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Recipe Software, how do you save recipes?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm hunting for FREE recipe software, or try before buy - shareware.

What do you use to save and catalog recipes?

My current method of saving recipes, is to use Windows Notepad and save recipe as text file. I then save them in the appropriate folder, i.e. Poultry, Seafood, Soup-Chowders, etc.

The problem is my recipe collection is growing, and I want to add features like:
  • images of the food, or the finished dish.
  • hyperlink to other recipes or "how to" info,
  • search capabilities
I used to use NYC "Now Your Cooking" software,
h t t p: / / w w w (remove spaces)
even registered it, but that hard drive crashed and I stopped using it, about 3 or 4 years ago. NYC takes a serious commitment to use it properly, and has a ton of features.

I want something pretty simple, sort of a note system that allows pictures, and the few features I mentioned above.

I'm playing with TreeDBNotes-Free, and it may be the solution, but so far haven't found a way to import the several hundred recipes. Not sure the free version even allows that kind of import.
post #2 of 25

It's not free, but I use MS Word to keep my recipes. You can keep pictures and hyperlinks in there. So, I keep everything in sections, use the header tags to create indexes and you can easily search if you're looking for a particular ingredient.

Hope that helps!
post #3 of 25
MasterCook will do what you want but it isn't free. $19.95 (I bought it via download for $9.95) is pretty cheap though and it comes with a lot of free recipes.
post #4 of 25
Text is really one of the best I think.

And you've got a good file heirarchy, that helps a lot too. Extremely portable and searchable straight from the file manager tools. Assuming you're using windows you can do file name searches and file content searches from windows Explorer or use the Google Desktop Search. Vista offers good searches right from the Start Menu.

If you want to add images, I'd recommend learning some basic HTML/XML. Your text files can be marked up fairly simply and your file hierarchy is already good for these mark up languages. A bit later, I'll point you to a wiki style tool as well you might like for this purpose.

Still very searchable with basic free tools in the operating system and compatible with email, cell phones, PDAs and so forth for recipe portability.

Another handy tool for such recipe archives is HTTrack. HTTrack Website Copier - Offline Browser This tool copies existing websites for your local offline browsing. It doesn't work with all websites. Some database/script driven websites are incompatible but there are a lot of them that you can save for your own use. There are ways for you to use log-in accounts with it as well for whacking private sites. Good also for backing up a web site of your own.

If you want more powerful searches, you can set up a wiki on your personal computer. Again, your basic text files are a good start for this project. You'll need a software engine to do the indexing searching and so on, but there are some free ones out there. Here's an article for setting one up on your PC Organize Your Life With A Wiki | Maximum PC

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #5 of 25
So I tried out the instiki myself yesterday Once you get the right install file (, it works pretty cleanly. The editing and linking is different than I'm used to in HTML but is fairly straightforward. Right now I'm mostly copying and pasting content from existing sources focusing on my Chinese Archive. It's fairly quick and easy. When I've got all of that imported, I'll export a website version of my Chinese Wiki for my PDA for easy recipe and info access in the kitchen.

As time permits, I'll go back in and add formatting and pretty it up. I'm liking it so far.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #6 of 25
I am a big fan the the "Mastercook" programs. I have used a number of them though currently I run 7.0 at home. It's not free, but is only about $20. It's pretty easy to learn though I don't take advantage of many of the options it features such as grocery lists, home menu planning, etc. I comes with 1000s of recipes already loaded on it that you can explore and a pretty simple interface for inputting recipes and a good internal search engine. I would highly consider picking up a copy.
post #7 of 25
You can start writing in blog as my mom do :).
post #8 of 25
I just have a huge excel spreadsheet that I transferred all of my old recipes onto a few years ago. Plus I keep adding whenever I get the chance. I find it convenient, especially with the tabs on the bottom.
Looking for Valentine chocolate recipes.
Looking for Valentine chocolate recipes.
post #9 of 25
Can anybody tell me if mastercook will work with Vista. I just went and looked at the program but nothing says if it will/will not work with Vista. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
post #10 of 25
I'm going to start using google documents to store my recipes...i can access from anywhere even my phone, and its fairly robust for online document storage and searching)

right now i use it to track my budget/finances and also plan weekly menus and it works great .
post #11 of 25
Jeremy, I can't say 100% for sure that it will work on Vista, but I have owned a number of Mastercook programs over the years and used them on many different Microsoft platforms and have never had an issue with it on any of them. So I guess it would be a pretty safe bet to say it will run on Vista.
post #12 of 25
experiences vary - here's MasterCook's support:

MasterCook and Vista
post #13 of 25
Has anyone tried the Big Oven software? In some reviews it ranks #1 (but I don't trust review rankings). The interesting thing about it is it seems to integrate with the bigoven website. Also, this only works on Windows, and reports on using it on a Mac with emulation software is spotty. I have both Windows and Mac, but it would also be nice to find software that has native support for both Windows and Mac so I can use either computer. Anyone know good recipe software for a Mac that might work on a PC?

Just noticed (again) that the original post was for free software. I'm willing to pay a little bit for the right software, but I'm not a professional chef, so not really looking for anything "industrial".
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
I went ahead and registered (purchased) the TreeDBNotesPro, I love this DB program.
I have imported most of my text recipes, no problem.
This DB notes program is for all kinds of note storage, it has a ton of features, I use it now for my bookmarks, bill pay history, research on stuff. I keep all my passwords to forums, banking, subscription sites etc.

Ok for recipes,
TDBNpro uses tabs and each tab has a tree hierarchy, very similar to windows explorer.
Some of my tabs for recipes DB
BBQ, Misc, How-to, Events, Menus, Shopping.
under each tab are folders i.e. Poultry, Mexican.
under each folder is a subfolder or note .. with individual recipes.

What I like best.
•I can cut n paste recipes from the internet, bookmark to the orginal online recipe.
•Include images,
•Keep notes of changes or substitutions.
•Hyperlink to another recipe, i.e. a recipe calls for "pico de gallo", I hyperlink to one of my "pico de gallo" recipes.
•Its free form, or you can use templates that you create.
•its searchable

You can try it out for free....
post #15 of 25

I've recently starting using It's not for saving recipes you've personally written, but for all recipes found across the internet. It may not be as complex as some of the aforementioned applications, but I find it helpful for when you come across something and dont want to take the time to copy-paste to a word document. Just click, and save. 


post #16 of 25

I use MasterCook v9.0 and FireFox with RecipeFox for one-click recipe download from the internet from over 350 sites and manual capture from other sites.

Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #17 of 25

I used to use MasterChef, but with the advent of tablets I have been using Evernote.  I find that it is perfect for placing my recipes in a searchable forrnat, with or without pictures, and has the added benefit of synchronizing with all of my devices, I currently have it on my iPhone, Android tablet, Mac and Windows computers.  Being platform independent and add the fact that it is free as well and your off to the races.  


The app is very good when you are searching the web for new ideas or recipes as well as you can click a button on your browser and save what you have found right in to Evernote, including the URL of where you found it.  No more searching through hundreds of bookmarks.


post #18 of 25

I've got some stuff in evernote too, but I don't like being locked in to a service that much. If they get bought or  go under, you might have a hard time getting your data out to another format. You can do the same thing with a number of other cloud services like dropbox or Amazon cloud in whatever format you like and you retain far more control of your data.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #19 of 25



@ Phatch,


I have a few various methods.


1. If the recipe is published where I am the Food, Wine and Travel Editor, then :  it is in a plastic storage box in the magazine


2. My grandmom Margherite´s recipes: Since, computers were only used by the Defense USA Ministry when she passed on, this is the format, in notebooks and in plastic storage


3. My basic repertoire: cheftalk recipes and my email account  


4. Italy: My website


5. My daughters have a copy and they are doing the computerized version


6. Many of the recipes I work with are from Chefs, and thus, my home library


I just bought my new Tablet Android for mobile phone, Internet  Email

and am not investing in software for recipes at moment.




post #20 of 25

Since my earlier posts in this thread from 2009, I quit on the insiki thing and have just stuck with straight text files. Been quite happy with that, particularly with cloud access.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #21 of 25



It surprises me that you don't have a personal foodblog since you seem to have such a vast quantity of recipes and other material. I even considered to make my own blog but my material is too ristricted.

Fact is that posted recipes on forums pretty soon sink away between recipes from other posters. I don't think many people even bother to do an extended search when looking for specific recipes?

For someone like you Margcata, it would be a real treasure to store your recipes in a blog. Imagine you can categorize your blog as you wish by creating different chapters such as recipes per country, recipes per region, recipes from specific chefs, family recipes, a wine chapter, a travel chapter etc. etc.


This way all your material keeps together and will always be easily to browse through, by yourself and more important, by others.

And I'm not even mentioning the fact that you can allow advertisers and sponsored pages and make a little extra money out of it.

A blog could considerably make your work a lot easier once recipes are posted; you will find them back very fast and using the copy/paste you can post links and entire recipes within seconds...


I regurarly visit a few foodblogs in different languages from different parts of the world. I like this one in Spanish;

The owner lives in Ponferrada, León. Blogs like that can easily be started via


Another good spanish one;

And last but not least my favorite, a fantastic blog from an American living in Paris;


Oh, almost forgot, I store very few written recipes. I make pictures of my experiments and save them on my computer, using a name that contains no more than 2 or 3 keywords referring to the main ingredients. That way I have to rethink the recipes every time I want to make them again. Stimulates my creativity, could keep me young too, but I'm not sure about that...

post #22 of 25

@ Chris,


I am writing in reference to your curious enquiry about my Blogging.


Firstly, I am a " Publishing "  working journalist and the Food, Wine and Travel Editor to the only English language Embassy Row & Expat magazine in print in Spain ( it is not on the internet ) which means, I have so many free hours in a day.  The magazine was started in 1958 and has been in business since. It is owned and operated by an American from Connecticut by way of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is his passion to keep it going. It is quite a beautiful gloss color 80 page book and comes out 6 times yearly.  


Secondly, I collaborate with both  my older daughter who does have a travel website in N.Z., and I handle the epicurean side of things, the Spanish and Italian Chef interviews and  most of the Mediterranean as I do travel quite often for my articles through this area of Europe including Portugal and southern France, Italia and Spain of course, so it is simple to write and sip, write and sample taste. I also work with Media Relations Directors seeking Public Relations in our magazine. I make the appointments and set up all.


To move on, though the  gals´ lost their dad a several years ago and their grand-dad last year, I have my Mom and a gent in my life, and we enjoy doing other things than sitting in  front of a computer blogging all day. Sometimes, I am online or typing articles for what seems forever.


The American in Paris blog website is cool ( David ).   


So, I thank you for your suggestions and I shall write them in my diary. Perhaps next August, when I am on holiday --- and have some time to sort out the a to z´s ...


I prefer writing Chef Interviews, Restaurant reviews, Articles, Wine Tasting Notes, Events like Madrid Fusion etcetra, verses recipes as a 100% part of the job or hobby. My daughters have them and at some time they will publish them. This is fine with me ... With recipes: a famous or really extraordinaire chef with a truly unique take on a product or recipe that catches my attention --- something photgenic too ... This is another issue.


Your photos with ur recipes are truly lovely and ur method is a good one too.


Kind Regards




Edited by margcata - 1/15/12 at 11:05am
post #23 of 25

I was using pinterest, but recently discovered removed) t is similar to pinterest with a button to save directly from the site you are on, except even better it recognizes a recipe on a page, and it extracts the recipe so you don't have to return to the site, or struggle with web address changes. It is a digital cookbook, and it is totally free. You can even type in your own recipe, edit, and rate recipes. Then you can browse other peoples cookbooks, see their ratings and grow your cookbook! I highly recommend it and I believe they will be coming out with a menu planner and shopping list function and apps.

post #24 of 25

Cool. Another resurrection of a good old thread.  I like it when that happens.    I'm really a dinosaur when it comes to saving recipes. I print them out, I hit them with a 3-hole punch and then they go in a binder.  That way seems to have worked pretty well for me for a long time. LOL @ Me I guess. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.


"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

post #25 of 25

I am also using (link removed) to save and even create and share recipes with friends and family. It is the perfect place to store all of your recipes! 

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