Facebook Twitter

Digitally save family recipes and favorite meals with these tools

It’s time to ditch the three-ring binder filled with scraps of paper and magazine pages featuring your go-to recipes

SHARE Digitally save family recipes and favorite meals with these tools

Members with a free BigOven account have access to more than 500,000 recipes and can add 200 recipes to their account. Users can create grocery lists and get access on the web, mobile or tablet.


It looks like more people have been finding their way around their own kitchens.

Whether due to shutdowns or personal choice, marketing firm Acosta found more than half of shoppers are eating at home more often than they did before the pandemic and 35% of people say they’ve found a new passion for cooking, while some also report the struggle planning different meals every day.

And while more people bought cookbooks last year than in 2019, according to market research company NPD, people are also turning to the internet for recipes. Google’s “Year in Search” showed the top 10 recipes people looked for in 2020 included sourdough bread, the Ikea meatball and egg salad. 

But if you’d like to keep all your family’s favorite recipes in one place without randomly searching the internet every time, it may be time to invest in a good digital recipe organizer.


BigOven was the first recipe app for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows phone and now has more than 13 million downloads. Free members have access to more than 500,000 recipes and can add 200 recipes to their account. Users can create grocery lists and get access on the web, mobile or tablet.

Those with free accounts are also able to use RecipeScan for three recipes. Most of us have a binder or drawer with recipes we’ve printed from the web or ripped out of magazines. RecipeScan will upload those recipes into your account in an easy-to-read digital form. You can purchase more RecipeScans for $0.99 each (if bought one by one) or for $0.59 if you buy them 100 at a time.

A Pro membership upgrades users so they can add unlimited recipes and organize them into custom folders. It gets rid of all ads and includes in a meal planning calendar, recipe customization, detailed nutrition facts and 25 RecipeScans. A Pro membership costs $2.99 per month or $24.99 per year and you can start with a 30-day free trial. One great BigOven feature is the “Use Up Leftovers” option that lets you select up to three ingredients in your fridge to find recipes that use them.

Paprika Recipe Manager

There is no free version of Paprika Recipe Manager 3, but you can take advantage of a free trial to try it out.

It also allows users to grab recipes online and sync them automatically among devices. You can plan out meals by a week or month and the app adds ingredients from those recipes to your shopping list. It helpfully combines items from various recipes on your shopping list, meaning if one recipe calls for one cup of pecans and another calls for two, the list will simply show you that you need three cups of pecans.

Users can also keep a pantry list to track what they already have so it won’t add those items to the shopping list. While cooking, users can cross off ingredients as they add them, make notes on the recipes and set timers. One handy feature lets you easily change the scale of the recipe to double, triple or half it. Paprika will also keep track of progress and timers on multiple recipes at the same time. The mobile app costs $4.99 and the desktop version costs $29.99.

Digitizing your printed recipes

While BigOven and Paprika are great options for pulling recipes from the web, consider all those family recipes you have written in grandma’s handwriting that you don’t necessarily want typed up. While it can be time consuming, digitizing those recipes in photo form could be the answer. 

Shutterfly is a great option when thinking about putting all those recipes in one place. You can use its templates to make a custom recipe book. Use photos of the handwritten recipes and then also type it up if they’re a little hard to read. You can also include photos of family members enjoying the featured meal.

A final option is something like Create My Cookbook, which will type out all the recipes for you so you can put them in a physical cookbook and keep them safe in the mobile app. You snap a photo of the recipe card and send it to them. The first two recipes are free, then you can order five more for $3.95, 30 for $19.99 or 100 for $59.99. They offer soft and hardback cookbooks and you can add photos and text to the pages. The eCookbook costs $9.94 per book and physical books start at $19.95 for the soft cover which can hold about 126 recipes. Create My Cookbook has no minimum quantities, but you can order multiples and get a discount.

It’s time to tidy up and organize all the recipes your family loves. And these options for digital recipe boxes make it simple and ensure you’ll have easy access to those family favorites forever.