How to Create a Recipe Binder

Home / Recipes / How to Create a Recipe Binder

A couple of years ago I posted about How to Organize Your Recipes as I was creating a recipe binder for my first little sister to get married. Fast forward two years to my next little sister’s wedding and I updated the whole system and gave her a recipe gift too. Since I tweaked my system I thought I’d share what I do now in case it helps you with YOUR recipe system. I love this for my own recipes and it makes it SO easy to share with family and friends.


Step 1: Buy a binder
I like to use the 1/2 size binders as they are a little bigger than recipe cards but don’t take up much space in your cupboard or on your counter. If you get the kind with a clear plastic coating you can slide in cute covers and side labels 🙂 You can do all your recipes in one binder or split them up into main dishes/side dishes/desserts/etc.


Step 2: Buy paper or cardstock
You can use plain white paper or cardstock, but I like to color code based on categories. I buy my paper depending on the color combination I want for that particular binder. Cardstock will be sturdier, but paper will make your binder not as fat and heavy.

Step 3: Buy 1/2 size sheet protectors
These used to be a little bit hard to find but lately I’ve been finding them at most office supply stores or even at Wal-Mart. You can also buy them online if you are having trouble finding them in your area. They are a little pricier than full-page protectors but I LOVE the half page size. They are perfect to keep on the counter and you can fit a lot of recipes in one binder. Note: I also bought little section dividers but they are a bit silly since the page protectors stick out further than the dividers. But they add a little separator and they look cute so I left them in.

Step 4: Create your recipe database
This can be a little bit tricky, and is the main thing I have changed since the last time I did this project. All I do now is set up my word document as a giant table. There are two cells per page and I put one recipe in each cell. This keeps the file formatted perfectly and you can print it like regular. Hint, start the recipe on the bottom half of the page down one line extra and that will keep the margins and spacing even when you print and cut them.

I like to put the category name at the top of the recipe, and I also have made little notes on each recipe to indicate which items are food storage items versus ones I would buy fresh at the grocery store. This is a new addition I made for my own binder that helps me with my meal planning each month. For my sister, I made a copy of JUST the recipes so she doesn’t have to see all my “food storage” notes.

If you’d like to see the recipe file, you can download it by clicking the recipe image below.

Step 5: Put it all together!
Print each category separately so you don’t get the colors mixed up. Use a scrapbook paper cutter or scissors to cut your pages in half and slip them in the page protectors. I made a “cover page” for each food category so I make sure to put that in the front of each section. I also added notes on my cover sections for easy meal ideas that there are not actual recipes for. This helps with meal planning too.


I also uploaded a copy of the page I used to make the cute cover and side label. You can download that by clicking here. The font is called CHERI and you can search for it and download it to your computer if you want to use it.


This is the best system I have found for keeping track of my recipes. I LOVE being able to write notes on the pages with a dry-erase marker and updating the file with it every few months. I love being able to add recipes from my favorite cookbooks so I can have them all in one place, and easily be able to share my favorites with my sisters. And I especially love that I get to help my little sisters get started in their own cooking adventures in an easy to assemble, yet meaningful gift.

  • Michelle

    The links are all crazy still, opening to a page full of unreadable symbols.

  • SMc in Little Siagon, CA

    Hi…I don’t understand this statement: “and I also have made little notes on each recipe to indicate which items
    are food storage items versus ones I would buy fresh at the grocery
    I looked at the linked file, JodiRecipes2013, but I don’t see these indications.
    What am I missing?

    • I write them in dry erase marker on the sheet protectors!

  • Brenda

    Does it work to copy and paste into the “cells” in your word document or did you have to type all of them in?

  • Barbara

    I laminate all my recipe cards (There are good cheap laminators for $20, like Scotch, and generic recipe card laminating pouches are very cheap. and I have copies uploaded at Dropbox, so I can access those on my tablet by WiFi. Hurricanes and floods and tornadoes are very wet, so I have to have everything totally waterproofed, and no paper or notebooks would be safe for us. I seal everything, including important papers, food, and water in Food Saver bags; again, waterproof! I highly recommend my method! It all stacks flat in a backpack, a box, whatever you have, so saves space. You can even get larger bags to hold clothing, shoes, and even bedding, and if you vacuum out all the air, it reduces to a small pile.

  • Robin Alexander

    Is it possible you could make the recipe template into a download? I am able to get all the downloads from your site, but when I click on the links in the article I get long pages of “wing-ding” unreadable type. I have all the supplies and an eager to get started. Thanks for the great ideas!!

  • Aly

    Hi! What do you mean by 1/2 sheet protectors? I went to the link but couldn’t tell from that. Do you mean there are 2 pockets within a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet protector or that it has a full back but only 5 1/2 in front of plastic? Thanks! 🙂

    • It is half-size. So the sheet is actually 8 1/2 x 5 1/2. It’s a wonderful size for recipes!

  • Deana Wade

    where can I find the recipes for the listed items.

    • There was a link to the recipe file in the post. It’s Hope that helps!

      • Betty

        It doesn’t show up as a docx file. It shows up as a text file that is not downloadable. There is another file that did the same thing, but I’m past that point now and can’t remember which it was.

        • Hmm I’m not sure why it would do that. Maybe try right clicking and downloading it and then opening it in word. If that doesn’t work, email us and I can try to send you the file straight from my computer.

  • Rhonda Morin

    I love this idea and started this a few years ago. Instead of putting them in the page protectors I just used the plain paper, this way I can pull them out for my weekly recipes and grocery shopping lists. I also make notes on the paper for things like add more of this or don’t use this… the only problem is that I am a messy cook so sometimes they are food stained but I know the more oil and food on the paper, the more I like that dish.

    I did mine so it was Main Dishes: Mexican, Italian, Asian, etc. Then everything else divided out. I have an electronic version of my cookbook so if we go out of town I always have my recipes with me and don’t need to carry the book. I also really like being paperless but it’s somehow very hard with recipes. I am getting ready to divide them into separate binder: Main Dishes, Sides and Salads, Desserts & Snacks, Dressings/Gravy’s/Other for holidays and conversion charts

    I love this site it helps to keep me organized and hope that when I get my life back together that I will be ready to rock and roll! Thank you!

    • Jane Holverson

      Sounds like you are getting very organized. My question for you is . . What format or program do you use in typing up your recipes? I am looking for something that has the fractions and abbreviations used in cooking. And yet practical and easy to use.

      • I just use microsoft word!

      • Rhonda Morin

        For goodness sakes, I just saw this response, I am so sorry. I use a word document that my sister in law had from a million years ago. Then I subscribed to a service and my recipes are hodgy podgy right now. I will get them all organized.

        **As an aside note: I have had my computer crash and my hard drive will not read, from the professionals. I am going to be getting all my recipes printed out and going back to old school. I hate paper with a passion and was almost completely paperless but now I gotta get my stuff back. I am going nuts.

  • Linda Norton

    What a perfect wedding shower, Christmas, birthday, or just to say “I’m thinking of you” gift. Thank you for sharing!! I’m hoping the directings are on your regular site, or your Facebook page.

    • Linda, I’m not sure what you mean about hoping the directions will be on our regular site. They are included in the post above. I don’t have anything more detailed than that to share. Hopefully this post is enough for you to be able to create your own!

  • Christy B.

    Thank you so much! Looking forward to getting them all organized. Really cute tut!

FREE checklists to make your life easier

Start today and get our 4 favorite downloads to help you build and use your food storage!