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Gear Girl: 4 Reasons To Organize Your Recipes Online

How do you organize your recipes? A recipe box of handwritten favorites? Computer folders of typed-up recipes? A binder of magazine tear-outs? Pinterest boards? Digital recipe organizers? Over the years, I've gathered a collection of binders and folders and Pinterest boards and bookmarks, but lately I've been in the process of moving ALL my recipes into one online system. Here are four reason to consider going digital and some of my favorite systems to use.

1) Never lose a recipe. One of my biggest pet peeves is knowing I have a copy of a recipe somewhere and not being able to find it. With a digital recipe organizer, my neighbor's carrot cake or grandma's famous ginger cookie recipe are just a click away. Every time.

Digital Recipe Header

2) Search by ingredient. Garden over-grown with tomatoes? Found a great deal on apples at the farmer's market? Or wondering what else you can make with that container of anchovies you're buying for Caesar salad? Having your recipes in a digital recipe book lets you search for meals by ingredients whether it's what you need to use up or a favorite flavor you're hoping to enjoy.

3) Time-saving tags. I used to organize my binders by food type (beef, chicken, vegetables, etc), but had a friend who organized all her recipes seasonally. A method that I was jealous of come fall and winter when all I wanted to do was see all my cold-weather favorites. With many digital recipe system, you can tag recipes with a variety of key categories. My favorite short rib recipe has a tag for "favorite" and "do ahead" as well as "fall" and "company" tags. So whether I'm looking for a set-it-and-forget-it weeknight dinner or a cold-weather recipe for company, I know I'll find this recipe.

4) Your recipes, wherever you are. At home, a friend's house, the farmer's market or your weekend away with the girls. Wherever you are, having your recipes in a digital format lets you access the steps and ingredients with the touch of a button.

Ready to digitize your delicious recipes? Here are some of my favorite picks for putting your recipes online.

If you want one system for organizing recipes -- along with the rest of your life...Evernote.

I've recently been switching over all my magazine tear-outs, handwritten hand-me-down recipes and pinned recipes over to Evernote (free). While I love the visual layout of my Pinterest recipe boards, each pin links you to a website - and if that website goes away? So does your access to the recipe. With the Evernote Web Clipper, it is easy to import the complete recipe (with photos and links to the original site) from any website, letting me have access to the recipe even if the website goes belly-up or deletes a recipe. You can also type or scan recipes in. I have a folder called Recipes and dozens of sub-folder like Chicken, Thai, Dessert:Pies, and others. Plus I can label recipes with as many tags as I'd like so it's easy to find recipes I love for weeknights, summer produce, make-head or potlucks. Evernote does have a special recipe app called Evernote Food, but I just like to use the regular Evernote mainly because I already use it to organize future post ideas, wishlists for the kids, names of wines to try, and a host of other things. One program for all my remembering.

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best online recipe organizers

If you're a stickler for recipe formatting....Paprika.

Sure, there are lot of programs that let you import recipes from over the web. And their formatting. If this mixture of layouts drives your inner neat-freak crazy, you might be willing to plop down the cash for Paprika ($19.99 for the Mac app, $4.99 for the iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle and Nook app). Paprika lets you find recipes anywhere on the web and import them with a single click - AND - the recipe will be converted into a uniform formatted version - regardless of the stye or format of the original recipe. You can also add your own recipes, plan meals and create shopping lists from your recipes. Other cool features? Paprika lets you easily re-scale recipe servings for larger or smaller crowds, and for cooking times listed in the recipes (broil for 3 minutes, bake for 1 hour, etc.), you can click on the words in the recipe to start a pop-up timer. Smart.

digital online recipe organization

If you want seamless communication between your recipes, shopping lists and meal planner...Ziplist.

Ziplist (free) combines a web-based and smartphone app-based shopping list along with a recipe box and meal planner. You can find thousands of recipes on Ziplist's recipe database from popular websites like and and food bloggers like The Naptime Chef, Weelicious, and one of my personal favs, Alexandra Cooks, as well as recipes added by Ziplist users. You can also add your own recipes with ZipList's Recipe Clipper bookmarklet or simply type them in. Ziplist not only lets you store your recipes, but lets you meal plan for the week and then easily create shopping lists sent to your smartphone app. Recipes chosen, dinner planned and food shopped for. You for the win!

online recipe organizers

 What's your favorite way to organize your recipes?

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