Organize your family recipes into a DIY recipe book with printable binder pages for over a dozen categories.
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If you’re a foodie and like to try new recipes, you probably have a binder or box that looks like my recipe binder. It is stuffed with years of recipes printed from blogs, clipped from magazines, or handwritten on sticky notes.
Some of them have never been made. Some of them have evidence of being made a lot. It was desperately in need of reorganizing, so back in 2016, I made a printable recipe binder that matches the kitchen labels.
Fast forward to 2022. I realized that although I talked about my recipe binder in that kitchen label post, I never gave it a stand-alone post. I figured it was time to do that because it’s really handy!
Making a recipe book or recipe binder is a great way to organize your own recipe collection. It also makes a wonderful family recipe book, whether you are saving recipes for your children or making a cookbook as a gift.
I’ve detailed below how I set up my personal recipe binder. If you’re giving one as a gift and it won’t be updated with new recipes, you can skip the binder supplies and take the finished pages to Staples (or similar) and have them wire-bound like a spiral.
A quick note on the font: I initially designed this with the pretty script you see in a few of the photos. It wasn’t very easy to read though, so I redesigned the pages with the blocky letters in the other photos. Although I didn’t reprint/rewrite all the recipe pages for myself after the redesign, your download will only include the blocky-letter font version (called Recipe Daily).
How to make a recipe book
1. Collect recipes and photos.
Before you start putting together a recipe book, you need to know what’s going to go in it. This will help you decide what supplies you need, how you’re going to organize the recipes, and other details for assembly.
Of course, you can make a general recipe book that keeps all of your favorites together. You might also want to make one for a special purpose – anything from “desserts” to “Dad’s summer grilling.”
Family heirlooms that are a collection of traditional recipes you’ve learned from your parents or grandparents are popular. They make a wonderful keepsake of family history as well as a gift to pass down to children.
2. Shop for a binder and supplies.
Once you’ve decided what kind of recipe book you’re making, you’ll need a few more supplies. For my recipe binder, here’s what I used:
- 1-inch 3-ring binder with a clear pocket in the front conver (or larger if you’ve got a lot of recipes)
- clear plastic sheet protectors
- home printer
- white printer paper
- white card stock
- acid-free fine tip pens – I prefer Arteza fineliners because even though I’m left-handed they don’t smudge when I write (and acid-free means archival quality that will last for ages).
- page margin tabs
Note: I like the sheet protectors because they’re really durable and can be wiped clean. If you prefer, you can just use a 3-hole punch and attach the pages directly to the binder.
3. Choose categories and set up the binder.
My recipe book printables set includes 14 different categories, but you don’t have to include them all. Choose which category pages you’re going to include in your binder and print them off.
I like to print my category pages on card stock, then add tabs so they’re easy to find and flip through.
Sort all the recipes into categories so you know how many you have in each. Add a clear sheet protector behind the category for every 2 recipes.
4. Add your recipes.
Finally, print enough of each recipe page to hold all of your recipes.
I printed mine single-sided because then it’s easy to slide a recipe out to make notes, rearrange the order, or whatever you want to change. You could print double-sided if you prefer.
Write each recipe onto the page, then slide it into a sheet protector. If you have a lot of recipes, this step will probably take a while. Spread it out over a few days and remember that you can always update your binder later.
If the idea of hand-writing dozens of recipes sounds terrible, I have a few ways that you can type on the pages before printing.
Recipe book printables
Recipe binder cover
There are 2 cover designs included in this printable. They’re both a bright citrus pattern with a label in the center. One is blank and the other reads RECIPES.
Recipe binder categories
There are 14 different category pages, each with a different bright color heading and the category title.
- family favorites
- freezer meals
- main dishes
- side dishes
- slow cooker & instant pot
- soups & stews
Recipe binder pages
The recipe page is a single format with 14 different variations that color-coordinate with the category colors. That means you can write out all your recipes to match their category.
Each recipe page has a simple lined section for the name, ingredients, instructions, and notes. There’s a box at the bottom if you want to add a photo or just something extra.
Include variations you’ve tried, ideas for what to serve it with, or kids’ reactions.
Organizing a recipe binder
It took me a while to get everything sorted. Pretty much every recipe on this blog starts out handwritten on a sticky note with plenty of scribbles.
Initially, I copied over the hand-written recipes and stuck the magazine clippings in sheet protector pages. I slowly copied those over to the matching pages.
It’s okay to take time to set up your recipe binder and to change it often to suit your cooking needs.
And even though all the matching pages are pretty, I have plenty of recipes I’ve printed from other blogs that I’m leaving as-is instead of rewriting so I remember where they came from.
Choosing your categories is really a matter of personal preference. For example, my Greek pasta salad below could go in salads, side dishes, or main dishes.
I ended up putting it in the side dishes because my family usually wants something heavier as the main dish. And while I save pasta salad recipes to my Salad Recipes That Aren’t Boring Pinterest board, I wanted them separate in my binder.
Get the printables
The files for this DIY recipe book are available to download as a PDF and print at home or your favorite copy shop.
As always, printables are for personal use only. Feel free to fill them out for gifting, but don’t share the blank pages. Gumroad now gives you the option at checkout to purchase the digital files as a gift that will be emailed to the recipient directly.
For troubleshooting tips and frequently asked questions, read the Printables FAQ Help Guide.
Check out some other fun and creative ideas on One Mama’s Daily Drama: