How to Make a Family Cookbook

Michele Meleen
Family Cookbook

Every family has secret recipes and favorite dishes. Collect these timeless treasures in one location by creating your own unique family cookbook.

Gather the Goods

To start, you'll need to find recipes from your family members to include in the book. Gathering the recipes is half the fun as you stroll down memory lane and maybe even do some taste testing.

Gather the Goods

Setup a Family Survey

Use a free online sign-up tool like Survey Monkey to create a short survey asking questions about which dishes are favorites for holidays, special events, and typical family gatherings. Ask others to respond to the survey and email or mail you copies of the recipes they mentioned if they have them. You can even add the results of your poll to the cookbook by including chart graphics showing which are favored most.

Make a List of Holiday Favorites

Go through a typical annual calendar and make note of special holidays and family events each month. Make a list of the foods you'd expect to be on the table at each event.

Search Family Photos

Scour family photo albums or online albums for images of all generations making or eating special meals. After you've gathered the pictures, you can start searching for who might have the recipes shown in the images. This way you can be sure to include relevant pictures with your recipes.

Pose for Pictures

Create fun new memories by reenacting the making of certain recipes. If Grandma is known for her special pie, ask her to make it with you and take lots of pictures along the way. These images of the final product can also help when readers try out the recipes so they know what it should look like.

Pose for Pictures

Formatting Options

If you have original recipes:

  • Scan them into your computer.
  • Take pictures of the recipe cards to keep the same size and shape of the original card.
  • Get a handwritten recipe from the person who created it or usually makes the dish. Use free printable recipe cards if you don't have any on hand.
Old recipe cards

Sorting Suggestions

Once you've gathered all your recipes, you'll need to decide what categories to use for sorting and organize the pages.

  • Sort by person for an immediate family only cookbook where each member picks the same amount of recipes to share in their section.
  • Sort by family when including extended family recipes and create a section for each independent families favorites.
  • Go for the classic look and categorize each recipe by type of dish like appetizers or best desserts.
  • List the recipes in alphabetical order to make them easy to search.

Graphics and Text

Make the cookbook a cherished family keepsake by including personal photographs and stories. Ask different family members to share short stories or quotes about each recipe. Create page spreads by putting the photos and stories on one page and the recipe on the opposite page.

Family Cookbook

Print Your Cookbook

There are several ways to make the actual book, from DIY to more professional-looking versions.

  • If you're only making one for yourself, put each recipe in a document sleeve in a three-ring binder. You'll be able to add recipes easily in the future.
  • For mass copies, take your compiled pages to an office supply store or copy shop where they can make copies and bind them for a small fee.
  • Use a photo album to organize recipe cards and images. You can also add typed or handwritten stories in the photo sleeves.
  • Use an online tool to create a custom photo book. Upload your photos and recipes then place them in the designated spots on a provided template.

An Edible Endowment

Many families create their most precious memories around the kitchen or a dining table. Capture the original spirit of your family for generations to come with a family cookbook. Keep a book for yourself and give out copies as Christmas gifts, even if they aren't themed as a Christmas recipe book, or at family reunions.

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How to Make a Family Cookbook