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How to Make a Recipe Binder That’s A Pleasure To Use

You CAN (finally) get your recipes organized! Here’s how to make a recipe binder that’s neat, organized, and easy to use.

Some people are all tech in the kitchen, using apps to manage their recipes and happily cooking straight from their phone or tablet screen.

Then there are people like me, who can’t make something without dripping soy sauce into the laptop keyboard or swiping the phone with fingers caked in breading.

I was sick of using screens while baking and cooking. But my old-school recipe book was a mess. So I decided to create a system that worked better for me.

Two simple binders changed everything

Organizing my recipes into neat, easy-to-use binders has been an absolute game changer in the kitchen.

Our most-loved recipes are at my fingertips. One quick flip, and I can easily find what I need. And no more soy sauce in my keyboard. Sound like your kind of system too? Here’s how to do it.

BONUS: Plan a week’s worth of dinners + your shopping list all at once: Grab my free Meal Planning Worksheet

How to make a recipe binder

  • Go through your existing printed recipes. Be ruthless–and honest with yourself. Know in your heart you’ll never, ever make that four-tiered coconut cake recipe you ripped out of a magazine? Appreciate your aunt for passing along her macaroni salad recipe but don’t actually like it? Take them out (tuck away sentimental handwritten recipes elsewhere).
  • Print out favorite online recipes. Going to the same website over and over for a recipe? Print it out. (I even print out my favorite recipes from my own blog!)
  • Copy cookbook favorites. Want to pare down your cookbook collection? Copy your favorites and pass the book along to someone else.
  • Put recipes in easy-to-wipe protective sleeves. Plastic sleeves will prevent recipes from getting torn and stained. You can use full-sized sleeves like these for printed recipes, and divided ones like these for recipe cards.
  • Come up with categories that make sense for your family. That might mean “meatless”, “fish”, and “pasta”. Or it might be “appetizers”, “soups”, and “main dishes”. Include a “recipes to try” category for ones you’d like to make. For baking, my tabs included “pies”, “cakes”, and “cookies”.
  • Get binders. I have one 2-inch recipe binder for cooking, another for baking (I use these binders). You may need larger ones. Another option: Multiple smaller binders and narrow your categories even further, such as individual binders for “recipes with beef” and “pasta recipes”.
  • Use dividers with tabs. Standard size dividers were too narrow, and I couldn’t easily see the tabs. I finally found these wider dividers, and they work so much better.

How to keep your recipe binder organized

Edit periodically. From time to time, go through your recipe binder, pulling out recipes you don’t use anymore so it stays neat and organized. Remember: Only include the recipes you actually make and love.

Add new recipes. As you discover new favorites, add them into the mix. My rule of thumb: If I’ve made a recipe at least two times and decide it’s a keeper, it earns a (coveted!) spot in the binder.

Recipe binder supplies




A perfect companion to your recipe binder

I developed the Real Mom Nutrition No-Stress Dinner Planner to help end decision fatigue and dinner dread once and for all.

Here’s how it’s different from other dinner planning systems:

  • It’s built around the meals your family already loves.
  • It puts those meals in one place so you’re not racking your brain for ideas before you get started each night.
  • It’s centered on what works for you THAT particular week and accounts for crazy weeknights, leisurely Sunday suppers, and everything in between.

It’s available in either instant download PDF so you can print it yourself or as a printed, spiral-bound workbook. Get the No-Stress Dinner Planner here!


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