How to Organize Family Recipes

Finding a way for how to organize family recipes can help you with your goal of kitchen organization. To find a way to streamline an area that is easier to use especially when it’s organized and clutter-free.

how to organize recipes (2)

Struggling to organize your recipes?

There is nothing more frustrating than rushing around trying to get dinner ready and the recipe you are looking for is nowhere to be found.

Not again.

Losing or misplacing things is one of those annoying side effects of being unorganized.

If you have been looking for an area in your life that you can streamline in an organized way. One that is smaller than a messy room and easier than a closet full of clothes. Then recipes are the answer.

Click here to subscribe

Our goal today is to work together streamlining the recipes you have collected over the years. Recipes that you may have tucked away into binders, written on pages in random notebooks, and downloads that have taken up residence all over your computer. We are going to gather them all up, sort through them all, and help you create a system that will put those recipes at your fingertips.

Imagine being able to easily find that perfect recipe for the dinner party you’re hosting this weekend. With a well-organized recipe system, it’s easy! And not only will your guests be impressed with your cooking skills, but they’ll also be blown away by your organizational prowess.

a woman presenting a platter of snacks to a couple of dinner guests

How to organize family recipes

When it comes to organizing the trick is to set up a way that makes sense to you. That means there are never going to be right or wrong answers here. So, for example, if keeping all of your clothes in your closet and scrapping the dressers in your bedroom works for you, then that is the perfect solution to go with. If, however, using dressers makes more sense. Setting up a drawer for each theme of clothing is the easiest way for you to find the things you need quickly, then that is the perfect solution to go with.

What are the easiest ways to organize recipes?

When it comes to organizing recipes you have a few options to consider.

Explore each of these options and see which one you feel you can stick with. Start there and change things up if you need to later on.

colored binders next to a blue woven box that are used to organized papers and recipes

Organize Recipes Step by Step

As with all organizing projects I find it is easier to break things down into steps. Now you can work on one at a time without getting lost, frustrated, or overwhelmed.

Step #1. Gather all of your recipes in one place.

Take some time to round up all of those recipes hiding in your kitchen, your purse, your family room, or another area in your home. Be sure to grab any that are tucked away in drawers, stuck to the fridge, or living in a pile on your counter.

I like to use a laundry basket like THIS ONE. They are super easy to carry around and will hold all of your recipes without the risk of any falling out.

Step #2. Sort out our recipes.

Now that you have all of your recipes in one place it is time to sort them through them weeding out any you are not going to hang onto.

Duplicates– do you really need 3 different chili recipes?

Old favorites– are there any recipes that you haven’t made in years but are still hanging on to?

New recipes– are there any recipes that you have been wanting to try but haven’t gotten around to it yet?

The recipes you are going to keep can now be sorted out into categories or types of recipes.

Possible recipe types:

  • Main dishes
  • Side dishes
  • Desserts
  • Baked goods
  • Drinks
  • Sauces and dressings
  • Crockpot or instant pot recipes
  • One-pot meals
  • Fast food options
  • Pot luck recipes
  • Snacks or ordorves
  • Diet restrictions such as Gluten free, Keto friendly, Vegan, etc.

As you sort through your recipes, keep in mind your goal. Which is to have a system in place that is easy for you to use and will help you find the recipes you need quickly.

Step #3. Keep track of your family’s favorites.

Now you are going to start building your recipe collection. As you are sorting through your recipes make a note of the ones that your family loves. These are the recipes that you will want to be sure to keep track of and have easy access to.

One way to keep track of your family’s favorite recipes is to create a master list. This can be a physical list that you keep in your recipe binder or box. Or it can be a digital list that you keep in a folder on your computer.

Another way to keep track of your family’s favorite recipes is to create a folder or board on Pinterest. This can be a great way to keep track of all of your family’s favorite recipes in one place.

Having family favorites all together you can now create meals to help celebrate special occasions. Birthdays, accomplishments, or other events are all great reasons to treat someone special by serving what they love to eat.

Step #4. Experiment with new recipes.

One of the benefits of having a well-organized recipe system is that it will give you the freedom to experiment with new recipes. When you have a system in place that makes it easy for you to find the recipes you need quickly, you will be more likely to try new things.

So, as you are sorting through your recipes, set aside any new ones that you would like to try. These can be recipes that you found online, in a magazine, or any that were given to you by a friend or family member.

Once you have gathered all of the new recipes that you would like to try, add them to your system. This can be adding them to your master list or creating a separate folder, a section in your notebook, or a Pinterest board for new recipes.

Step #5. Keep notes of changes or adjustments.

As you are making recipes going forward, be sure to keep track of any changes or adjustments that you make. This will help you to remember what worked and what didn’t the next time you are creating this meal.

You can keep these notes on a sticky note on the recipe itself, or on your computer. I like to keep mine in a Google Doc so that I can access it from anywhere and easily share it with family and friends.

a woman cooking in a kitchen while writing a recipe in a book

Step #6. Have a section for quick meal options.

One of the main reasons for organizing recipes is to make it easier for you to get dinner on the table fast. By setting up sections for quick meal options you can grab a recipe you know will take no time to prepare and one you also know your family will love to eat.

Step #7. Cherish family heirlooms.

If you are lucky enough to have recipes that have been written by family members that have been used over and over. Ones that your family is known for. Stained with flour, written with love, and cherished I have a solution that you may want to try.

Create a way to display that recipe so you can see it and remember the person who was known for it.

a family recipe that has been framed next to a plant

Organizing your family recipes is a great way to make dinner time more enjoyable for both yourself and your family. By setting up sections for quick meal options you can grab a recipe you know will take no time to prepare and one you also know your family will love to eat.

By keeping track of your family’s favorites, you can be sure to always have a delicious meal on the table that everyone will enjoy. And by having a section for new recipes to try, you can experiment with new flavors and ingredients without disrupting your well-organized system.

So, take some time to sort through your recipes and get them organized today. Your future self will thank you!


  1. Other Subsections–
    Your Go-to recipes for pot luck meals/parties
    Menu parings your family loves
    Diet restrictions–food allergies, etc. of family members or repeat guests

    Oh, and one other thing, if that magazine/newspaper recipe you were going to try is still in a binder for at least a year without being tried–it might be time to let it go. Date the recipe you want to test when you put it into a folder. Purge the folder periodically.]

    I have a computer word processing file that now replicates an out-of-print local church’s 1970s cookbook. I have inserted my family favorites, my original recipes, and the notes on what I changed in each recipe. I have started an addendum file that contains new recipes I added when I downsized some of my cookbook collection. [Yes–I printed it out and have emailed it to family, friends, and myself.]

  2. I use a tablet and have recipes saved in pdf documents. I just type in what I’m looking for using the search function. It is nice that I can zoom in and make the print larger. When I find a recipe I like online, I save it to a pdf when clicking the print button. (I hope that makes sense). Sometimes I have been lazy and just used the camera on the tablet to take a picture of a recipe from one of my cookbooks or a recipe card. I just rename the file with the name of the recipe. If I am not lazy, I will type up the recipe and save it. I found a nice stand that holds it upright and it sits on my counter and stays plugged in most of the time. The only downside is if I want to write a note on the recipe. I can save a comment to the pdf, but it isn’t as easy as writing on a paper copy.

    1. I just love the idea of taking a picture with your iPad so you can enlarge it. I will definitely need to use that tip for myself!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *