A Few Tips for Organizing Recipes!


By now most of you know that I love to organize stuff! Can't help myself - it is in my genes!!! All my mother's fault! Her nick name is "effie" if that give you a clue.

If I hadn't figured out my little system for finding my favorite recipes, I can't imagine the hours and hours I would be wasting in "search mode"!!

It has worked so beautifully for me all these years and is so simple, (and can easily be modified for the computer), that I thought I would share.

The best of all possible worlds is that you are a young woman just starting out collecting recipes. It will take you about half an hour to set up!

But most of you reading probably have accumulated a large collection already, so fair warning, it might take you a bit of time to set this system up. It took me about a week of afternoons to do it twenty years ago, but every time I use it to find a recipe, I thank myself for investing the time.


Basically all you need is some kind of lined notebook. (I found a bunch of "To Do" lists designed for a Day Runner at a garage sale and used those). Or set up something similar on your computer. I refer to this "notebook" as my "recipe locator"! Brilliantly clever don't you think?

Write down the name of the recipe and to the right it's location. If you study my list a little you can see that I refer to a recipe book and page number, or "file" (in my case file means my recipe file box), or "web file" (my lovely binder of recipes I have tried and loved that were shared by my on-line family!)

Sometimes to the left, I will note an especially yummy recipe!


I use one sheet for each category ie: Cookies, Pasta, Cake, Breakfast Breads, and place them in the "recipe locator" in alphabetical order. Actually, my categories match the categories in my recipe box which makes things even easier!

And that is all there is to it! Easy!

Each time you find a delicious new recipe you want to include, simply list it on the appropriate page in the "recipe locator", make a note as to it's location and you are done! This takes less than a minute but will save hours of searching later.


If you have a lot of cook books, this little post-it product is a huge help in quickly locating a recipe. I just only recently thought of this and have found it to be a huge time saver.


And this is how I use them! You can see just how useful they are!

Tip: Use a thin or fine line Sharpie to write on the plastic tabs.

Ok - that's how I do things! I am sure many of you have some really great tips. Won't you please share them in comments. Or write a post about how you organize your own recipes and share the link here!

Magnificent. I have so many

Magnificent. I have so many cookbooks and a collection of recipe pamphlets, it's kind of obscene. (I don't have a pantry closet in my kitchen, I have a recipe closet, no joke.) Once upon a time I bought MasterCook software, intending to enter all my favorite recipes and store them digitally -- I have a lot stored this way (& printed as a backup, also!). But I still have my cookbook collection - so your idea is brilliant. I think next time I use a recipe from one of my cookbooks, I'll start keeping track in one of my recipe binders, thanks so much for this!

Great ideas, I go sticky tab

Great ideas, I go sticky tab crazy on all the cook books I get (by now from the library since I am not allowed to put any more cookbooks on our book shelve). To organize my recipes I started a food blog ;), but you can always do it as word or pdf file on line, most printers have pdf scanners in them and nice main picture so you can keep them digitally in your computer, but only of the ones you really really like.

Hi Pam, Many years ago when I

Hi Pam,
Many years ago when I was first married I put all the recipes that anyone had given to me in a two ring folder and I even cut out pictures from magazines and did a bit of a collage on the cover. Reading your blog has brought back memories of that time and I think I might even try and see if the folder is still around. Who knows what I might find actually in the folder???? If I find it I'II put a photo on my blog. When I think about how I organised my recipes then and how much time I must have had on my hands, well it just blows me away. Without giving too much info as to my age, back then computers were something people just talked about and the Internet was as alien as dangerous as microwaves. We're a bit slow in Australia or at least my family was way back then. Loved your article.

Definitely agree with the

Definitely agree with the others Pam. Fab idea and I can see that it works well for you. I started my own recipe book made up with a very wide ring binder and plastic sleeves, and had intended putting in category dividers to help with sorting, but like a lot of things, I've never finished it! :(
The little Post-It stickies are great too. I've been using them for some time now for that same use. Not just for recipes, but for craft and garden books and mags. Very handy. x

That "master file" idea is

That "master file" idea is phenomenal! I often want to make a particular recipe, but can't remember where the heck it is, especially if it is in one of my many recipe card notebooks!

I cannot live without those little post-it flags! I use them to read every craft book and craft magazine- otherwise I'll never find the project I wanted to try again! I recently used them in the plant book we used to pick out plants- now if I have growing questions, I can easily find the specific plant!

Great tips, Pam!

That's a great system. I

That's a great system. I don't think I have enough books to need the list, but I like the tabs. And this reminds me that I need to put my faves into a book. :)

That's a great system. Maybe

That's a great system. Maybe even I'll be able to organize my recipes... which would be something amazing! I think it would solve our biggest problem. We try a recipe- it's great and we say "we should definitely have this again", but then forget and never make it again. I LOVE that you can scan over just the names and can include a note if you liked it a lot.