Organize Your Recipes in 3 Easy Steps

A friend asked me,

How do you organize your recipes?

My honest answer was “Not well!” It’s hard to try and test new recipes and still stay on top of organizing and storing them. I do however have a system. It’s not rocket science but it works! If you’d like to try it you’ll need a couple of items:

  1. Two binders
  2. Heavy, Clear, Sheet Protectors
  3. Dividers with tabs.
  4. Large manila envelope.

Now it’s time to organize! (Sidebar: I don’t particularly enjoy this task so I try to do it while I’m doing something else! I’ve been known to spread out my recipes on the living room floor and go through them while I watch a movie or catch up on This Is Us!)

Step 1 – Manila Envelope

When I pull a recipe from a magazine or print one online I store them in a manila envelope. This is where all my untested recipes go. When I’m in the mood for something new or untried I go to the folder!

Step 2 – Temporary Binder

If the recipe is a work in progress it moves from the envelope to a small, two-inch binder with clear sheet protectors. I make notes on the recipe.  I prepare it two to three times before I’ll commit to moving it to my Family Recipe Book. I don’t waste time organizing or getting fancy with this binder. These recipes simply get tossed in a cheap sheet protector.

Step 3- Permanent Binder

The final version of the recipe goes to my largest, four-inch binder. These recipes are organized according to categories. They are as follows:

  • Appetizers
  • Bars
  • Beverages
  • Breads
  • Cakes
  • Candies
  • Canning
  • Casseroles
  • Cookies
  • Desserts
  • Donuts
  • Dressings
  • Ethnic
  • Fish (Seafood)
  • Hints (Substitutions)
  • Icings
  • Italian
  • Jams/Jelly
  • Meat
  • Miscellaneous
  • Pancakes/Waffles
  • Pies/Pastries
  • Poultry
  • Pound Cakes
  • Pudding
  • Rice
  • Salads
  • Sauces
  • Snacks
  • Soups
  • Vegetables

You’ll want to tailor your categories according to your own recipes. I could have easily combined Italian with Ethnic but we cook heavy on the Italian side. It warranted it’s own category. (Not sure what that say’s about us and donuts!)

I’m not fussy about what type of dividers or sheet protectors I use in my temporary binder but I’m slightly obsessed with these heavy-weight sheets from Avery for my big binder. They are crystal-clear (some protectors are a bit foggy) so they’re easy to read and they’re heavy enough to easily wipe clean.

Bottom line, this big ol’ book is priceless to me. In part, because my sister started it for me years ago but also because it’s a tangible reminder of the amazing women that have gone before me. Since I keep adding to it I’m not far from having to start Volume II. I’ll let you know how that all shakes out when the time comes!

That’s it friends. Nothing super creative but simple enough and practical enough to make it an attainable DoAhead habit!

Your DoAhead friend,


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