How To Make A Homemade Cookbook

Collecting recipes from magazines, websites and newspapers is a favorite pastime of most cooks but where do you keep them? I’ll help you find a way to store all of those delicious recipes in a notebook.


Recipes online

The problem with bookmarking is that websites close down or move to a new address and then you can’t find that wonderful meatloaf recipe you saved in your files last year.

Another problem is getting flour and goo on your laptop while cooking. I don’t like a dirty computer so this bothers me not to mention the fact that flour plus water makes glue and glued keys don’t work so well.

Notebooks work great for recipes

This is old school but still my favorite method of keeping recipes. I have some from all the way back in junior high. We won’t discuss how many years but it’s a lot.

If you have hundreds of recipes and your notebook starts to get really full you can buy more than one notebook and organize them by sections. I have one notebook for just desserts, another for bread and a third one for main dishes, drinks, canning and side dishes. Divide yours into whatever you use most frequently.

The beauty of making your own is that you can file them any way you choose and label them to your own specifications.

You can get colors or just the plain office supply store black with the label holder on the spine. This is what I have and it works fine. Right before school starts you can pick up fancy ones with pictures on them at bargain prices. I’ve mostly seen animals, celebrities, the latest popular hero or movie but you might find some with pictures of food.

Make sure your notebook can be wiped with a wet cloth. I’ve seen fancy fabric covered recipe books at craft stores that would be covered in ingredients by the time I got through with them and would look pretty gross after a while, so make sure they can be easily cleaned.

This old cookbook is older than my daughter
This old cookbook is older than my daughter


Page protectors

I'm a bit messy when I cook (which is why I don’t allow my computer in the kitchen) so I cover my most used recipes in page protectors. This can be a bit expensive if you have a large collection but if you pick up a few every once in a while when you are out shopping eventually you will have enough to cover all of your pages keeping them muck free.

July and August when school supplies go on sale is the best time to buy office supplies.

Start out covering the pages you use most. Food slopped on a page makes it difficult to read and swiping your hand across it when damp smears the writing. I know, I have had to rewrite a few recipes due to smeared up pages. They say a messy cook is the best so I must be really good.


Printing recipes from the computer

As I mentioned above, cooking websites sometimes move or if your computer crashes and you didn’t save all your bookmarks to a flashdrive then you are in a pickle. Also you can easily take a recipe page with you if you need it away from home.

Most recipe websites will have a print friendly button that helps you keep from printing all the sidebar stuff that you don’t need or want to waste ink on.

You can print in color if you want but I usually print my pages in gray scale to save color ink.


You will need a three hole punch

These make it easy to poke holes evenly without having to measure and you get all three holes punched in one step.

If you haven’t invested in page protectors you can tape down the hole punch side with good transparent tape before punching the holes to reinforce the edge. After years these tend to get stressed and will eventually tear out.

Recipes that are more than one page can be stapled together with the print sides out along the outer edge keeping these pages together. This is important because over time sometimes pages get separated from each other. If you’ve stapled them together this will insure they stay together. Nothing more frustrating then trying to find the second half of a recipe digging through all your pages and pages of recipes. They add up over time.

One of these notebooks didn't have a label sleeve so I used an adhesive label.
One of these notebooks didn't have a label sleeve so I used an adhesive label.


Handwriting or typing recipes

In the dark ages I hand wrote a lot of recipes on notebook paper, I still do this today, actually. Sometimes I type them out on a Word document and then print them off just depends on what I’m doing and where I am.

I carry plain notebook paper in my purse so I can copy recipes down at the doctor’s office. A couple of times I ran out of time and a receptionist was nice and offered to copy the recipe for me on their copy machine but I wouldn’t ask, they are busy.

You can also write down a recipe when at a family get together where food is served or potluck dinner at work or church. Anywhere there is good food and a potential for getting a new recipe, I take sheets of notebook paper.


Recipes from magazines and newspapers

Here at home I cut out recipes from old periodicals and tape them to sheets of notebook paper and store in my homemade cookbooks. You can use glue or whatever works for you. If you tape them be sure to use good quality tape or after a while it will discolor your pages and come unstuck.

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Comments 21 comments

cloverleaffarm profile image

cloverleaffarm 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

Great hub. I have a cook book that was put together in a notebook by my Aunt back in 1905! It is still in great shape, and I treasure it. Vote up.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Great idea! I put some recipes in a photo album with sticky pages once. I usually keep too many, but, oh, well. Hey, I'm a messy cook, too, so I must be an awesome one. I'm glad you said that! Many votes here!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Wow, Clover that is a wonderful treasure. I have some really old cookbooks but not ones made by family.

Victoria, my great aunt told me that the best cooks are messy. She was a great cook and pretty messy too. I clean up afterwards and wonder what hit my kitchen. lol


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Pamela, I second using those page protectors! And flour paste and laptop keyboards should never get anywhere near each other!

My mother and her female relatives kept their "receipts" on 3 X 5 recipe cards...or whatever else was handy that would fit into Ye Trusty Recipe File Box. My mother's box went away years ago, after I'd pulled all the recipes worth keeping and put them (loose) into a decorative tin. Many of them she got from other people, so I can identify hers by the handwriting.

For that reason, I don't want to copy them to Word and print out on regular size paper to put in a notebook like you describe. Instead, this hub reminded me I have several small photo albums with "flip" pages that would be perfect for them. Thanks!

Voted up and awesome! ;D


TomBlalock profile image

TomBlalock 4 years ago from Hickory, NC

I generally am a "make your own" sort of guy, and I do indeed have my own cookbook, of sorts. I won't go into detail, as I don't want to sidetrack this wonderful article with my own drivel, but I did have a question. For the longest time, I've been looking for a recipe program for the computer. I don't suppose you've ever run into any or heard of any, have you?


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Tom, my mom has used a database program to organize her recipes since the early 80's. But you can use any kind of program... just set up a template do you don't constantly have to retype stuff.

Cute hub! :-)


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Jama, a lot of people love recipe cards. Once upon a time I had some but never warmed up to them. By all means I'd keep your mother's hand written recipes. That is the beauty of homemade collections we have a piece of history.

Tom, sounds like you need to write an article if this has inspired you with thoughts. No, I haven't seen or heard of anything like that but then I'd have to have my laptop in the kitchen and that would be a mess. I bet someone has something like that if not perhaps you could make one. I'm sure many cooks would love a website like that.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Thanks, CC. I didn't see your post before. I figured there was something out there. I have some saved on my hard drive but most are in my notebooks. My kids photocopy them if they want a recipe. (I have a little copier in my office.)


emilybee profile image

emilybee 4 years ago

This hub is awesome and includes various methods of organizing recipes. I, too, don't allow my laptop too close to the kitchen!! Lots of our cookbooks have traces of food from years past on the pages. They are now vintage recipes with lots of memories :) I should do the 3 hole binder thing, right now I have handwritten my favorite recipes on little sticky notes on the kitchen cabinets :) Voted up and shared.


TomBlalock profile image

TomBlalock 4 years ago from Hickory, NC

I would point out that I don't actually keep my computer in the kitchen, but I tend to have a good working memory when I use recipes offline. Tend to just keep them in my head, but I can't really remember them on the spot sometimes, and need that refresher in the form of a recipe.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Pamela and Tom, there was once a device that looked like a small flat screen monitor on (a CD or DVD player?) that was only for recipes, and designed to sit on the kitchen counter while you cooked and baked. Can't remember what it was called, and don't remember if you had to be a member of a proprietary recipe club to get it, but it's probably still out there somewhere.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Tom, I'm impressed with people that have many recipes in their head. I have basic ones but most baking recipes I have to have written down.

I haven't heard of that, Gama, that sounds like a cool idea.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

What a great idea! I have some recipes I need to organize and this is such a simple yet workable suggestion. Thanks for sharing.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Another great hub, Pamela N Red! I have also bookmarked recipes on the internet and when I went back, couldn't find them. I recently made a similar cookbook, but will use your ideas to improve it. (the page protectors...I'm also a messy cook!) Thank you. Voted up and awesome.


LauraGT profile image

LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

Thanks for this hub. I'm constantly struggling with how best to organize my recipes. I recently went through my 3-ring binder and pinned (on pinterest) all of my favorite recipes. While I like the idea of having them online, there is something about flipping through a 3-ring binder that just works better. I should take your advice and divide into multiple binders, because mine is bursting! Happy recipe filing!


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Websited move and change all the time and then you can't find those recipes. I've had that happen a few times so now I always print them off and put them in my notebook so I'll have them.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Great ideas for storing recipes. I keep mine in 3-ring binders, in protectors and I use deviders and write on the tabs, soups, fish, chicken, desserts or whatever. It makes them easy to find. It is easy enough to copy and paste an on-line recipe into Word, There I can usually make adjustments to make them fit onto one page.

As for Tom you obviously have a good memory for recipes but just need a memory jog now and then. Why not get one of those telephone gadgets, the ones used to sit by the phone with handy numbers in and you pushed the slider to the alphabet letter you want. You could make notes here and they would be easy to find and small enough to be out of the way. If its just a quick reminder you need.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Rosemay, I love my notebooks and use them all the time. My dessert collection is getting too large and I may have to divide it into sections.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Excellent suggestions for preserving family heirlooms. One solution to computer crashes is to store your recipes on the cloud. I think scanning handwritten pages and printing those out will help preserve the originals. Voting this Up and Useful.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 4 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Alocsin, I keep hearing about Cloud and I need to check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.


sheilanewton profile image

sheilanewton 4 years ago from North Shields, UK

Some very clever and unique ideas here. I'll use some of these tips. Thank you, Pamela.

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