Using Evernote as a recipe book

There’s so many different ways of organising recipes that you collect from different places. You can cut them out and stick them into a pretty book, or write them in (this is my Mum’s preferred method). You can file them in some kind of folders, in whatever categories you want. Or, you can do it electronically!

There’s a thousand and one different “recipe book” apps and websites out there, and while I’m sure all of them are fantastic, they all have their limitations. Most of them, a free membership only allows you to add a certain number of recipes, then you have to pay a monthly fee to access them. If there’s an app, it might only be available on one device, which means that you’re limited to when and where you can do your meal planning and cooking.

So I use Evernote!

For this tutorial, I will not be explaining in detail how to do things in Evernote – I will say something like “create notebook”, but I will not elaborate much further (unless there is a slightly hidden feature you need to use), because otherwise I’d have to do a whole post just on that.

What you need

  • Evernote (this is the website, from here you should be able to find an appropriate download for your computer and devices)
  • A handful of recipes (to get started)
  • Some free time (Put aside an hour or two, depending on how fast you type)


  1. Download Evernote and install (if you haven’t got it already). To start with, just do it on your computer – that is what I will be using for this Tutorial. Open Evernote, and get yourself set up (if you aren’t already). You will need to create an account, but you can opt-out of getting emails from them, and the account is free. This account is how you will be able to access your recipes from anywhere, at any time.
  2. Down the left hand side there will be a menu – go to the Notebook view, and create a new notebook called “Recipes”Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.40.03 am
  3. Double click on the Notebook to open it.
  4. At the top of the page you will see “+ New Note in Recipes”. Click this to add a new Recipe (or use keyboard shortcut ctrl+N for windows, ⌘+N for mac).Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.45.22 am
  5. Once your new recipe is open, set it up as you would like to. Shown below is how I set up a recipe card (all my recipes are set up exactly the same way, so it is easy to read).Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.51.23 am
  6. If I own the recipe book, I set it up like this because why go to all the extra effort of copying out the steps when I can just grab the book out? I put the ingredient list in so I can use it for menu planning.Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.53.17 am
  7. Then tag your recipes (up the top where it says “click to add tags”). I generally tag according to main ingredient (e.g. eggs, bacon, chocolate), meat used (chicken, beef, vegetarian), and number of serves (Serves 1, Serves 10, etc). I also have a “baking” tag, and I then tag those items further as “sweet” or “savoury”, and as “biscuits”, “muffins”, “cake”, or “slice”.
    A few other tags I use – I tag breakfast recipes as “breakfast” (but not lunch or dinner, because in our house those are interchangeable); If it’s something that is baked in a big pan and served from there (like pasta bake or lasagne) I’ll tag it as “bake”; Other similar cooking method tags or by food type, such as “stir fry”, “slow cooker”, “soup”, or “deep fry”
    Most recipes end up with between 4 and 8 tags. Use whatever tags work well for you and your cooking style.
    Tags are very important for meal planning (how I meal plan using Evernote will be another TT post).
  8. If your recipe is from a website and you have the web link, add it to your recipe using the little information button (an i with a circle around it) in the top row. This isn’t strictly necessary, but I think so many years of uni has gotten me in the habit of always referencing EVERYTHING. I find the web links come in handy for when I’m posting recipes from other blogs, because it’s easy to find the original blog post and give credit where it is due.

Feel free to add images if you want to, but keep in mind that pictures are BIG. Evernote has a limit on the total size of uploads, and also has a limit to the amount of data you can upload on a free membership (60MB per month). If you are only using text, you will likely never reach this limit, but if you are using pictures as well, you can get there pretty quickly.

If you want pictures, you can pay for “premium” membership for a month, upload all your stuff, then cancel the subscription (that’s what I did when I was setting up my recipes a couple of years ago). Premium costs about $5 for a month, and you get 4GB of uploads. You can still access everything once you’re back on the free membership, and as far as I’ve encountered there is no limit to the amount of cloud storage space – you can have as many recipes as you like saved there, and you don’t NEED to pay for premium membership to use them.

Please note that just taking a picture of your recipe and uploading that is fine – but you will not be able to search within the recipe, you’ll only be able to search the tags. I like being able to search within the recipe itself, as then I can do things like search for 3 ingredients I have in the cupboard and find recipes that contain those things. I use this a lot when I’m meal-planning, or when I have to cook with what I’ve got in the pantry.


Evernote is available on just about every platform and mobile device, and for free. I am not getting anything from Evernote for this post.


2 thoughts on “Using Evernote as a recipe book

    • I got annoyed with not knowing what recipes I had – I’d collected 3 years worth of 2 different food magazines and I was only using the same 5 or 6 recipes because it was too hard with them spread out to try new ones.
      So, 2 birds with one stone – reduced my magazine clutter and made my recipes easy to find!

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