How to set up a Recipe Binder

Do you have recipes all over the place? This post will show you how to create a recipe binder, so that all your recipes are kept together in one place, for fast and easy access.


If you have recipes in all different places around your home, creating a recipe binder will keep them all together in one place. That means you always know where a certain recipe is, and you can find it fast and easily.  No more hunting through every place you keep recipes for a particular recipe!

You may have recipes on cards inside a recipe box. You may also have a pile of torn out magazine pages, not to mention hand written recipes, and those that you have bookmarked online too.  Of course it is great that you have so many recipe sources, but it can very quickly get confusing as to where each recipe is kept.

A recipe binder will keep all your favorite recipes together in one place. You can separate them by meal time and food type. You can keep family favorites to hand, and you can also keep recipes together that you would love to make one day.

Follow my tips here for creating your very own recipe binder!

Recipe binder

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What is a Recipe Binder?

A Recipe Binder is a place where you can store all your recipes, for every kind of meal and food, all in one place. By having everything together in one place, you always know where that recipe can be located. You can find your recipes so much faster and easier.

A recipe binder can really be any kind of binder. I personally prefer and use a ring binder, because it means that I can add pages whenever and how often I want to, very easily. I can remove recipes I no longer want, and I can categorize and organize all my recipes very easily.

I use a recipe binder for our favorite family recipes.  I have all my recipes together for family favorite, tried and tested meals.  They don’t necessarily have to be meals that I make every week, but meals that are favorites, and that we have tried and I know are liked. But I also include room in the binder for all those recipes that I have ripped out of magazines, or printed off from online recipe sites that I would love to try one day.

You can decide what you actually use your recipe binder for. You may only want to include recipes that your kids love that are tried and tested. Or you can expand to include recipes that you want to try too.


What Goes into a Recipe Binder?

Your very own recipe binder will contain all your favorite recipes, your family recipes (perhaps heirloom recipes too), recipes that you want to try, and special recipes.

By using dividers in your binder, you can divide your recipes into categories and sections, such as main courses, desserts, appetizers, cakes, Christmas recipes, Thanksgiving recipes, and more. You get the idea.

This is going to be YOUR recipe binder, so you create whatever sections and categories that you need and that apply to you.  


How to Put Together a Recipe Binder

Get a Binder

You will first of all need a ring binder for your recipes. A 3-ring binder is the best type of binder. There are many different size spines of ring binders, according to how large the amount of material is that you need to put inside. For instance, ring binders start at 1 inch, and increase by 0.5 inches all the way up to 5 inches or more.


In choosing the size binder that you need, consider how much material you have to fit inside it.  If you have piles of torn out recipes from magazines, handwritten recipes, and more, you should have a good idea of how much you have that needs to fit inside that binder.

Try to buy a larger size than you actually need right now. That way you have room to grow with your recipes.

Prepare Dividers & Sections

Figure out what dividers and sections that you need for your binder. Options for these could include:

Main Courses
Pasta Dishes
Breakfast & Brunch
Soups & Salads
Cakes & Pastries
Side Dishes

You may also want special sections for holidays and special occasions, such as recipes grouped by religious and other holidays, and perhaps even a section for party food and entertaining.

I also have a special section of recipes – Recipes to Try. I place these in the back of the binder. They are recipes I haven’t yet made, but would like to one day.  If that recipe becomes one that your family loves, you can then move it into the appropriate section in your binder.

You can make your own dividers for this, or even buy divider packs with tabs for each section. Tabs make it easier for you to locate and find the appropriate section.

Insert Recipes into Page Protectors

Page protectors such as these ones are great for recipe binders, because the plastic keeps the recipe from getting splashed and stained when you cooking with it nearby, and they are also a great way to keep together loose pages of recipes.

Put your loose pages of recipes, handwritten recipes, and recipe cards if you want to put them inside a binder, into the page protectors and place them in the appropriate section of your binder.


Other Things to Keep in your Recipe Binder

You could also hold coupons in your binder, either at the very back of your binder in their own section, or if they are coupons for products that are directly related to recipes in a certain section of your binder, such as a coupon for frosting in your cakes section, keep the coupons in that section. You could again use the plastic sheet protectors for coupons. That way they are held well inside the binder, and the coupons are visible.

Shopping lists are another thing that you could keep in your recipe binder, as well as your family’s meal plan for the week or month.

How to use Your Recipe Binder When you are Meal Planning

Your recipe binder can be such an important part of your meal planning process every week.

When you sit down and start to plan out your weekly meals, grab your recipe binder.  See what coupons you have for certain food products.  See what you have in your fridge and freezer (an inventory is really useful for when you do this, rather than checking inside those places every time). Check your pantry too.  Shop what you have first.

Look through your Recipe Binder.  As you have a coupon for chicken, is there a chicken dish you could make that everyone loves? You have a coupon that is about to expire for pasta sauce, can you make a pasta dish you all love?  You have a lot of cans of chick peas in your pantry, could you make a recipe using them?

Consult your binder for your favorite family recipes. Perhaps you haven’t made that particular pasta dish for a while that everyone loves. Your husband has a birthday during the week, and he loves a certain dish that you could make.

You can also take into account the seasons –  make warming, comforting foods for darker winter nights, lighter meals for summers.

You may have a busy week with a lot of kid related sports and events. Therefore you want some faster, easier meals to make for those evenings.

Get the special Family Meal Plan & Recipe Pack to make setting up your binder much easier! This special printable pack is only $4.99, and contains section dividers, tabs, recipe card sheets, inventories for freezer, refrigerator, and pantry, as well as weekly meal planning sheets! You can get it here!

How to Incorporate your Online Recipes Into Your Binder

If you have your favorite recipes bookmarked and kept online, or if you have a Pinterest board of recipes, you may prefer to leave them like that – online and accessible online.

But if your goal is to have all your recipes in one place, for easy and fast access, you may want to print off all those online recipes and place them in a binder.

If you are printing off a recipe from an online source, you may want to make a notation on the recipe of the website that it is from.

How to Incorporate Recipes from Recipe Books into Your Binder

You may like to have lots of recipe books standing neatly on shelves in your home. That is of course fine. Many people love recipe book collections, that they dip into every now and again to find a recipe.

But if once again you want everything in one place, and you don’t want all those recipe books in your home, you will want to go through those books.

You have three choices when incorporating recipes from recipe books into your binder. You can either tear out the pages with the recipes on that you want and place them in the binder.  Or you can photocopy the pages that you want, and place those copies in the binder. Or you could hand write out those recipes from the recipe books. My personal preference is either to hand write them, or photocopy them, and then give away or donate that recipe book.

If you have a recipe book that you make a lot of recipes from, I would suggest perhaps still keeping that particular recipe book in its print form.


Setting up a special Recipe Binder is going to save you so much time in locating your recipes.  It is a central place where everything can easily be consulted and found.


Do you have recipes all over the place? Do you have a recipe card box, plus torn out recipes from magazines?  Not to mention all those different recipe books?  This post will show you how to create a recipe binder, so that all your recipes are kept together for fast and easy access.

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