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how do you organize recipes?

I do a lot of my recipe researching on line, have a few ethnic email newsletters sent to me and have a subscription to Food Network magazine and of course there is this site.

When I find a recipe I don't know what to do with it. Right now I have separate folders in my email (for Italian, Mexican, Thai etc). I have started on Pinterest (my boards are apps, mains, sides, dessert), but I cannot Pin every recipe I come across as the links are not there. For the magazine I fold down corners.

Does anyone have any unique way to organize all these? Printing it all off is not an option for me, I would prefer to have an online library and a hard copy library. Not surprisingly I don't want to spend hours and hours or a bunch of money. Just curious what you all do when you come across that 'ooo, yummy! I want to make that, but can't right this week recipe'.

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  1. Pepperplate.com. It has truly changed my life in the kitchen. You can add any recipe you like electronically, categorize it the way you like, make notes, etc. It's free and amazing. I transferred all of my bookmarks and recipes from sites that didn't have good search engines, like FoodandWine.com, etc. I still have my recipe box on Epicurious because it's searchable, but for ALL other recipes online I use Pepperplate.

    1 Reply
    1. re: biondanonima

      Great rec, I have been playing with Pepperplate for a couple of days and it's wonderful. One thing I particularly like is that when you import a recipe you can modify it as you like. So all my printed out recipes from web sites with hand-scrawled notes can be put into Pepperplate with those annotations.

    2. Pepperplate.com is one option but it doesn't take care of those recipes on dogeared magazine pages. I have a collection of cookbooks so I don't want a lot of magazines cluttering up the place. I scan magazine recipes as PDF documents and store them on my home computer. CDs are cheap so I make a backup CD periodically so that I don't lose the files if I experience a crash.

      4 Replies
      1. re: todao

        I do this if I can't find the recipe online, but most of the food magazines I read (Food and Wine, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Saveur) have most of their recipes on their websites, so I just grab them from there. Otherwise, scan and save works!

        1. re: biondanonima

          quick look at pepperplate, looks like what I am looking for! and you are correct, with Food network magazine being my main one, I should be able to find on line. way easier than scanning, although another decent option.

          Love that there is an app for it too, do you use that biandanonima?

          1. re: cleopatra999

            I actually don't use the app, just the website - I don't have an iPad, and I so rarely need to use it on my smartphone that I haven't bothered. I'm sure it's great though - it's a great site all around.

            1. re: biondanonima

              I'm not familiar with pepperplate, so I can't offer a comparison, but you can now add online recipes (including links to posts here on chowhound) and personal recipes to Eat Your Books. EYB is primarily for cookbook indexing and search, and it charges an annual subscription fee, but if you have a lot of cookbooks, it might be worth investigating as the primary value is to have an index to all of your recipes in one place. In addtion to many cookbooks, EYB also indexes some websites and some magazines.


      2. I use macgourmet on my imac and my iphone and ipad. My device apps just sync with my desktop version. So convenient to have all my recipes when I'm out shopping if I decide to make something spur of the moment. I have the recipes themselves organized in a variety of folders in the app. Everything from the name of the source, to courses or type of food. So Indian, Mexican ect to preserving, fermentation, yeast breads, cakes, salads, pork ect.

        1. I use Living Cookbook: http://www.livingcookbook.com/. I am usually able to find most of my hard copy recipes online and then they are easy to copy into LC.

          1. Ages ago I started keeping my recipe links or self-written personal recipes at www.allrecipes.com so I don't foresee going through the pain of changing to a new site anytime soon! I like it cause I can write little notes about what I changed from the original recipe.

            I do love Pinterest but mostly use it to find new recipes and once I make them then it goes to my allrecipes account with comments and all. I'm slowly trying to make specific boards for all the new things I make so I can have an easy visual of things to make if I have no idea what to cook one night. Maybe someday I'll add all the old recipes I made to the appropriate boards.

            I guess the paranoid in me fears a website shutting down completely without notice so I do print the recipes I find amazing and keep those in a binder.

            1. I keep my recipes on my hard drive in Word format. I back them up on 2 different flashdrives, just in case. I have the recipes organized the way many cookbooks would be. I have categories like main dishes, side dishes, desserts, dishes I want to try. I have several sub categories. Some of my dishes are in more than 1 category so they are duplicated but not too much.

              I don't trust bookmarking because sometimes the recipe just goes away or is moved. I want them on my hard drive. When I cook, I print a recipe, use it in the kitchen and then I throw it away. I do try to go back to the computer and make notes or changes when I find an improvement.

              Someday, I will join the 21st century and keep them on the cloud. That would enable easier sharing and accessing them from multiple devices. I haven't been in a hurry to do so because I don't have a phone that would take advantage of it.

              There are lots of other ways to do it and you will certainly hear about them on this thread.

              I have 4000 - 5000 recipes. Contact me at hank.hanover99@gmail.com. Maybe we can share some recipes.

              1. I have over 2,000 recipes and I use Cook'n software (www.cookn.com). It is the most comprehensive recipe software that I have seen. Not only does it store your recipes by category but you can search online for a recipe and then automatically capture it to Cook'n. It also gives nutritional info, creates shopping lists and much more. Check it out.

                1. Keep them on Word in folders on my MacBook. Keep them in Pages in folders on my iPad. I only use my iPad now,never have to bother printing anything out....have a wonderful under the cupboard holder for it.

                  1. I just checked out Pepperplate because of all these recommendations. It looks great. I use Ziplist, which I have really liked but it looks like Pepperplate might be better. Has anyone used both? What do you think?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lafarrell

                      My experience is with zip list is the entire recipe is usually not there and then when i have gone back to make the recipe, it is no longer here.

                    2. I have the same paranoid fear that others have mentioned - that a recipe or site will just disappear --- also - when I do cook from a recipe (which is often) - I prefer having it printed out so that I can have it on the counter (or taped to the cabinet above the counter) as I cook. So I print out everything when I see something interesting to save for the future. I have a few manilla folders that are labeled on the front with either desserts, salads, soups, desserts, drinks, chicken, meat, fish, apps, hors d'oeuvres, etc, most folders have three or more different topics within and each topic has the various recipes clipped together within the folder. Folders become bulky and are rubberbanded to keep together. It has been working for me. Oh the love of food and cooking!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: smilingal

                        I share the disappearing site fear, but I like having both a hard copy (for safe-keeping and for cooking from, as well as making notes) and a soft copy so I can access the recipe from wherever.


                      2. If I find a recipe I like, I'll use my "print to pdf" program to save the print version as a pdf file on my computer hard drive (and back it up with my regular backups). If I'm going to actually make the recipe, then I can print it out from the pdf file. This way, if a recipe moves or is deleted from a website, I still have it, and I can search my recipes folder as needed.

                        I'd like to be more organized, so I may check out Pepperplate, but minimally, with this method I have easy access to the printed recipe.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hbg1

                          Such a great idea, printing to pdf!


                        2. I'm a little surprised no one mentioned Evernote, (have I overlooked a post?) which keeps copies on the desktop synced with the cloud so that one doesn't need to worry about backups, clips whole web pages or just highlighted sections, organizes PDF, .doc, .docx files and its own internal note-taker, accepts scans, uses folders and subfolders, has an overlay (called Clearly) that makes cluttered web pages easier to read, prints from the web or the desktop device, and has mobile apps and widgets, all cross-platform so you can use an iPhone, an Android phone, an iPad or one of the newer Android tablets *and* all your laptops, and desktops at work, school or home, all in sync, and all able to add new recipes on the fly.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: PesachBenSchlomo

                            I have been using Now Your Cooking for more than ten years. All kinds of ways to add recipes, including the thousands already in this format or one that is compatible. I have digital subscriptions to more than one magazine and to websites so I just clip and import the recipe to my database in NYC. I can organize into particular cookbooks, now working out of my Thanksgiving cookbook, make usage notes, keep records of former menus, create shopping lists. Easy use, flexible to fit your needs, likes and dislikes and FANTASTIC support. I also sometimes clip to Evernote and have enjoyed using the Bittman apps for my new IPAD. I have used five or six different cooking databases, but once I found NYC I stayed with it. I have worked out a way not to have to print recipes almost at all so I love that. Another user talked about a small scanner that would more easily convert my cookbook recipes (not a cookbook fan) and I plan to explore that in the future.
                            Have no investment in this company just love the software.