How to Organize Recipes You Find Online

As you are reading through all those amazing recipe indexes posted yesterday, you might be wondering how you can possibly keep all the recipes you want to try organized.  Today’s guest poster is here to help you with that.  Tiffany from Eat at Home has a wonderful food blog where she shares many delicious recipes and printable meal plans (complete with shopping list!) each week.  Welcome Tiffany!

computer

I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that nearly all the recipes that make their way into my life, come to me over the internet. I frequently visit recipe blogs. Readers and friends email me their favorite recipes. I even gather recipes shared on forums where I’m an active member.

All of this presents the challenge of organizing them. There are lots of ways to go about organizing online recipes. Some people like to use websites like delicious.com to bookmark their favorites. Others print the recipes and put them in a binder. I’m going to share my favorite way to organize digital recipes.

But before I get to that, I want to share the biggest help:

I am very selective about the recipes I store. I only keep recipes that I know I will want to cook. It doesn’t happen often, but if I make a recipe and don’t like it, I delete the recipe. No need to keep something I never want to make again. This keeps my recipe storage clutter-free and places value on each recipe chosen for my digital recipe box.

My tool of choice for recipe organization is Microsoft OneNote. (Disclaimer: Microsoft doesn’t know who I am, what I cook or what I write. I only share about their product because I like it.)

OneNote enables me to keep notebooks for endless topics. I have a personal notebook with a section for recipes. When I find a recipe I want to try I can either print the entire page to OneNote, so that it looks just like the website or do a simple copy/paste of just the recipe, which is what I prefer. With either method the original website link is also included so I know where the recipe came from.

After copying into my notebook, I write on the recipe in a different color font. I make notes about changes I want to make or when I’d like to try the dish. I also record how I actually cooked the recipe and how it turned out. I often make changes to recipes and I love that I can write directly on the page in OneNote, just like in a real cookbook.

screen shot of onenote

There are two alternatives to OneNote. Both are free. Springpad and Evernote offer many options for keeping track of things you find online, including recipes. I have only played with these options briefly. Springpad does have a way for you to make notes directly on recipes you save. I couldn’t find a way to do that in Evernote, but it may be possible. Also, both of these services are accessible from your phone. That could be very handy while in the grocery store. It would be nice to check ingredients for a recipe I left at home.

That’s how I organize digital recipes. How do you organize yours?

Tiffany shares lots of recipes, menus and complete grocery lists on her website, Eat at Home, Everyday Food for Busy People. She’s always on the look out for a new recipe or dinner idea to fix for her husband and four kids.

Eat At Home

Related Posts:

My own recipe organization:  Part One and Part Two

Delicious Tutorial

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Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Recipe Organization, Technology

Comments

69 Responses to How to Organize Recipes You Find Online

  1. 1
    The Crunchy Conscience says

    This is genius and I have no idea why I never thought of it before. I use OneNote all.the.time. for everything from planning my wedding to daily reminders. Thanks for the tip!

  2. 2
    tzigane says

    i love getting recipes online! i use a program called Shop N Cook to organize all of mine. They have three different programs to choose from and I started out using the Shop’NCook home version and have since went to Shop’NCook Menu. I love it beause I can plan out my menus, create a grocery list and also scale recipes in it if needed! Plus they come with recipes also! I am not affiliated with them at all but would recommend checking them out. http://www.shopncook.com

    I have also used EverNote for other things and it is a great program. And would work well for collecting online recipes.

  3. 3
    Adrienne Larkin says

    Does anyone have a Mac alternative? One Note doesn’t work on a Mac.

  4. 4
    Lauri says

    This product looks great! I have been using delicious and printouts but it becomes cumbersome.

    What version do you use? 2007 can be found on ebay and other sites for half the price as 2010 — wondering if it’s worth paying more for 2010 or if 2007 meets your needs well.

    • 4.1
      Tiffany says

      Lauri, I use the 2007 version. I don’t know what the updates are, but the older version works fine. I’d say it’s worth saving the money for the older version.

      • 4.1.1
        Lauri says

        Great! I’m starting nursing school in August…so I can see that this will be a wonderful tool for more than just recipes.

        • 4.1.1.1
          Candace says

          You might want to wait till your in school to buy programs such as Microsoft office because you can get them for a great discount! I bought Microsoft 2007 for only 59.99 for being a student. you just Google student discount for … (what ever product) and it will route you to ‘the ultimate steal’ website to confirm eligibility and then purchase. They now have the new 2010 version on there too for around the same price!

  5. 5
    Tina says

    I subscribed to AllRecipes.com – they have a ton of recipes and when you subscribe, you gain the ability to edit them. You can use AllRecipes’ site for creating your grocery list as well. For the added feature of meal planning, I go 2 routes: Mealfire (http://mealfire.com – it’s free) and I also use my Gmail/Google calendar (also free) and create meals/meal planning its own calendar. Mealfire uses popular recipe sites like AllRecipes and a bookmarklet to easily capture the recipes and produce ingredients and thus shopping lists from that information (thanks Erin @ $5 dinners for this suggestion). It’s all online! Hope this helps!

    • 6.1
      Tiffany says

      The other advantage to Evernote is being able to access it from your phone.

  6. 7
    Kristi says

    I have OneNote but I’ve never used it. What a great idea. I’ll have to do that because I’m always logging in to websites to find my recipes and it is quite a pain. I love how mobile things are in OneNote. If you want to make a note on the side it is very easy. I usually make some changes to the recipes so this will be perfect.

  7. 8
    Kristi @ Creative Kristi says

    I use OneNote for everything I want to save that comes from the internet. If there is a PDF sewing pattern I want I “print to OneNote” and there it is all saved and ready to print out when I need it! Love OneNote!

  8. 9
    Coffeymuse says

    I use Delicious. Everything is tagged recipe and then what it is-beef, chicken, cookie. That way if I’m looking for a beef recipes then I can go directly to those or if I want to browse my saved recipes I can do that also.

  9. 10
    Amy says

    I’m pretty old school, I guess. But, I started entering them in my blog and have tags for the types they are (pasta, chicken, etc). I also have a binder where I keep printed copies by type. For emails, I have a folder called “Recipes”.

    • 10.1
      Tiffany says

      A folder called “recipes” in your email is super-smart! Why haven’t I thought of that? Thanks for the idea!

      • 10.1.1
        Maggie says

        Like Amy, I just email myself most recipes I want to keep. I can access my gmail from almost anywhere, and I just search the folder when I am looking for something in particular.

  10. 11
    Jeff Janer says

    Thanks for the Springpad mention (I’m one of the co-founders). Just wanted to add that we have a web clipper that automatically captures the ingredients and creates a shopping list for recipes that you save. We also make it easy to share recipes with friends and families: http://springpadit.com/useitfor/food

    • 11.1
      Tiffany says

      Springpad looks like a very cool tool. I love that it can create a shopping list too. I’ll have to play around with it some more.

  11. 12
    Sue says

    I’ve used Living Cookbook for years. I can scan recipes into my “cookbook” from books, copy and paste recipes from the web, plan menus, grocery lists, etc. It can be found at livingcookbook.com. I am not affiliated with them in any way other than as a very satisfied customer.

  12. 13
    Kari says

    I LOVE OneNote! I was so excited when we got Windows 7 and it came with OneNote preloaded on our computer. I am going to have to give this a try! I’d love to digitize all of my recipes and this might just be the way to do it! Thanks for the suggestion!

  13. 14
    Terri says

    I use Evernote. It’s free and and I can get to it from everywhere. I also love that I can tag recipes with multiple words, so I can always find what I’m looking for.

  14. 15
    Cat says

    Even though I absolutely love my Evernote and use it for everything I found a new program last night that is also free. It is internet based and called Ziplist. I know Martha Stewart’s site has it linked in but if the site doesn’t have it you can easily copy and paste the recipe in. What is great about it, it that you can put the recipe list into a shopping with list with a click. I do not have anything to do with Ziplist just a recent happy user. http://www.ziplist.com

    • 15.1
      Erin Gifford says

      Thanks, Cat. Check out the Recipe Clipper feature at ZipList. You can go to a bunch of recipe sites, like AllRecipes.com and SimplyRecipes.com, then “clip” the recipe to add it to your online recipe box. You’re right, you can also cut and paste recipes in too. Glad you like it. Feel free to reach out to me through ZipList.com or on Twiter at @eringifford or @ziplist with any questions.

      Erin :)
      ZipList

  15. 16
    Diane says

    Thank you I have started saving recipes and this is an easier idea on how to do that.

  16. 17
    Catherine Neal says

    I recently heard about the Plan to Eat website (www.plantoeat.com). There’s a small monthly fee (free 30 day trial available), or you can pay for a year at one time and get 4 months free, but its a very comprehensive site where you can import recipes from any other website and keep everything in one place. It also creates grocery list, can keep track of your pantry items, etc. There’s some start-up time incurred to add all of your hard-copy recipes if you want to keep everything digital and in one place. I did the 30-day trial and liked it, but am still deciding which option to pursue to better manage my recipes.

    • 17.1
      Rana says

      I use Plan to Eat and I think it’s great! I’ve made up my dinner menu for the whole month of July all ready and it’s fairly easy to grab recipes from other sites to save.

  17. 18
    Ginny says

    I believe you can accomplish the same thing with Google Docs, which is free.

  18. 19
    Linda says

    I discovered Mealfire a short time ago and will never go back. After you enter your recipes, you can use the calendar for your meal planning and then print out your shopping list. It’s great!

  19. 20
    Rose says

    I use Evernote and I’m on a Mac (as someone in a previous comment mentioned it). The other thing I do is I tag all my recipes with their ingredients (I have a tag called Ingredients and then the ingredients themselves are actually subtags so they don’t get in the way of everything else). This allows me to also say “I’ve got double cream and mushrooms, what the heck can I have to use them up?!” and Evernote will give me an idea. That and the similar option on Allrecipes.com/.co.uk (which I stole the idea from I’m afraid) seriously help me to avoid waste :)

  20. 21
    PianoForAll says

    Awesome techniques,,,I gained a lot of things to find recipes from the post and the comments as well,,its a yummy experience,,thanks to all of you,,,

  21. 22
    Toni says

    Never though of using the OneNote. I use Google Docs for all my recipes.

  22. 23
    Lara says

    Thanks so much for this post! This is one aspect of my life that drives me crazy! I looked at all the options mentioned and decided Springpad was perfect for me. That I can sync it with my iphone and have everything at hand no matter where I am at, is awesome! Thanks again!

  23. 24
    Corrie says

    Good idea but I have a question about the recipes you don’t like… I’ve made the mistake of trying a recipe (I keep mine printed in a binder), not liking and chucking the print or deleting the link… But then, some months (and sometimes years) later I look up a ‘new’ recipe and come across the one I don’t like (but I don’t remember I don’t like it) and repeat the cycle.

    How do you remember the ones you don’t like so you don’t recreate the same mistake? Currently, I keep the ones I don’t like in regular rotation but write “BAD” or something on the recipe itself.

    • 24.1
      Tiffany says

      Corrie, I know some people prefer to keep the bad recipes so they don’t repeat them. I’ve never accidentally repeated a bad recipe. It could happen to me one day though. I think I remember them just because they were bad – like the ham spaghetti we hated or the horrible orange Chinese beef thing that I had to throw away. I guess they are just yucky enough that we remember!

  24. 25
    FoodontheTable says

    This is a really good idea. I’ll have to give it a try.

  25. 26
    Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists says

    Great post!

    I’m a Mac user, though, so I can’t use OneNote. Good news is that I found a product I love called “Notebook” by Circus Ponies. (They also have no idea who I am or what I write!)

    It’s exactly like working within a notebook (you can even decide if you want lined pages, grid paper, etc as a background!) and also gives you the ability to “clip” things from the web or email directly into your document. I especially like the satisfying “clip” sound it makes when I do that. I’m such a sucker for that stuff.

    Great guest post!

    • 26.1
      Tiffany says

      I love the name Circus Ponies! That just sounds fun. That product sounds a lot like OneNote. I never remember to choose a fun “paper” but the option is there. I like the idea of a “clip” sound :-)

  26. 27
    April says

    Typically mine are either in e-mails that have been sent to me from e-magazines (Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Taste of Home, etc.) and I save them until I cut and paste the information into MasterCook 7. I love this program because I can then scale recipes up or down, keep track of notes, sources, and create new cookbooks to store recipes based on their ingredients or whatever.

    BUT, until they make it into MasterCook, and are found on the blogs I follow, I will just add a tag to the blog for “Recipe” and then about once a week, I go and add them into the Master Cook. I will say it was easier to just print them off and file them than do this BUT now they’re in one central location.

  27. 28
    Paula says

    I started using SpringPad and it has actually inspired me to actually learn to cook! No joke! My husband used to do most of the cooking because I just didn’t know what to fix or how to fix it. I started using SpringPad to keep track of recipes I wanted to try…so that eliminated the “what to cook”. Plus, I could access it from my phone…which is a plus when you are at the grocery store! I love that it automatically imports the ingredients list with a click of a button! It also links directly back to where you found the recipe online. You can add notes, tags, and even photos! Then, there are free addons you can install to make a grocery list from the recipe(s) or even a mealplanner app! Also, there’s an option to share the recipes by posting them to your Facebook page or other social networking site or you can even have your friends sign up for a free SpringPad account and they can “follow” you and you them. It truly is a remarkable service that I can honestly say has changed my life…at least as far as in the kitchen and the grocery store! Oh, and I have lots of recipes saved from the Eat At Home site! These are easy recipes that even a novice or picky family will eat! ;)

  28. 29
    Katrina says

    I will, as I add recipes to my new blog, be just collecting them under the one heading, for me at home though I have a recipe book that once something has been declared a favourite recipe and one that will be cooked again and again it gets added to that book

  29. 30
    Crystal & Co says

    I am a frequent stalker of Eat at Home!!!

    I love her site and there is not one recipe I have made that I do not like! Her recipes are always short and to the point with simple ingredient lists that I have on hand.

    Tiffany’s site is one of the first sites I check each weekend as I compile my meal plan for the upcoming week.

    Hi Tiffany! Great guest post!

    You can not go wrong with Eat at Home!

    • 30.1
      Tiffany says

      Crystal, you are so sweet :-) It makes me happy to know that my recipes work for you and your family.

  30. 31
    stacy says

    I use Evernote all the time. You can edit whatever you post on there so if there are any changes I want to make I edit, then hit save and close.

  31. 32
    rachel says

    I’ve always used one note for my recipes and I love it!

  32. 33
    Shelley says

    This is great. I love recipes and always printing them out. I never really thought about saving them this way! Woohoo!

  33. 34
    Laura says

    I just got into Plummelo. They have this browser button and any time I want to save a recipe online, I just hit the button and it automatically saves to my account. I can also link up the recipes to my shopping list so I don’t have to write things out anymore.

  34. 35
    florida sr22 says

    This is absolutely great, thanks :) Usually I just bookmark the recipe blog into my browser and keep going back if i want to cook something I have seen previously.. but it is not very efficient :(

  35. 36
    Maria says

    I’m a macgourmet user myself. I like how easy it is to import recipes from websites, and I can easily email my recipes to friends when they ask for one. :)

  36. 37
    Sande says

    Wow! This is great, it’s so simple and easy to use. It also removes the clutter of any physical recipes that could be lying around the kitchen. Thanks, I look forward to using this method!

  37. 38
    cathy says

    I still like the stained piece of paper. I print it out and in a binder it goes.

  38. 39
    mary b says

    I am still tagging recipes in delicious, using categories and key ingredients to filter down.
    When I really like a recipe I will print & put in my binder because I, like cathy above, like the old stained paper and like to add my handwritten notes.
    I guess I like to think about how recipes used to get handed down through the years, it was so personal…what can we do now, just send a file?

  39. 40
    Ehab Bandar says

    I had the same problem, and couldn’t find anything that really worked. Tried everything from evernote to google docs, but none did the trick. So I decided to create my own, Foodfolio. The beta version just launched this week and we’re looking for beta testers at http://getfoodfolio.com …. pls don’t mind the bugs, typos and any broken dishes along the way.

  40. 41
    Sarah says

    Google Wave. That’s all I’m gunna say. :)

  41. 42
    Laura says

    cookmarked.com is a great free online tool for organizing and sharing recipes. plenty of other features too!

  42. 43
    Sharen S says

    Take a look at http://www.cookmarkit.com. It’s a new social bookmarking site that focuses on recipes. Really easy to follow your friends and see what they’re cooking. Happy cooking everyone!

  43. 44
    Ingrid says

    Dear Laura,
    Just stumbled across your blog and I absolutely adore it. I will take the time to explore every nook and cranny of your amazing organzation. I loved your post about organizing recipes so much I just had to share it. Hope you enjoy my post (which will publish Wednesday or Thursday) and will be dedicated to you. Thank you!
    Greetings from Switzerland.

  44. 46
    Ali says

    I know I’m a little late to the party, but I use pinterest.com. It’s the best because it’s a visual pinboard of pictures of your favorite recipes (or any links on the internet). It’s a great way to visually see what you’re craving, and then access the recipe. Also, you can see what other people pin and can get ideas from others. I love it! You can divide your boards into as much or as little organization as you want.

  45. 47
    Julie says

    I use http://pasplore.com
    Changed my kitchen life! Like pinterest it saves a website for you, but even better, it extracts the recipe for you from any webpage including your email and stores it in your digital cookbook that you can immediately organize into your categories. It is the simplest website storing I’ve seen so far!

  46. 48
    Amber says

    I LOVE Pasplore.com! It is by far the best tool I have found for saving, editing, sharing, organizing, and even creating recipes! http://pasplore.com

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