Copycat recipe binder


Thanks, Jules, for the impetus to get this project done. In fact, after rereading your old post, I realize that my project is so similar that I don’t have much to add. A good idea is a good idea. Suffice it to say, I had an old, overstuffed accordion file for recipes, plus a stack that hadn’t been filed at all. It was a mess. I also had multiple printouts of favorite recipes, and a flurry of slips of paper with a cryptic list of ingredients but no title. I was able to decipher a few of these, but others remain a puzzle. I tossed them.


I tossed a lot–all the multiples, anything we haven’t made in the past ten years, and anything I remembered as unsuccessful. 20 minutes. Then I sorted and put them into sheet protectors in an old three-inch binder that I found in a bin in the basement. 45 minutes. There’s not a lot of room for the inevitable expansion; I’m going to have to add a second binder. Good thing I have plenty of sheet protectors left.


Somewhat jokingly, my husband asked me if I had included an index. So I sat down and typed out a spreadsheet. 15 minutes. I got mired in formatting problems in Google Docs (another 15 minutes completely wasted) and didn’t print the list, but it’s easy enough to consult when I want to. In any case, I’m looking forward to easily pulling out a plastic-encased recipe and not worrying about the spills and splatters. The time I spent on the project was minor compared to the time I’ve spent fruitlessly hunting for misplaced recipes, then Googling and printing another copy.

An unintended benefit: my husband has taken the binder upstairs as bedtime reading material. I guess he already finished the latest issue of Food & Wine.


11 responses

  1. That’s awesome! I keep trying different websites and phone apps thinking one of them will revolutionize my recipe files, but I’ve just about concluded that a good ole binder is the way to go!

    • I don’t have a smartphone, and I get recipes from too many sources (some online, some not), so the binder works at this point. I suppose in the future we’ll be propping our iPads up in the kitchen (I know, we could do that now, if we had an iPad, and if I weren’t paranoid about destroying it in the kitchen) or there will be some sort of voice-activated recipe database in the fridge door.

  2. Oh, that’s fabulous! Good for you. It really makes life easier having everything organized. I faced the expansion problem too and really didn’t want a giant binder, so I keep my baking recipes separate from my cooking recipes.

  3. Thanks for the inspiration, I’m going to do this too! I have a similar binder, stuffed full of recipes and scraps of paper are always falling out of it. I’ll have to do the sheet protectors too. I love handwritten recipes, so I don’t want to just convert them into computer files!

  4. I often cook with my laptop open on the counter. Not great. But I guess I went away from paper because I knew I wouldn’t keep it organized. I’m such a reluctant cook to begin with. Sigh. Someday I hope to have need for this organizational tip!

  5. Good for you! Love that you husband is now taking it with him upstairs. Hopefully he’s sharing some feedback about what you should cook in the upcoming week too 😉

    I have used binders for a long time, and have tons of recipes in them. But I unfortunately end up consulting the internet again before going into the binder for something new to try. Now that I switched to using evernote and have over 600 recipes in there, it’s working great. But everyone has to find their own things that work!

  6. Pingback: Monday Menu on Tuesday…plus recipes and projects you may have missed! | Home Baked

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