October 6, 2014

Organising Your Recipes

Last month I shared on Instagram my custom cookbooks.  There was a lot of interest in them so I thought I would share a little more information about them.

I have collected a huge amount of loose recipes over the years.  A lot have been passed on by friends and family, I've printed a whole heap off Pinterest and there are hundreds that I have photocopied from magazines.  Problem was, that huge stack of paper was so uninspiring.  With no system or order to the recipes it was just plain daunting.  So I decided to get organised and make my own custom cookbooks.

I began by splitting all my recipes in to one of three categories - main meals, sweet/baking and seasonal celebrations.  I used four Kikki-K Cloth Lever Arch Binders - one for main meals (although this one is bursting open and needs to be split in to two), two for sweet/baking and one for seasonal celebrations.

I then broke down each of the three main categories in to subcategories.  For example the "Main Meals" category was broken down in to breakfast, brunch/lunch, nipples/dips, soups/stews, salads/sides, pies/pizza/tarts, pasta/rice, drinks, fish, chicken, beef, lamb and pork.  I made labelled dividers for each section.

From there I sorted each recipe in to the subcategory I thought was most relevant, popped all of the recipes in clear files, numbered each even numbered page and filed each recipe in the appropriate divider.

Then I created an index for all of the recipes.  I cross-referenced each recipe using the two main ingredients in each recipe so I'll be more likely to find what I was looking for each time I used my cookbooks.  For example I have a fantastic Mexican rice recipe so I indexed this under "chicken" and "rice" plus "Mexican".

I highlighted all our family favourites so if I am lost for dinner ideas when I do my weekly meal planning then I have a quick reference of ideas.

If I try a new recipe and it's not so great then I remove it from the binder straight away and cross it off the index.  Those Funfetti Cupcakes were a disaster!  I update the index in Excel every few months.

It was a pretty big job as I had such a huge amount of loose recipes but now that they are all filed and indexed I can safely say that they are my "go to" cookbooks.  I use them almost every day.  I love them!

I had a couple of people email me asking if I they could send me their loose recipes to make them a custom cookbook.  Absolutely!  I love organising and would love to do this.  I haven't figured out the pricing details of this yet but just contact me for more information.


  1. How do you incorporate your recipe books into your meal planning?
    I too have binders full of loose recipes which works great, but I also have a stack of recipe books I never use apart from looking at pretty pictures every now and again.

  2. Hi Kirsten. I use my recipe books heaps for meal planning. One way is when the flyers or emails come each week from the supermarkets I check out what is on special (especially in the meat sections) and plan our dinners around the specials. So if chicken is on special then I look through the chicken section of my cookbooks for dinner ideas. Also, I have highlighted all our family favourite recipes in the index in blue so if I am stuck for ideas I have a quick reference of ideas which are sure to please the family. Hope that helps but let me know if you have any other questions x