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  • Writer's pictureErica Lucas

How to Organize Recipes in a Binder: 3 Awesome Hacks!

Updated: 6 days ago

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!

Happy organizing!

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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

recipes in binders
There's something special about a hand written family recipe.




Materials you will need to create your recipe binder

  • Binder

  • Section dividers

  • Sheet protectors

  • Recipes

  • 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!

Recipe Binder Organization
What is your baseline for inclusion?



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!

recipe organization
Do you keep a master list of recipes you like from cookbooks?

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 for ideas.

Would master lists like these help simplify your meal planning process, too? Grab your copy of the Scan and Plan Recipe Binder Kit!

Now that your binder is organized by sections, you are ready for the third hack 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.

organize recipes in a 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!

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1 Comment

Nov 24, 2022

Erica I am so grateful to you and all of your videos. You Keep reminding me that all is going to be ok. That perfection is fleeting and home and family is much more important. I wantto thank you for a lot of great hints. I actually went thru a move in October. Yes we finally moved from Pittsburg to Harrisburg PA. The move I thought would never happen finally is a reality. So as I unpacked I realized that yes some of the things we brought with us were no longer useful in our lives so kept a box for giving and a trash bag as I unpacked ...worked like a charm a local thrift store wa…

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