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If you love cooking, chances are you have amassed a plethora of favorite recipes pulled from websites, cut out from magazines, or inherited from relatives. Finding a storage solution that lets you easily reference and file them can be a challenge, but there are plenty of great options whether you're looking for physical recipe boxes, folders, binders, or bins—or even digital recipe-organizing apps.
Ahead are the best recipe organizers that can help to sort and categorize your collection.
Best Overall: Kate Spade Rainbow Recipe Book
Additional blank sheets for handwritten recipes
For a combination of fashion and function, this book by Kate Spade offers a couple of ways to store your favorite recipes. There are seven divided sections (labeled breakfast, soups, sauces, appetizers, entrees, desserts, and beverages) with an ample number of pages in each section to handwrite your recipes.
If you also collect recipe cards, this elegant book has 10 clear sleeves to hold a total of 20 cards. The rainbow plaid pattern is cheerful and chic, though there are several designs to choose from. It’s a perfect gift for a wedding shower or any friends who enjoy cooking and could use a stylish solution to document their cookery.
Size: 9.25 x 7.75 inches | Material: Greyboard/paper/plastic | Accommodates: 4 x 6 inch cards
Best Box: Rifle Paper Co. Recipe Box
This vintage-styled metal tin from Rifle Paper Co. is a fun choice for those who love whimsical botanical designs, the signature style of Florida-based illustrator Anna Bond. There’s a reason this type of container is a popular hand-me-down—the sturdy construction means it can hold up for generations.
This box is designed to hold standard 4 x 6-inch index cards and also includes 24 blank cards and 12 letterpress dividers to divide your collection into appetizers, breakfast, entrees, desserts, meats, seafood, and more. Available in several charming designs, this will add a little cheer to a kitchen counter or bookshelf.
Size: 6.5 x 4.25 inches | Material: Metal | Accommodates: 4 x 6 inch cards
Best Bin: Pendaflex Portafile File Storage Box
Accommodates standard sheets
Recipe cards loose
This no-nonsense storage box by Pendaflex is a sturdy solution for filing away recipe cards and clippings. Made of thick plastic, it is super durable and can be transported and stored without worrying about damage. It holds 12 letter-sized hanging folders that can be labeled with tabs and inserts to sort your favorite recipes, whether they’re pages from magazines, photocopied, or handwritten. The built-in handle and latch closure provide a secure closure to keep your documents protected, and its compact size makes it easy to tuck away under a desk or counter. For a bigger capacity version, find more storage with this model.
Size: 11 x 14 inches | Material: Plastic | Accommodates: 12 letter-size file folders
Best Folder: Meadowsweet Kitchens Accordion File Recipe Organizer
Accommodates standard sheets
Recipes stay loose
If a filing box is too bulky, you can get a similar storage solution with this accordion file organizer by Meadowsweet. Constructed of sturdy cardboard, this expanding file has room to hold hundreds of your favorite recipe clippings, recipe cards, magazine clippings, and handwritten recipe notes. There are eight pre-labeled tabs to help organize your collection and an elastic closure to help keep contents secure. Its slim profile makes it ideal for storing on a bookshelf or in a cabinet without taking up too much room, and its attractive design also means that you can leave it out on a desk and it still looks like a thoughtful decor choice.
Size: 12.5 x 10 inches | Material: Textured paper | Accommodates: Standard sheets
Best Card Protectors: Better Kitchen Products Recipe Card Page Protectors
No storage system
For avid recipe card collectors, the pocket page refills by Better Kitchen Products are a solid, inexpensive choice that will provide protection against spills and splatter in the kitchen. These non-glare transparent pages are meant to hold two double-sided 4 x 6-inch recipe cards and can be stored in any standard three-ring binder for easy access and storage.
Simply slide your cards into the sheet at the inner margin—they’ll stay put no matter how quickly you flip through your recipe pages. And since they come in a pack of 50, you can easily expand your collection without running out of pages too quickly.
Size: 8.5 x. 6.75 inches | Material: Plastic | Accommodates: 4 x 6 inch cards
Best Binder: C.R. Gibson Faux Leather Recipe Book
Easy to expand collection
Tab for organization
Sheet protectors for recipe cards
Binder rings don’t close securely
A binder is a tried-and-true solution for home cooks and professional chefs, as it’s easy and inexpensive to maintain. This set from CR Gibson is a thoughtful version of binder storage: The gender-neutral organizer is made of black leatherette printed with a gold foil design and comes with nine pre-labeled tabbed divider pages.
Also included are sheet protectors and 24 cards on which to hand-write your favorite recipes, as well as a tie-clasp envelope to store any smaller miscellaneous clippings. Fill this binder with your favorite recipes, or gift it to someone you know who wants to star a recipe collection—great for newlyweds or as a housewarming gift to anyone who is culinarily-inclined. The outside can easily be wiped clean, and the book can be stored on a shelf right next to your current cookbook collection for easy reference.
Size: 11 x 12 inches | Material: Leatherette | Accommodates: 4 x 6 inch cards
Best Personalized: EnjoyTheWood Personalized Recipe Book Binder
Can be used for handwritten or printed recipes
Available in number of sizes
Doesn’t come with sheet protectors
If you’re looking for a special receptacle for much-loved family recipes that can be passed down generation to generation, look no further. This personalized birchwood binder comes in three different sizes that can accommodate everything from 4 x 6-inch index cards to standard sheet protectors, and it is already stocked with custom, sectioned pages for you to hand-write the ingredients and instructions for delicious dishes that live only in your mother’s mind.
In addition to the versatile sizes available and three stock designs (pizza, tomatoes, or pastries), you can also send your own picture to get a unique design for an add-on fee. Any text you send will be engraved for free on the front and back cover. This handmade recipe book will be a welcome addition to any cookbook shelf.
Size: 6.5 x 5.7 inches | Material: Wood | Accommodates: 4 x 6-inch pages provided
Best Recipe Organizer App: Recipe Manager for iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows
Easily create grocery lists
Syncable between devices
Track pantry supplies
Tied to a device
Must be updated
For those who prefer an online recipe organization solution, the Paprika App has been heralded as one with great functionality and user-friendliness. The built-in web browser allows you to search for recipes online and download them to save in the program. If you tend to write your own recipes, you can manually add them (and include photos, too). Timers are automatically detected in the recipe directions—simply tap on one to start it. Whether you’re cooking for two or more, you can scale ingredients to your preferred serving sizes (and you can easily convert between imperial and metric measurements as well).
Paprika also offers a Cloud Sync option, allowing you to access your recipes from anywhere—you can cook using your tablet in the kitchen, take your phone to grocery shop using the Smart Grocery List feature, and manage your recipes on your desktop computer. The app is available for iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows, so you can use the program with virtually any device.
Offline Access: Yes | Print Option: Yes | Measurement Conversion: Standard and metric
What to Look for in a Recipe Organizer
Ease of Use
This is the most important consideration when shopping for a recipe storage solution. If your recipes are not accessible, you won’t use them. Keeping them in a system that makes sense for you and your lifestyle is paramount.
Again, this depends on what works for you. If you love handwritten cards, a box or journal-style organizer is likely best. If you like to print out or tear from magazines, you need a standard sheet-size storage solution. Maybe something that comes pre-tabbed or easily categorized, like a binder or digital app, would work well. The best organization style is the one that works for you.
How many recipes you need to store is the large consideration here. If your collection is constantly growing, you probably want something you can add refills to or enlarge. If you are trying to capture some nostalgic family recipes handwritten on an index card, perhaps a box or journal with fixed space is the right solution. And, the next consideration is how much space you have to devote to recipe storage. If you live in a cozy home, a digital solution may be best since they can be accessed across multiple devices you already own and everything is stored in an app. As with other considerations, it is about what works for you and your lifestyle.
How do you organize recipes?
The first step is to gather all your recipes and evaluate what you have. Then, think about what makes the most sense for you and your family. Some home cooks organize by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert). Others utilize a different category system, like soups, salads, pastas, and so on. Perhaps you are a person who ascribes to alphabetization. If so, it would make the most sense to ignore categories and just go by where the recipe falls according to the alphabet. You could also organize by alphabet within categories. There are myriad of ways to organize, so use the method that works best for you.
For non-loose recipes, like those in cookbooks, you can set up a tab or page marker system within the books on your shelf. For digital enthusiasts, many apps offer a number of organization styles, including by menu.
Where should you store a recipe organizer?
It really depends on the style of organizer you choose. If you opt for one of the attractive box models, it becomes a piece of decor on your counter. If you get a binder or journal-style organizer, the bookshelf in your kitchen is an obvious choice or wherever you store your cookbooks. Many home cooks who utilize app systems keep a recipe book holder for their tablet near the kitchen prep area to afford easy access while cooking. If you go for the larger storage box or accordion-style file organizer, a kitchen or pantry cabinet makes the most sense. It’s close to your prep area, but out of sight.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The author of this piece, Bernadette Machard de Gramont, specializes in global food and wine content. She personally uses the Pendaflex Portable File to sort and store the recipes she collects from her favorite cooking magazines; she stores her mom’s and grandmother’s recipes in the Rifle Paper Co. tin to hand down to the next generation of cooks in her family.
Carrie Honaker, who updated this roundup, is a food writer who believes in collecting recipes—lots of recipes. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has baked thousands of cakes, casseroles, and crocks of soup. She knows the importance of reliable recipes and loves to have them tidily collected in one place for easy access. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.