Recipe Binder Redo : How to Create a Recipe Organizational System that Works

How to Create a Recipe Binder System that Works via Clean Mama

I have been using a recipe binder for years and I am convinced that it’s the reason meal planning works in our house.  Do I have every week’s meals planned out perfectly?  No.  Do we ever order out unexpectedly because I couldn’t get my act together?  Of course.  But when it comes down to it, having favorite recipes in one place, printed out and ready to reference is just so, so great.

Clean Mama's Recipe Binder Kit via Clean Mama

If you are reading this and thinking or saying, I have all my recipes saved on the computer or on Pinterest, or an online recipe account, and I don’t need that hassle or mess or clutter, keep reading because I am here to tell you that keeping your recipes sorted and organized in a binder is actually more of a time saver than hopping online.  Why?  Cue the distraction of the Internet – hopping online to grab that recipe will probably lead you to Facebook or Instagram which will lead you down a rabbit hole and you’ll forget what you were looking for anyway.  Or maybe that’s just me?  In this online centered world, I crave moments without that constant connectivity and love thumbing through cookbooks and recipe binders.  Can you relate?

Extra Pages - Clean Mama's Recipe Binder via Clean Mama

Curious enough to keep reading?  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a binder (or 2 or 3) – (I used this binder to make my binders) I have recipes split into 3 binders (every day recipes, desserts, and holidays/celebrations)
  • plastic sleeves to put the recipes in – this protects them, but you could omit them and three-hole punch the recipes if you’d prefer
  • that stack of recipes that you have in your kitchen cupboard or drawer – put them to use!
  • Clean Mama’s Recipe Binder Kit – this is what I used (of course) but you could create your own dividers and pages and everything else, but it’s much easier to grab the kit 😉
  • a little time – I completely re-did my recipe binders to launch this new product and it took me about an hour including taking pictures.  So it will take you a little time, but I know it will pay off in meals on the table.

Once you have your supplies, it’s time to get started – here’s what you need to do:

  • gather your supplies
  • print out dividers/categories
  • gather your recipes
  • put your recipes in plastic sleeves and sort them according to your categories

Set up supplies via Clean Mama


Assemble Binder via Clean Mama

Here’s what’s included in Clean Mama’s Recipe Binder Kit (42 documents – individually saved and EASY PRINT as one document):

Dividers for Clean Mama's Recipe Binder via Clean Mama

INSTRUCTIONS – ‘How to Make a Recipe Binder’
SUBSTITUTIONS – This for That page
3 TITLE PAGES to choose from : Family Recipes, Recipe Binder, Dessert Recipes
RECIPE PAGE – FILLABLE/EDITABLE – type in your favorite recipes, save, and print
LABELS – print, trim, and use in dividers or make your own by printing on cardstock
• Recipes to Try – keep track of recipes you want to try in your binder
• Family Favorites – keep track of winner dinners
• Meals for this Month
• Breakfast
• Appetizers
• Salads & Dressings
• Sandwiches
• Salads & Dressings
• Sandwiches
• Soups & Stews
• Side Dishes
• Rice & Grains
• Beef
• Pork
• Poultry
• Seafood
• Weeknight Meals
• Pasta & Sauces
• Vegetables
• Slow Cooker
• Pizza
• Grill
• Make Ahead
• Vegetarian
• Gluten-Free
• Paleo
• Yeast Breads & Rolls
• Canning
• Holidays & Celebrations
• Desserts
• Quick Breads
• Cakes & Frostings
• Cookies & Candies
• Pies & Tarts
• Blank
• Other
Once you’ve printed out the sections that you want to use and have begun setting up your binder, keep moving quickly and you’ll be surprised how quickly the binder comes together.  As you’re getting your binder set up take the time to toss/recycle any recipes that you’ve been holding onto and haven’t made and probably won’t make, or any recipes that you made that aren’t super great or worth making again.
Extra Pages - Clean Mama's Recipe Binder via Clean Mama
Included in Clean Mama’s Recipe Binder Kit are labels that you can use for dividers – you can print and trim and place in dividers or make your own.
Labels for Clean Mama's Recipe Binder via Clean Mama
I make my own by simply printing them out on cardstock, trimming down to size, and use packing tape to adhere to the divider pages.
DIY Labels via Clean Mama
Labels via Clean Mama
Now that you have your Recipe Binder all set up it’s time to put it to use!  What’s the perfect way to put it to use?  Make a menu plan and utilize the binder for success.  My top 3 categories/pages are:
• Recipes to Try
• Family Favorites
• Meals for this Month
Menu Planning via Clean Mama
Use these categories and pages to organize and plan as you’re getting started.  Keeping a quick reference guide to favorites and recipes to make keeps it simple and eliminates time wasted while you’re figuring out ‘what’s for dinner’.
Binders Close-up via Clean Mama
Keep your recipe binder where you’ll use it – I keep my recipe binders with my cookbooks.  I love cookbooks and recipes and menu planning – if you can’t tell by my little cookbook collection.  I plan menus with both handy and accessible and find that this works really well in our house!
Recipe Binders and Cookbooks via Clean Mama
Go here to get  Clean Mama’s Recipe Binder Kit in my shop.
Clean Mama's Recipe Binder Kit via Clean Mama


If you need a little help with your menu planning, I have an adorable menu planning notepad in my shop and menu planning kits as well. Click on the images below to see them in my shop.

Menu Plan for the Week - Full - Clean Mama

On the Menu Clean Mama Printables

I also have menu planning pages included in every month of HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY – getting food on the table shouldn’t be difficult!  Need a little inspiration?  Here are some blog posts with my favorite recipes and menu planning tips.


  1. Hi Clean Mama,

    I found your blog a couple of months ago and love it 🙂

    I bought and downloaded the recipe binder kit yesterday, but there is no instruction or labels page. Would it be possible to email me these pages please.

    Thanks in advance, Tracey

  2. Hi! I purchased your recipe binder kit today and am starting to fill out the form. I was wondering if there is a way to change the font for the stuff I fill in (ingredients, instructions, etc.)? Thanks!

  3. Bethany says:

    I download this and printed it all and am kind of confused. I feel kind of dumb but…why are there two pages for each? Do you just put the label page in a sheet protector? Or do you print off all of your recipes and put them each in a page? Thanks!

    • You can either print the individual pages OR the easy print file (all the pages print in one step). I am guessing you printed both?
      xo, Becky

  4. hi, this sounds great! just wondering what you do with recipes from your cookbooks…do you add those to the binder somehow?

    • Hi Jackie!
      Some of them I photocopy and add in to the binder and/or I write down the recipe location on the favorite recipe page so I can locate it quickly. I love cookbooks!

  5. Constance says:

    I have your recipe binder printouts from a couple years ago but want to get serious about my routines and de-cluttering my recipe/cookbook area. Also now that my kids are getting older ( 7 & 5 0, I need to make the most of the menu planning time I have. Should I print the new ones in the shop since you redid all of it? Thanks for all your tips and encouragement!

  6. Great post. Thank you!!

  7. Odd question: What is the binder in the very last picture, the one with the apples & cook books?
    I don’t like using 3-ring binders but that looks like something I might like. (Sorry if you’ve already told us that somewhere!)

  8. This may seem like a silly question. What do you do with recipes that fit multiple categories? It would clutter the recipebook to put it in every category that it fits. Right?

  9. After years of trying to organize recipes in folders, boxes and Manila envelopes, I hit on the idea back in the 1990’s to go to the local office supply store and purchase notebooks, plastic sleeves, dividers and finally get my recipes organized once and for all! This is the system I’ve used ever since, and I highly recommend it!
    Love your blog, you’re doing a fantastic job!

  10. I’ve been so busy trying to organize all my papers in my home, and I have wanted to put together a recipe book. I even got a 8 x 5 cute little recipe notebook with a ‘kick stand’ to start it in. I can hardly wait. My daughter is helping keep me on track with getting things taken care of, which sets me up for sorting the papers=>lead to more time for working on recipe book! Thank you for your wonderful posts!

  11. Do you have to type up each recipe and pri.t out? What about the recipes that are on recipe cards? I hate getting rid of hand prunted recipes

    • I use mine for clippings and print-outs of recipes online. I keep special recipes in a recipe box or there are some that I’ve photocopied from my grandma that my mom has. Those photocopies go in the binder.

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