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Organizing Cookbooks and Recipes

I have a lot of cookbooks and recipes. I try hard to keep them organized, so I can easily find recipes when I need them.

I thought I would share a little bit with you on how I keep them organized.

This is my first vlog, so please be patient as I get used to using and being on camera. I am sorry that it is a little shaky, or maybe a lot shaky.

If you are reading this through a reader or email and are unable to view the video please click here to view it.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I use binders too! Love the pocket folders to use for loose ones – I use those pockets for recipes that I would like to try and haven’t yet.

    I have also used an online cookbook software as well for recipes I got off the web but what I found with that is that I had to have my laptop in the kitchen so I always end going back to my binders!

  2. I thought you did a great job with your first vlog. I love the tips and I have LOTS of 3 ring binders too! Do you have a tip for how to organize newspaper clippings? You know, those recipes that you clip out of the food sections of your local newspaper to “make someday.”
    .-= flora´s last blog ..Making Yogurt Cheese =-.

  3. Thanks for the mailing label tip, that’s a great idea that I hadn’t thought of! I also have a large binder that I store my frequently-used recipes in, in page protectors. I don’t subscribe to magazines myself but I get Taste of Home, Bon Appetit and Gourmet out of the library frequently (there’s a big stack of them on my desk right now, lol). Once the issue’s no longer current, most of the recipes are available online at the magazine’s websites, so I just find the recipes I want, print them off, and put them in a “recipes to try” folder. Once we’ve tried it, if it’s a “keeper” it goes in my binder, along with any notes I want to remember for next time. If it’s no good, in the recycling bin it goes 🙂
    .-= Karen @ Abundance on A Dime´s last blog ..Oh My, Oh My, Oh MENDING!! =-.

  4. When using stickies to mark possible recipies in a cookbook, make a note on the bit that sticks out. Not a big one, just something like a main ingredient, recipe title, or “for a crowd” to narrow things down and make searching faster when you want something from the book.

    For newspaper clippings you can go the pockets in a binder route, or get one of those cardboard folders with dividers in them. I think they’re often marketed in office supply stores as a way to organize financial information (paid bills, receipts, check stubs, etc.). You can sort by source or ingredient or whatever.

    • @Sandra, Great ideas! Thank you. I had not thought to write on the little post it pieces I put in the book. And I think your idea would also work well for newspaper clippings.

  5. I also read cookbooks like books and stick little bits of post its on them. I have several like that.

    I just recently started a three ring binder. I’m still working on it and can’t wait to get it complete. I had a recipe box with tons of recipes I had copied from family members. It was getting too full and unorganized and drove me crazy trying to find a recipe. So I am typing up all those that I had in there and then just adding in recipes that I’ve found online. It’s taking awhile to type them all up but in the long run it’ll be worth it I think.

    Now I just have to figure out how to organize them in a binder. What categories to use, etc.

    Great job on your first vlog!
    .-= Vicki´s last blog ..Menu Week of April 16-22 =-.

  6. Judy Bales says

    I like your mailing label idea, but this requires looking through cookbooks and magazines to find a recipe. I keep a recipe card in whatever section that it fits in my recipe box. On that card I write the recipe name, the cookbook and the page number. For example: if I have favorite appetizer recipes, I write them all on a card and place the card in the appetizer section. This way I can quickly check the category for favorite recipes that are all in one place, but are in different cookbooks.

  7. Lynn–I think we might be long-lost twins. I was laughing when I saw your cookbooks with all the torn-up post-it note paper sticking out in a hundred tabs…my cookbooks look exactly the same with the same torn post-its!!!

    I also love “Taste of Home” books. I haven’t seen the label idea before, but what I do is highlight the recipes in the index that I’ve tried and liked. Then it’s easy to just scan the pages of the index when I’m looking for a recipe to repeat.

    Great job on the video!

  8. Great job on your first vlog!! It’s always interesting to hear a blogger’s actual voice after reading their written “voice” for so long! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your tips. I am just in the process of switching all my recipes over to recipe cards, because for me that works best, but I like the idea of using page protectors for your recipes. Also, I have often wondered how to keep track of the recipes in books that I like – I’m going to implement your idea, along with Judy Bales idea of putting a card in my recipe box for that category. Sometimes when I travel, I take a favorite cookbook so I will have some recipes with me, and your idea of marking in the cover would make that much easier! Thanks again for sharing with us. I’d love to see (or read how) where/how you store your cookbooks. I think I finally have my collection under control, by putting a bookshelf in my kitchen, but since we rent, I’m always looking for other ideas, in case I can’t always use my current plan.

  9. I do all the things you do!!

    In addition though, I have is one “master” cookbook. If the family decides that a recipe is a definite keeper, I type it up in an ongoing Word document that contains all the family favorites. Each recipe has its own page and I print them out and slide them in page protectors just like you do. Everything is contained in a 3-ring binder. It’s nice to be able to easily reference the ones we know we like. I also have ended up sharing the Word document with friends and family all over. And — many, many years from now — I’ll be able to easily print out a fresh copy of the cookbook to give my sons and their wives when they get married.

  10. I mark all over my cookbooks, too. Love the mailing label idea, that is just ingenius! Other than that, I think we do pretty much everything the same. Well, except, I have all of my recipes that are loose and printed out in one binder instead of filing them by where they came from.

    You did great on your first vlog!
    .-= Phoebe @ GettingFreedom´s last blog ..Taming Magazine Clutter =-.

  11. OH MY I LOVE the label idea!! I’m so going to do that. Also, I never thought of just writing in my cookbooks. Makes total sense! I really need to do the 3 ring binder. I have printouts ALL over the place and whenever I open my recipe cabinet, they just fall out! lol

    AWESOME first vlog! Looking forward to more!

    Found you via someone else’s RT on Twitter. I’m going to follow you now!


  12. hi, what great tips! i love the label idea. i have a 3 ring binder with print outs in it too but i have not yet got it all organized. i really need to spend some time working on that. i also like the idea of putting notes in the book about if you liked the recipe or not, i had not thought of that!

  13. Great ideas, seriously! I’m used to finding recipes online, but I recently started using a cookbook for recipes on a regular basis. I LOVE the America’s Test Kitchen Family cookbook! Their waffles are the BEST.

  14. I use a binder with photo pages (the kind for slipping in 4×6 cards.)
    .-= Milehimama´s last blog ..Playroom Purging =-.

  15. Thanks for sharing this. I love your cookbook ideas.

  16. And if it really, really bugs you to actually write in the cookbooks, you can just use sticky notes for that, too.

  17. Great ideas! I don’t use cookbooks often as I get most of my recipes online nowadays, but I do keep a special binder like yours that only holds the recipes I’ve tried and loved and know I will make again. I also put them in the plastic sleeves to protect them, not only from tearing in the binder, but from food spatters since I remove the page I’m using and set it up against the counter wall while I’m cooking. I really liked your vlog and hope we will get to see more of you in future vlogs!
    .-= Veronica Miller´s last blog ..Quick Fish Tacos with Baja Cream =-.

  18. What great tips! I have some good ideas to get my recipes organized now. Thanks!
    .-= April´s last blog ..My First Blog Award! =-.

  19. Great post!
    I use binders also. I collect a lot from the Dining section of the NYTimes. Also restaurant reviews of places I’d like to try. At this point, I need to get a few more binders. Mine are out of control. Yours are so neat and beautiful! Very inspiring! I have made a mental not to re-organize my recipe binders after seeing your video.
    thanks for the post. 🙂

  20. First I have to say……I LOVE that you did this via video!! I do many of those things, but you have some GREAT ideas I’m going to try as well!!

    Thanks for linking up to I’m Lovin’ It! Have a GREAT weekend!

  21. Love all your ideas and the video was great idea. Now one to share with you and your readers. I have been collecting cookbooks (and using many of them) for over 30 years. No one person could possibly cook their way through what I have plus all the newspaper, online, magazine recipes I’ve collected. My friend just turned me on to an amazing website called Too much to explain but basically you can search for recipes in your own books, through a search index, also several magazines, blogs and more coming. It’s awesome. Check it out and THANK YOU for your great ideas.

  22. I have a recipes folder I keep on a USB drive that’s always with me. It has several subfolders of different categories. I have them all saved either as pictures where I’ve scanned ones I clipped or as plain old notepad documents that I have copied and pasted online recipes in. When I want to make one I print it and if we like it I have a spiral bound cookbook that was bought for me to record favorite recipes in and I write it in it. This way if a friend or someone wants a recipe I’ve made I can just copy and paste it in an email to them or print it off for them from pretty much any computer because I always have my flash drive. I can also use windows search feature to find the one I want. I have a folder exclusively for “Tried & True” recipes. If I try one and we don’t like it, it gets deleted from the computer.


  1. […] 1.  Start with Recipes. Before you can cook anything you have to know what it is you want to make.  Get your recipes together and get them organized.  I used a database to compile mine. Lynn from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures has a great video on how she organizes her recipes. […]

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