Create a Cherished DIY Family Recipe Book + Free Recipe Binder Printable

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Preserve your family’s favourite recipes in a personalised DIY recipe book. Perfect for gifts and treasured for generations. Free cookbook printable to make your family recipe book in a binder. 

inside spread of homemade recipe books

Hands down, the best cookbook you will ever own is the one you create yourself, or perhaps a cherished recipe book from a loved one who is no longer here. 

Your cookbook will include family favourites, recipes you’ve created and adjusted, recipes passed down from parents and grandparents, and recipes you will pass down to your children and grandchildren.

It will be the recipe book that you refer to over and over, unlike all the unread and unused cookbooks gathering dust on the shelf.

The photo above is my cookbook from when I was a teenager and my father’s recipe collection, which I kept after he passed away. It’s my memento of him, and it means a lot to me. 

It’s not fancy, but it holds all the recipes he loved and many that I, too, now enjoy.

homemade recipe books
My teen cookbook on the left (which I still use) and my dad’s homemade cookbooks.

Creating a DIY family recipe book is a heartfelt project that preserves the recipes you love and captures precious family memories. This guide will walk you through the steps to make your own cookbook, whether you make a customised one with fancy printables or a simple DIY cookbook in a notebook like mine.

I’ve also got a free printable to help you get started if you prefer to make a recipe binder.

How to Make a DIY Family Recipe Book

Your recipe collection can be as fancy or as plain and practical as you like. You can write it in a simple notebook, type your recipes up on the computer, buy a blank recipe book, or use an old-fashioned recipe card box. And, of course, there’s always an app as well; although it doesn’t have sentimental value, it can be a practical day-to-day solution. 

At the end of the day, the purpose is to have a record of the home food you and your family love to cook and eat. 

Having said that, here’s how to make a family cookbook.

1. Choose a format.

I’ve tried every format of recipe book over the past 30 years, from the handwritten notebook above to typing up recipes in Word and printing them for a binder and even creating a recipe database in Evernote and Notion.

However, while each format has its merits, I still find myself coming back to the handwritten notebook of old (maybe that’s my age).

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2. Design and Layout

Unless you’re using a pre-made recipe book, you will want to spend some time considering your layout.

You might create sections in your notebook or binder and an index page at the front. Do you want to leave room for notes? Do you want to add a recipe rating to each recipe?

If you want to create a recipe page template from scratch in Word or Canva, then check out Pinterest for layout and inspiration ideas.

3. Gather your recipes.

Once you’ve decided on a layout, you can gather your recipes and add them to your book.

I like to add only recipes I have cooked myself and like. If your personal recipe book is full of irrelevant recipes, then they won’t get used, and what’s the point?!

Don’t forget to include recipe notes, tips, memories (like this was DS’s favourite dinner when he was four), and anecdotes to really personalise your cookbook.

Free Recipe Binder Printable

Prefer a more done-for-you approach?

printable recipe page with handwritten recipe

If you’re looking to create a recipe binder and you like the idea of handwritten recipes, I’ve created a free recipe binder printable to help you get started. 

This printable is designed to make creating, personalising, and organising your recipes simple and enjoyable. There are two versions: one with a relatively simple font and one with a decorative initial. 

(Fonts are from Creative Fabrica and the design was made in Affinity Publishing – not an affiliate of either, but that’s what I’ve used if you’re interested.)

Download and Print

Click the buttons below to download the free printables. The file is in PDF format for easy printing and in black and white to conserve ink and work on any printer.

Once downloaded, open the PDF using any PDF reader (I like the free Foxit Reader on my laptop) and print. 

Tip: the recipe page is formatted in A4 paper size. 

Assemble Your Recipe Binder

Use either a three-ring binder and clear plastic pockets or a two-ring binder and a hole punch. If you like, you can also add section dividers and divide your binder into sections such as soups, chicken dishes, beef dishes, vegetarian baking, desserts, or whatever category best suits your collection and tastes. 

Start filling out the recipe templates in your handwriting and add any notes or personal touches that make the binder uniquely yours. You can include family photos, anecdotes, and notes, as well as using stickers and coloured spends to enhance the visual appeal of your binder. 

Hole punch the template or place it in a plastic sleeve inside your binder.

Top Tip: Consider also scanning recipes and storing them in the cloud. That way, if anything happens to your special cookbook, you have a backup. 

Made For You Blank Recipe Books

store-bought blank baking journal

If you don’t want to custom-create a cookbook from scratch, you can also purchase a ready-made blank recipe book to write in. We gifted our daughter one year for her birthday. She loves baking, so she uses it all the time.

I really like the Clever Fox range of notebooks (we have their reading journal). Their spiral-bound hardcover recipe book is good quality, holds up to 60 recipes, has plenty of space to write out long recipes, and comes with lots of extras like an index and stickers. It is on the pricey side, however, but it makes a great gift. Their A5-bound softcover version is a bit cheaper, but there are also many more blank recipe book designs on Amazon (I really like this one).

Family Recipe Book: A Great Gift for Kids

blank recipe journal with recipe and drawings

Because our daughter loves to bake, we gave her a recipe book for Christmas one year, and she pulls it out to bake every week (more if I let her; she really loves baking). 

This baking book is a handy reference and a record of her favourite recipes over the years as she adds to her baking repertoire. My daughter has also started adjusting recipes (her cookie recipe is perfectly baked at 17 minutes, not 20) and making her own personalised creations. 

For older kids who are moving out of home, a great gift idea is to make a keepsake cookbook of family favourite recipes. It’s something they can take with them when they move out of home. Then, when they want to make mum’s famous beef stew, they have the recipe on hand, in mum’s own handwriting. 

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3 Comments

  1. I completely agree! I have a similar old exercise book with all my favorites. One thing I do to add to the pleasure of it is, if possible, ask the person giving me the recipe to write it in their own handwriting and to sign and date it. Some of these people have gone now but I still have that lovely moment when they wrote in my book and shared a special recipe with me, and I think of them everytime I cook that recipe.

  2. That’s a really lovely idea. Love it!

  3. I’d have to agree. I’m not much of a cook but getting the cook that passes you the recipe to write it your book – that is one of the nicest ideas I’ve heard in a while.