Bringing Your Recipe "Book" Into the 21st Century!

Afternoon *bump*
Originally posted 7-11-2010

Nowadays my family sees me more with my laptop on the kitchen counter than my recipe file or a cookbook when I decide to cook something.  Over the last year or so I have started saving recipes to .PDF instead of printing them out on paper.

The benefits are many!

  • Easier to organize.  Make as many folders and subfolders as you like!
  • Eco-friendly…uses less….well…NO paper.
  • Save the recipe WITH the pictures…just the way it appears on the website you got it from.

I’m sure there are more…but these are enough for me.  Plus, I’m a geek of sorts…and I just like using my laptop as a cookbook. :-)

Here are a few screen shots of my Recipe “Book”.

This is my computer’s directory. I have a folder called Recipes in my Documents folder.
So far I’ve only organized them into Gluten-Free and everything else.
All you do is click on any of your .pdf files in the folder you have them saved in,
and the full recipe will open up in Adobe Reader
(If you don’t have Adobe Reader, you can download it HERE.)
Here’s how to start your own 21st Century Recipe “Book”. :-)

First, head on over to and download their FREE PDF Writer program.
It’s 3.9 MB’s and took me less than a minute to download.

Install program.

Using CutePDF Writer to create PDF document:

DO NOT look for any application to run. Just print your document  using CutePDF Writer (the printer) to get PDF output.

1.  Open your original document and select Print command in File menu of your application to bring up Print dialog box.
2.  Then select CutePDF Writer as the Printer to print (DO NOT select “Print to file” option).
3.  You will get a Save As dialog box prompt for saving created PDF file.
Select a folder to Save in and enter a File name, then click on Save.
4.  Go to that folder to find your PDF file.


If you run across a recipe you like online (like THIS ONE I found today!!!)…click on the “Print Recipe” link/icon and follow the same directions as above.

If you decide you want to print it out on paper….to share with a friend or whatever….just click “Print” and instead of choosing the CutePDF Writer….choose to print to your actual printer.

It’s as simple as that.  If you have any questions…leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out.

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  1. Paula says

    I’ve been doing this for years and LOVE IT! I have a huge collection going, and can separate into different folders and sub folders easily. I also have the dvo recipe software, this is so much simpler. I back up automatically to protect. If there are photos I use word, if not, just notepad.

  2. Tricia says

    I have a macbook, like yours in the picture. Is their a cute pdf writer for macs?

  3. Bobbi Kilbarger says

    I use a program called Evernote to organize my recipes. You can even download a plug in for your web browser to help import web text into it. I highlight a recipe I like online, click the button and it creates a new Note and copies the text into it. You can also set tags to the recipe to make searching easier. I have a Notebook called “Recipes” that contains all of my recipes on it. I can view the recipes on any computer or smart phone that I log in on, can print from the program, and can email them.

    You can also import any other files that you already have into it quickly.

  4. Jodi says

    If you have a kindle you can also load PDF’s onto it, through your email. It’s smaller than a laptop on the counter too.

  5. Denise from Ark says

    I've been saving recipes to Word documents for years. This seems soo much easier. The day is very seldom anymore that I crack open a cookbook for a recipe. When you save them to the computer, there is more than enough room to note any adjustments. I also like to collect several "versions" of a given recipe and put the best of all of them together to make my own. Hmmm- bet you could have never guessed that I am not an "exact measure" kind of cook, could you? Recipes are guidelines, not rules!

    • Jason says

      I save them in Word too. I also sync the folder with Dropbox so I have the recipes on my phone at all times. Comes in handy when you’re at the store and forget what you need to make that certain dish.

  6. Jill Nystul says

    Anony1…Thank you for that reminder!! How FRUSTRATING for you. GREAT ADVICE! Back up Back up Back up!

    Anony2….You are so welcome! It is the only way to do it in my book. :-) thanks for stopping by!

  7. Anonymous says

    You are brilliant!! I already had the capabilities to do this on my computer… trying to save my ebooks for my classes. Never thought of this!! You have helped so much! THANKS!!

  8. Anonymous says

    Just don't forget to make a back up file, I did this several years ago and my computer DIED. never to be revived again. So all my computer saved recipe files were lost. I was able to get some back that I had downloaded from the Internet.

  9. Jill Nystul says

    Anony…that sounds like a WONDERFUL project! I'm going to have to start doing that with my Mom's recipe box too. Thanks for the idea. :-) Lots of possibilities!

  10. Anonymous says


    I'm in my late 20's and very tech savvy but I'm also very sentimental. I inherited my grandmother's recipe cards (and cast irons) and spent hours pouring over them. I love them deeply but I must admit because they aren't my library so they're difficult to cook from on a regular basis.

    Scanning and saving as PDF! Why didn't I put that together sooner? I'm sure OCR would even recognize her gorgeous handwriting!

    Thank you very much for this. I'm looking forward to starting this project.