7 Easy Steps to Creating A Recipe Binder

Updated 10/2020

Fun fact. My hubby is the cook in our family! He enjoys cooking and trying new things in the kitchen… I don’t. Haha But! I do like to pick out new recipes and taste test the things he makes!

And because of that, we’ve got recipes in all different formats. Some in books, some from Pinterest, and even occasionally some that look really good in a magazine! It can get a little chaotic trying to keep track of all of the different pieces of paper or “pinned” recipes so I wanted to CREATE a system that really made sense for us and in turn made me want to keep my recipes neat and organized.

After researching different ideas on Pinterest, I chose a simple and extremely functional option, a recipe binder. It has been an awesome addition to our kitchen and has made meal planning/grocery list prepping, a snap!

Here’s what you need:

Special additions:

The great thing about a binder, is that you can totally customize it to your personality!

Step 1: Sort through your recipe stash.

Toss out any recipes you tried and didn’t like (or ones you know you’ll never make)! They don’t need to take up space in your binder. If some are damaged/staind but you love them, you may want to transfer the recipe over to a new card or print a new copy. I just recently found these beautiful blank recipe cards from Jot & Mark!

DIY Recipe Organization


Step 2: Determine how you want to categorize your recipes

Do you prefer them by type of cuisine (Mexican, Asian, or Italian) or maybe by food type (soup, salad, entrée)? Whatever makes sense for you is how you should set your binder up!

Step 3: Choose your section divider style.

You can print pre-designed dividers onto your white cardstock, slide them into a page protector, and put them in your binder. I like these that Abby Lawson created on her blog. She always has such cute printables! I decided to add my own personal spin to things, so I chose scrapbook paper sheets that I associated with each category (i.e. the poultry section has a divider with chickens on it).

Step 4: Print section tabs.

For labels, you can use a basic setup with tabbed dividers, a label maker and label tape. Or you can easily find pre-typed labels with a quick search on Pinterest.

DIY Recipe Organization

Step 5: Insert your recipes into page protectors & file behind each category.

I really like the heavy duty page protectors! I feel like they hold up well to the wear and tear of taking them in and out of the binder, and also are easy to clean in case a spill happens while cooking!

DIY Recipe Organization


Step 6: Insert one binder pocket behind each section divider.

I added one of these slash pockets at the front of each section so I would have a place to hold any recipes that I’ve printed or collected but haven’t tried yet!

recipe binder

Step 7: Add finishing touches!

Remember when I said, you could customize it to fit your personality? I did that by adding a few “extras”. I created cute personalized label stickers where my hubby and I can each rate the meal. And a second label for additional notes. Such as if I had to use a different ingredient than what’s listed, or adjusted the cooking time by a few degrees/minutes.

DIY Recipe Organization


This project got me really excited to get my recipes organized! I hope it does for you too!

Leave me a comment and tell me what you did to personalize your recipe collection!


Looking for more ways to prepare for the busy season? Grab our FREE guide on gifting the best non-stuff gifts! 

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  1. zahra

    Interesting, definitely worth trying

  2. Simon Ponder

    This is awesome!

    I am kind of a messy cook, do you know of a way to seal them in plastic so that I can clean up my recipe cards after I am done slinging sauce around?

    • Melissa Rogers

      Simon, the page protectors are PERFECT for this! They are sealed on every side but the top, so should be difficult to damage. However, if you’re getting really crazy in the kitchen, you could laminate each of them instead! There are many at-home lamination options these days so it could be pretty simple!

  3. Linda Samuels

    Melissa- What a lovely way of organizing recipes! The sheet protectors are great! And what a fun idea to add a rating system and comment stickers. What I particularly love is that you actually USE the recipes that you save. I find that a lot of clients like collecting recipes, but rarely use them. I like working with a hard copy (like a sheet of paper or index card,) but I find that sometimes the younger audience prefers working directly with a digital file from their laptop or another digital device. I guess the key is being able to find and enjoy the recipes you love when you need them.

    • Melissa Rogers

      Yes Linda! We don’t keep the recipes we don’t like or never make! And I’ve seen both preferences as well, I prefer paper because I don’t want to damage my electronics in the kitchen and I hated having to keep pulling the screen back up if I went away from it for too long!

  4. Seana Turner

    My recipe binder is starting to fall apart. I’m trying to decide whether to keep all the paper or scan it and go digital. I sort of hate to lose the originals in my mother’s and grandmother’s handwriting, because that is part of what makes the recipe special. Great approach here:)

    • Melissa Rogers

      I understand the struggle, Seana! I just inherited a bunch of old recipe cards that my grandma wrote (pictured in this post) and I hate to loss that! I’m thinking of making a digital book for my mom and sister, but making a book with the originals for myself 🙂

  5. Janet Barclay

    This just might be the best system for organizing printed recipes that I’ve ever seen! I especially love your rating system and notes feature.

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