nothing personalizes a kitchen like a row of cookbooks arranged on a shelf or in a hutch. Keep a chair or a stool nearby so you have a place to sit and peruse. Avoid placing books on open shelves where they're exposed to humidity and grease, namely "over or next to the stove or over the refrigerator," advises Bonnie Slotnick of Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks in New York City. She also urges using bookends to keep books from slumping and bindings from breaking.

If your kitchen is tight on space and short on free shelves, consider adding a steel shelf with hooks that dangle below so it can do double duty as a pot rack.

05 of 06

Keep Recipes and Toss Books

Peanut Butter Ramen Recipe
Antonis Achilleos

No matter how much you love a book, you probably use only a handful of its recipes, so why not scan the ones you love, then donate the book? You can even add the scanned recipes to an organizer app or keep them organized in folders on your computer if you're not into downloading another app.

06 of 06

Ditch the Paper

upcycling magazines ideas - stack of magazines
Getty Images

If you're currently in the habit of tearing recipes from magazines, save them online instead. Most magazines (and many cookbooks, too!) have them posted online if you just do a quick Google search for a particular recipe. Then, save it online in a way that works for you—a recipe organizer app, a Pinterest board, a bookmarks tab—so you can find them on your computer or phone at another time.

At Real Simple, we put all of our recipes from the print magazine online. Simply search the site using the search bar located at the top right corner of the page.

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