I have been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix obsessively and now have this unrelenting need to get organized and downsize. As I was purging closets and deciding what “sparks joy,” as Kondo advises one to do, I started thinking about the kitchen. (All roads to lead to the kitchen with me). How to organize recipes came to mind.
My first foray into organizing recipes was to simply create a folder on my computer and bookmark the recipe. This method is excellent for its simplicity. It falls down a bit when you are looking for a recipe, and you have no idea its name. You have to be online to access the website and rely on it still being in the same location it was when you found it. I found, over time, sites shut down, or recipes were placed behind a paywall making it challenging to access. There had to be a better way, so off I went to find the best way to organize recipes.
I tried the Paprika Recipe Manager, Pepperplate, Pocket, and Pinterest. There are pros and cons to each one, but to me, there is a standout method.
Which one is right for you?
Let’s go to the Chalkboard.
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Why Recipe Management?
Marie Kondo, aside, organizing your recipes will help streamline your meal planning, saving you time. Having all of your recipes in one spot allows you to quickly search, scan, and choose what you want to cook.
Recipe organization will show you recipes you haven’t seen in years. It may even get you out of a cooking rut. I found dishes that I used to make all the time that quickly went back into rotation. Recipe Management for the win!
What to Look for in a Recipe Manager?
When I’m choosing a method for an electronic recipe manager, I’m looking for a few things. First is the ease of use. I want something simple that I can easily add recipes from any website without fuss.
Let’s see how these methods compare and learn how to organize your recipes.
If you aren’t familiar with Pocket, it’s a free app that helps you store any article or webpage. You can then refer back to it at any time, even if you are offline. It integrates with Safari and Chrome well — with just one or two clicks, you can save anything to your account.
How does this work for recipe management? Well, you find a recipe on any website and save it to Pocket. Whenever you need it, you go to getpocket.com or the Pocket app, and it’s there. It’s as simple as that. There is an unlimited amount of space to store things in, and did I mention it’s free?
The downside to using Pocket is that it doesn’t have a robust search. You can only find recipes by tag, URL, or title. If you know exactly what dish you are looking for or where you found it, you are in business. But if you are anything like me and you want to find a recipe that has carrots in it because, all of a sudden, your five-year-old likes carrots, you may be out of luck.
You can get around the lack of search functionality a bit by using labels that you create; this requires some pre-planning to determine what you want them to be. You can start creating tags for courses or cuisines before saving your first recipe to Pocket; this will help bolster up the search.
Pepperplate is a free recipe management app meant to rival Paprika.
It hasn’t had an update since 2015, and it shows. The user experience is frustrating. The importing feature only works on a minimal number of websites, and even then, it is spotty at best. The user is left to type in the recipes, which is very time-consuming. There are better options out there.
Many of you use it every day. You see a recipe, pin it, and there it is. The search engine is excellent. If you need to find a German carrot recipe or a sweet green treat for St. Patrick’s Day, one search and a ton of options are there.
Managing recipes with Pinterest is a different story. Once you have saved the pins to a board, it can sometimes be challenging to find. For years I didn’t think you could do it, but I just recently found a way to search your pins only.
- Go into your profile, select “all pins” to view your pins.
- Type what you are looking for into the search bar.
- Next to the search bar will pop up the option for where to search. Selecting “Your Pins” will help you quickly find anything you have pinned.
Something to consider is that Pinterest only works online, and you are relying on the link to the pin still being active when you click it. Considering that the life of a Pinterest pin is many years, sometimes you may try to go to a recipe only to find the link to be broken; this can be frustrating.
A recipe manager will store the recipe for you, eliminating this problem.
Paprika is a recipe manager that has been around for many years. It has an importing feature that shines on the PC/Mac and makes getting started a breeze. You simply use the browser within Paprika to visit a recipe page and click a button to import. To add it to the app on your iPhone, it’s two clicks. You click on the share button and then select the Paprika app. It’s that easy.
Since Paprika stores all of your recipes in their app, you can access them anytime, even if you are offline. You can also easily search by recipe name, ingredient, or URL. The ingredient search is critical here because you may not know what the name of a recipe is or where it came, from but you will likely know at least one ingredient.
As for additional features, Paprika has them. And not just any features, but ones that are helpful and time-saving. You can add a recipe to your favorites also to a calendar for your meal plan. There is a scale recipe button that will quickly double, triple, or half a recipe. You can also set a timer within the app. These small features are ones that I found myself using often.
The best tool I have found on Paprika, besides the simple Recipe Importer, is the Shopping List. With one click, you can add the ingredients from a recipe to a master list. You can quickly scan them before adding and unselect those that you already have in your pantry; this is a real timesaver.
Here’s the thing with Paprika, in terms of apps, it’s expensive. The iPhone and iPad apps are $4.99, and the Windows/Mac apps are $19.99/$29.99, respectively. So, even though the apps sync between your devices, you need to purchase each one separately. You can get away with just having it on your iPhone if you wish to start that way. It will take you a little longer to import.
Recipe Manager Review
After using these various recipe management methods, I got a sense of the value of a dedicated recipe manager. Your recipes are stored and ready to go when you are and the extra features are handy. If you are looking to organize your recipes for the long haul, Paprika is a robust and easy to use recipe manager. It is worth every penny.
I hope this article sparked Marie Kondo type joy for you, and you learned how to organize your recipes. What do you use to manage your recipes? Is there a program I am missing that you want me to review? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for this article. I have been using Pepperplate for years (have 1482 recipes in it!) and it serves my purposes, (seems to do most of what you say Paprika does) but am becoming more and more concerned about the fact that bits of it regularly brake, but mostly worry about what happens if it disappears one day? There is no way of backing up the recipes I have in it.
So, I have two questions before changing over to Paprika
Would you know if it can be backed up? (I have also learned the hard way, that just because an app is not free, doesn’t guarantee its longevity)
The second thing is, would you know if there would be any way of importing the recipes from Pepperplate?
Hi Judy! Paprika does backup automatically. It is awesome to not have not to think about it. You create an account and it will back up in the cloud. I haven’t seen a way to mass upload from Pepperplate but if you do make the switch over to Paprika, I recommend buying the desktop version as it is much more powerful. Hope this helps!
Hi Kristen, I’ve just built a recipe management platform called Foodspace and would love for you to try it out. We allow users to save recipes into our platform with just a url, or by using our Chrome Extension which automatically grabs the ingredients and recipe title. Our users swear our Chrome Extension is a game changer!! Saved recipes can be combined into custom shopping lists, and even ordered for delivery via Instacart. If folks need a little spark, we have an Inspiration tab which is curated weekly based on the season and by diet category. Our platform is different in a few ways: we’re built on algorithms, we have a grocery delivery integration, we’re FREE, and we’re a startup team of 3 fired up to help folks build a better food experience. Check us out here, would love to hear your thoughts: https://my.foodspaceapp.com
I am always on the hunt for the best recipe app. I will check it out. Thanks!
HI, thank you so much for all your information, Can i put my recipes which are on index cards meaning not online into Paprika?
Hi Sara! Yes you can add them in manually. It is much easier to do this on a desktop so it is worth investing in that version if you have a bunch to import.