Monday, March 20, 2023

The Easiest Way to Organize All of Your Recipes

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I spent much of 2022 organizing my recipes once and for all, and now that I have a good system down, I thought I’d share it with all of you in case you’re stumped trying to figure out the best way like I was for so long.

Prior to organizing all of my recipes, I had a recipe box where I kept all of my recipes hand written on index cards, I had a recipe binder that my Momma made for me with all of her recipes before I got married, I had a massive stack of recipe books, I had a huge stack of loose papers of recipes that I’d printed from the internet, I had links to recipes saved in my notes app on my phone, and I had recipes saved on Instagram and Pinterest and TikTok.

Recipes everywhere, y’all.  Whew.

Having recipes all over creation like that was really hard to keep up with, so I knew I needed to come up with a way to get them all organized.  Trying to figure out how to organize all of them was daunting, though, so I procrastinated for years, but ultimately, I realized that the quickest and easiest way to get it done was just to organize all of them in a massive binder. 

I’m going to share the supplies that I used next, but first, some notes.  I used sheet protectors to house each of the recipes.  This protects them from splatters while you’re cooking.  Since I used sheet protectors, I had to purchase the extra wide version of the dividers with tabs… otherwise the recipes in the sheet protectors cover the tabs, and that’s just annoying.

Then, since I bought the extra wide dividers with tabs, I also had to purchase the extra wide binder.  Otherwise, the tabs would hang out of the side of the binder which is also annoying. 

So now that you have those little notes, here’s what I purchased for this project…


Heavy Duty 2-inch Extra Wide Binder

Avery Extra Wide Ready Index Dividers, 10 Tabs

Sheet Protectors

Recipe Card Sheet Protectors

Avery File Folder Labels

Black Sharpie


Setting Up the Binder

Once I had all of my supplies, the first thing I did was decide on the categories for my dividers.  I had a set of 10 tabs, so I was able to have 10 categories, and I decided on the following:

  1. Main
  2. Crockpot
  3. Soup
  4. Breakfast
  5. Sides
  6. Bread
  7. Lunches
  8. Appetizers
  9. Desserts
  10. Drinks

Your categories may look a little different than mine, but that’s the beauty of this binder… you can customize it specifically for your needs.  You could go with five dividers and tabs, or eight, or even 16 or 20.  I know “lunches” isn’t a traditional category, but I’m using this section as a place to house recipes for my easy lunches that I make since I work from home every day.  I tend to get in a rut and eat the same thing over and over, and by having this category with all of my lunch ideas, I feel like I eat more of a variety.

Anyway, once I had decided on my categories, I set up the binder – I put all of the dividers in there, I wrote all of the categories on the folder labels using the Sharpie, and I put the folder labels on the coversheet.  The reason I used folder labels instead of writing directly on the coversheet is so I can pull them off if I need to change the categories in the future.

Then I put all of the recipes into sheet protectors, and I added the recipes (in their sheet protectors) to their respective categories.  Since all of my personal recipes were written on recipe cards, I stuck those in recipe card sheet protectors, and all of the others were added to traditional full-page sheet protectors.  (Side note, my Momma's White Chicken Chili recipe below is one of my favorite things to eat everrrr!)

I have several favorites recipes that I make from recipe books, so I went through and photocopied those to get them added to my binder, too.  I tend to forget about the recipes in my recipe books, so having them in my binder is going to help me remember to use them.  And going forward, any time I try a new recipe from a book and we like it, I’ll photocopy it and add it to the binder. 

I also spent some time printing my favorite recipes that I had saved on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok and getting those filed away in the binder as well.  Some of them were able to be printed directly from the internet, but some of them had to be typed up first and then printed.  I’m actually still working on this part of the project.  

I also had a big batch of recipes that I’d printed over the years that we’ve never tried, so I organized all of those by category type and stuck them in the pocket of the inside cover of the binder.  Once I make those recipes, I’ll either a) file them in their respective sections of the binder in sheet protectors if they are winners, or b) toss them if they’re not worthy of making again.  There’s no reason to keep recipes that you know you’ll never make again!

And that’s it, y’all!  While it would be lovely to have all of the recipes typed up and organized in the same format, that would take foreverrrr, and I know I would never keep up with it as new recipes came in, so instead, I’m just taking the more efficient route and I’m printing them directly from the source or photocopying straight from the recipe books… it’s much more manageable that way! 

Now every single recipe that we love is right here in this binder, organized by category, and it has made meal planning soooo much faster.  Prior to having this system, I was having to scroll through my saved sections of Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, I was rifling through my recipe box, I was going through my recipe binder, and I was scouring my recipe books… it was not efficient whatsoever.  I feel that by having them all in one place, I’m now cooking more of a variety of foods, and meal planning is much less stressful!

Happy Monday, y’all!


  1. I put my lose recipes into a binder too, and you are right that it is annoying with the types of tabs I have hiding under the page protectors!

  2. This is EXACTLY how I have my recipe notebook, even putting the untried recipes in the front pocket. I go through the binder every so often and take out the recipes that I haven't used.

  3. Too funny, we have such great minds, this is exactly what I did but now my one binder is bursting at the seams so I need to get another one.

  4. I have a recipe binder also, but I still find myself tossing new recipes all over the place or just throwing them in the binder! Yours is nicely put together!

    1. Thank you! I'm hoping this system will help keep me organized!

  5. I started a 3 ring binder for some of my recipes after you started sharing about it on Instagram to do list. i love the idea. I am going to have to invest in a bigger binder. Thanks for sharing

  6. Yep! I have a few binders much like this one with all our favorite recipes (and we started one with Alec for all his favorite cake/cupcake/frosting recipes too).

  7. I love how you put your recipes together, Lindsay!! I need to try this!

    Make Life Marvelous


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