A woman sitting at the kitchen table creating a recipe book with art supplies and her laptop

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Discover how to make your own recipe book.

A family cookbook helps preserve your favorite recipes to pass memories between generations. Explore step-by-step instructions to create your own DIY recipe book.

3 key steps to make a recipe book.

  • Collect your family’s recipes.
  • Digitize them using Adobe Scan.
  • Organize, edit, and share it with family to pass your cooking know-how on to beginners.

How to make a recipe book.

From a Thanksgiving feast to mom’s unique PB&J embellishments, many fond family rituals revolve around cooking and sharing food. Saving your family’s best recipes has gotten easier since the days of Grandma’s faded recipe cards. Whether you’re a food blogger or just need to keep track of what recipes every family member likes, digital apps and downloadable templates make it easy to create a DIY cookbook.

1. Gather your materials.

Treasured family recipes aren’t just found in the kitchen. Be prepared to do some work to track down all your favorites, whether it’s searching boxes of old keepsakes for a long-lost spiral-bound recipe binder or interrogating your relatives at the next family dinner. And don’t forget to include some of your own creations — or any recipes you find online that would make good additions to your collection.

 

By the time you’re done, you’ll probably have a jumble of recipe cards, handwritten notes, blog posts,and web pages. To organize all of these into one book, you’ll need to get them all into the same format.

To the left: Two loaves of bread with scored crust on a flour-laden table.
To the right: Stacks of recipes written on various types of paper including that in a binder

2. Digitize your paper documents.

Scanning your old recipes helps to preserve them for the long term, and it also makes it much easier to organize and edit them for your own recipe book.

 

With Adobe Scan, you can quickly digitize paper documents and turn them into high-quality PDFs. And thanks to optical character recognition (OCR), you can easily extract and search the text of each recipe to tweak typos or find which specific ingredients you’ll need to get at the store. OCR even recognizes fonts and formatting, so your scanned PDF will match the style of the original document.

A mock-up of a red laptop showing a page in a recipe book depicting "Gram's Bread Recipe"

3. Get all your files in the same place.

Store all your freshly scanned recipes in a single centralized folder. Once you’ve imported everything, you can merge all your files into one PDF using the Merge tool in Acrobat.

 

Merge can combine multiple PDFs into one with just a few clicks. All you have to do is drag each of the individual documents into the Merge interface, where they’ll be converted into a single PDF. From there, it’s simple to reorganize the pages into your preferred order. 

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This is a great time to take a second and create a table of contents to put at the start of your cookbook. Whether you choose to organize recipes alphabetically or group them with classic recipe book dividers going from appetizers to desserts, you’ll be glad to have a table of contents when you need to quickly double-check how much cumin goes in Mom’s famous meatloaf.

Two hands holding a mobile phone with the camera turned on and ready to take a photograph of a robust spread of food on the table below.

4. Add a little flavor.

When you create a cookbook for your family, you don’t have to settle for page after page of dry text and listed ingredients. Pictures of the meals can bring color and life to recipes and can help your cookbook to double as a photo book of fond family memories. You can use Adobe Acrobat to import, place, and resize images on the fly to fit your layout.

A young girl sitting on her mother's lap at a reclaimed wood table as they both smile and look over something on a laptop

How to make a recipe book with your family.

Collaboration features in Acrobat give you the power to make your family recipe book a family activity. If you’re looking for input, notes, or additional recipes from other family members, all you have to do is share the PDF so they can add comments and markups.

 

A family cookbook is a fun activity and a great gift. But the real value is in creating a collection of recipes and rituals that can be shared and enjoyed for generations to come. And why stop there? Once you’ve cataloged your family favorites, you can create recipe books as gifts for friends or even to share or sell online. It’s time to get cooking on your creative recipe book ideas.

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