How to Organize Recipes in a Binder: 3 Awesome Hacks!
Updated: Sep 22
If you want to organize your recipe collection in a binder, try these three hacks to make meal planning easier. Let’s dig into how to organize recipes in a binder!
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Recipe organization comes in many forms. A recipe binder, a recipe box with lots of recipes on index cards, recipes stacked in page protectors in a cabinet or a file folder, pinterest boards, or digitally in an online recipe book.
I’m not a lady that likes to use digital recipes. Yes, it’s more minimalist than keeping a physical binder of favorite recipes.
An organized binder system for recipes in plastic sleeves is simply the best way for me.
The best way for you is the system that makes it easier for you to plan meals and find the recipe you want to make.
How does a recipe binder make meal planning easier?
easy access to all your favorite recipes
helps you stay within your grocery budget
takes out the stress of last minute meal prep
helps you take advantage of grocery sales
ensures a variety of foods
improves the chances of eating healthy
reduces time spent shopping
Materials you will need to create your recipe binder
Table of Contents for each section
What to do first: How to Organize Recipes in a Binder
These initial steps will get you set up to try the hacks.
Sort recipes by main ingredient or category (chicken, sausage, or maybe brunch, breakfast, desserts). Create as many different categories as you need, including holiday, Thanksgiving, and more.
Set a baseline for inclusion. For example, for a recipe to make it into my binder:
We must have tried the recipe at least once. Only the tried and true recipes make it into my binder.
At least 3 family members must like it and would eat it again.
It’s a generational, family recipe handed down to me.
Three Awesome Hacks to Finish Organizing Your Binder
Now that you have your piles, you are ready to organize your binder!
Hack 1: Decide which recipes to keep.
With this hack, you can use this style of “reverse decluttering” to help you identify which recipes are your favorites and the ones you actually make.
Declutter the ones you don’t really make (or scan it or find the online recipes to save).
Trim down your “new recipe try pile.”
Apply your inclusion baseline to the stacks of recipes. Setting boundaries is important when it comes to stuff. Recipes are stuff.
Use your binder as the limit.
Be ruthless and be honest.
Now that you have trimmed down your recipe stacks, you are ready for hack #2!
Hack 2: Add a Table of Contents for every section.
Grab a plain sheet of paper and hand write the recipe titles for each section onto one page. This will be your Table of Contents for that section.
Put recipes in sheet protectors so food doesn’t get on them. You can even find sheet protectors that fit recipe cards so they don’t move around.
Assemble your binder with the section cover pages/table of contents.
BONUS IDEA! I have two lists in clear sleeve plastic protectors in the front of my binder: one for favorite kid lunches and one for favorite family dinners. I'm working on a third master index list of the recipes from cookbooks that we like so I don't have to flip through cookbooks
Would master lists like these help simplify your meal planning process, too?
Now that your binder is organized by sections, you are ready for hack #3 for the finishing touches!
Hack 3: Make a new section or use a pocket in the front for new recipes to try.
I often print recipe pages from my favorite chefs to try at a future time. But my inclusion baseline sets a boundary. It must be a tried and true recipe that at least 3 members of my family enjoyed. Until I’ve tried the new recipe, it sits in the front pocket of my binder.
Watch this video as I apply these hacks and reorganize my own recipe binder.
How to Meal Plan Using Your Recipe Binder
Keep a “use up” bin in your pantry, fridge, and freezer
Plan recipes with your use up bins first.
Plan recipes for ingredients you have.
Create a shopping list with crossover recipes (carrots for two meals that week).
Review your master lists in the front... favorite dinners, favorite kids meals, favorites from cookbooks in your cabinet, etc.
What if I have too many recipes to fit into a binder?
Separate your recipe categories differently. Maybe your Thanksgiving or Holiday recipes could go into a separate binder and stored until that time of year.
Declutter your collection. Easier said than done, of course, but consider your inclusion baseline and set binder boundaries.
Get a bigger binder or a second binder.
Read this one next!