Whether you find yourself daydreaming about dinner parties, tearing out delicious-sounding recipes from the Sunday papers or earmarking dishes you’ve seen online to try later – there’s a good chance your foodie thoughts are getting a little disorganised.

Well fear not because it’s nothing that a good recipe file can’t help you with. A dedicated space for you to collate all things foodie, a recipe file can help plan everything from mid-week meals, to more special one-off occasions and also chart your experiments and findings in the kitchen along the way.

When thinking about what recipe file is right for you, consider how much space you need and whether you’re happy with the sections provided or would rather customise your own. Some have sheets allowing your book to grow and refill, while others come with a predetermined amount of pages.

As well as space to write down your favourite recipes, it’s also a helpful place to store the recipe cards you’ve been keeping from your weekly recipe boxes.

A lovely gift for the food-mad friend in your life, many of these files came in a presentation box. Although, we also think it would be so lovely to receive one already filled in and passed down, particularly if you have someone going off to university or moving abroad.

Family favourites and memorable meals deserve to be documented and although we’ve all got an endless stream of recipes available to us at the click of a button, this is a great way of collating your culinary successes. Many also include lots of clever extra features such as splash-proof plastic covers, conversion charts and stickers to make you smile.

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Moleskine passion journal recipes: £21.50, Moleskine

Moleskine are the authority when it comes to analogue note-taking and this pillar-box red hardback notebook is designed in its signature style. The first few pages are very thorough, covering everything a chef would need – food calendars to tell you what’s in season, nutritional info for a wide variety of foods, pan and knife types and their uses, cooking methods, meat temperatures, egg textures, vegetable cuts, cake slicing and a glossary – it’s very comprehensive.

It’s split into sections for appetisers, first courses, mains, sides and desserts with room to record ingredients and preparation, as well as wine pairings and cooking processes – you can even rate the difficulty of each dish attempted out of five. At the back, there’s room for you to create your own contents table and in true Moleskine style, red and grey stickers including thumbs up and down, smiley faces, hearts and more.

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Paperchase botanical recipe book: £15, Paperchase

We can see this slightly retro botanical print ring binder being passed down from generation to generation. On the inside cover is a handy conversion chart, followed by lined sheets with space for instructions, notes, a recipe title, prep time, serving size, cooking time, ingredients and more space for extra notes. Stickers such as starters, mains, fish and baking will help you organise your scribbles and there’s also a section for you to jot down your dinner party plans, including space to write the date, theme and guests you’ll be inviting.

Towards the back, you’ll find a cardboard pouch containing flashcards for instructions and recipes, but you could also use it for storing snippets you tear out of magazines. And because everything is hole punched, you could reorganise however you like. When not in use it’s all tied up with a mustard grosgrain ribbon, so will look nice on your kitchen shelf.

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Kate Spade New York deco dot recipe book: £36, Selfridges

Featuring an all-over monochrome polka dot design with a turquoise blue interior and separators, this Kate Spade ring-bound folder is the chicest way to jot down your most treasured recipes. It’s split into seven sections – breakfast, soups, sauces, appetisers, entrees, desserts and beverages – which all begin with a quote such as “The world was my oyster, but I used the wrong fork”.

There’s space for 20 separate recipes in each section with lined paper providing room to write down ingredients and directions, as well as giving you space for a title, prep time, total time and servings. There’s a pouch at the front to stuff extra bits you want to keep, as well as five sheets of plastic sheaths which would hold A5 prompt cards or standard-sized photos. We think it would make a great gift for the foodie in your life.

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Caroline Gardner food journal: £20, Caroline Gardner

If “cook, eat, share, keep” sounds like the motto for life that you live by, this food and recipe journal from Caroline Gardner will be the perfect way to collect your foodie thoughts. Split into four general sections – brunch, lunch, dinner and bakes/desserts – there’s space for 11 recipes per section and a handy pocket divider at the start of each to stash clippings and cuttings you collect along the way.

There’s one page dedicated to each recipe you choose to jot down, with space for a title, prep and cook time, portion size, ingredients and method; while on the reverse, sections include “serve this with...” and “notes for next time...”. The book finishes with a bonus section for eating out where you can jot down the restaurants you want to try and then rate them out of five hearts once you’ve visited.

There are three sheets of stickers to help bring life to your notes – from hearts to numbers, arrows and stars, as well as a selection of favourite foods from ice cream to cherries. The last page is a useful measurement page for cooking conversions and a glitzy gold ring binder and elasticated band complete the slimline design.

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Paperchase utensils recipe file: £15, Paperchase

Similarly to other Paperchase offerings, this ring binder folder starts with a sheet of useful cooking information printed on the inside cover, however, this one is a little fatter and contains slightly more, including a very clever splash-proof sheet designed to go over whichever recipe you’re following, protecting it from spillages.

There are six main sections, with 10 sheets in each, and the two sheets of sticker labels allows you to customise the blank tabs how you see fit, with each pocket divider allowing additional space for cuttings, and plastic wallets for recipe prompt cards. A bonus dinner party planner section has you covered for all eventualities.

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kikki.K recipe organiser: £24, kikki.K

The largest of the files we put to the test, this ring binder fits A4 sheets inside, with seven clear plastic pockets provided (although you could easily add more). The inside pocket has been stuffed with stickers, so you can label your creations “must-try”, “quick” or “gluten-free” among others. It opens up with an example recipe for “Mum’s Swedish meatballs” before leaving you eight sides of A4 to document your own recipes, however, you could easily photocopy these to create more room.

There’s a recipe index so you can find recipes quickly once it’s stuffed to the brim and a weekly meal planner, which again, could easily be copied and used again and again. Thick plastic, wipe-clean dividers include sections for meat, poultry, seafood, vegetarian, rice and pasta, desserts and drinks and because everything is ring-punched, you can rearrange to make the layout work for you.

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Artebene 5 file 5cm recipe book: £23, Trouva

This sturdy silver and grey folder comes with cardboard dividers with tabs depicting a silver carrot for the veggie section, pasta shapes, a fish, a pig for the meaty bits and lastly an ice-cream for your sweet treats. Inside you’ll find 40 A2 sized pieces of lined paper, kept in separate (splash-proof) plastic folders. The benefit of this folder is that the pages are completely blank, which means you can use it however you wish. However aside from the tabs, it’s a simple set-up, with no cooking information or extras.

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Clouds and Currents personalised new home wooden recipe box: £35, Not on the High street

For something a little different, we like this recipe box from British husband and wife design team Clouds and Currents. It’s a simple wooden construction, with a hinged lid and five wooden dividers – starters, mains, desserts, baking and other – to organise your recipes. Either stash the snippets you’ve cut out of the newspaper, or jot them down neatly on the 10 gold foil recipe cards which can be added onto the order for an additional £5. Great for gifting, it can be personalised with text of your choice on both the front and back.

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The verdict: Recipe files

Although you can’t add additional pages, we think the Moleskine journal provided such a wealth of additional information it’s deserving of our best buy. For a style you can rearrange and customise, the Paperchase utensils recipe file is great value and offers lots of handy extras in a very usable format.

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