How to Make an Easy, Customizable Recipe Book

Accessible on your phone and computer

Photo by Deva Williamson via Unspash

For the longest time, I have been trying to compile a resource of all the recipes I use. I kept a few on my computer and printed them out, but it’s hard to keep up, because I bake a lot. I usually end up flipping through cookbooks or searching through bookmarks of online recipes — not the most efficient process.

Online recipes can be great, except for those 8,000 words and half a dozen photos you have to scroll past before you get to the recipe. And what if the site deletes it? It’s nice to have backups. I used to keep them all neatly “pinned” on a site that allows this, but eventually I found it cumbersome.

Cookbooks are great, but if I have to edit the recipe (which I do often to double or halve the amount) I have to rewrite the entire recipe or keep doing math in my head. Which is a pain, and makes it easy to make a mistake.

One day, I had a revelation. I was using Evernote to organize my college notes — why not use it to store recipes? You can also use OneNote, which many people swear by; the process is the same. Here’s how I did it.

First, name a notebook “Recipes.” Gather all the recipes you like to make. Copy and paste each of the online recipes into its own note. I keep a note with the source, such as “Budget Bytes” or “Allrecipes,” so I can share the original recipe if people ask.

Easy, right? But what about all those cookbook recipes you love? Or your grandmother’s old index cards?

Just snap a photo of them. My Android phone gives me the option to copy the text in the photo — that’s right, it will convert a photo to text. I don’t have an iPhone, but I’m sure it must do this as well.

Paste that text into a note and make any changes you need — quantity, adding notes, whatever. Copying them from a photo is much faster; you can just edit the numbers, and don’t have to rewrite the entire recipe.

The recipes are now all searchable; for instance, you can type in “blueberries,” and all the recipes that use it come up. This is the biggest plus for me; no more thinking, “Where was that great apple cake recipe?” and searching for it for twenty minutes. You can also tag recipes into categories, but I don’t, because I’m lazy.

You can use the app to easily share recipes with other people, such as for grocery shopping, meal planning, or evaluating possible allergens.

I don’t use any fancy templates for my recipes, just an ingredients list (ideally, in the order that items are used) and brief instructions. I usually simplify the recipes; “Tablespoon” becomes “T”; teaspoon becomes “tsp.” “Arrange rounded spoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets, place in a preheated oven and bake at 375 for 10 minutes, then place onto a wire rack to cool” can just as easily be “Bake at 375 for 10 minutes” for me.

And there you have it! Go forth and make.

Article writer, aspiring YA novelist & health scientist.

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