The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Process Essay

Writing GuidesEssay Writing
Alex Ponomarenko
Aug 2, 2018

In today’s day and age, you must have read a hundred process essays. You can find dozens of tutorials and recipes for almost anything on the internet nowadays, and they are a type of process essay, too. You may find yourself writing one for class, for your lab report, or even in your future work. Ace your requirements and learn how to write a process essay now.

What Is a Process Essay?

Before you begin writing, it is best to understand what this type of essay is. Let us begin with a process essay definition. A process essay is a how-to essay or article—it informs the readers of the steps on how something is accomplished, usually with the purpose of enabling the reader to replicate the said procedure. They tend to be technical, though they can be formal or informal, depending on whether you’re writing a lab report , a report for work, or a blog. As you can imagine, this essay has to be structured and organized. 

Types of Process Essays

Something that commonly slips the common eye is that there are two distinct types of process essays. The type you write affects the details you include and, more importantly, your approach to the essay. Here are the two types:


This type focuses on giving directions or step-by-step instructions on how to do something. A directive process essay sample would be “how to make poached egg,” “how are vaccines developed,” or our guide on “how to buy a research paper.”


This type focuses on explaining how something works with the goal of helping the reader understand the steps. Examples are “how photosynthesis works” or “how long does it take to write a PhD dissertation?

The main difference between the two is that the former anticipates that the reader will replicate the steps, and thus, come up with a result, while the latter simply expounds on the procedure. The type of essay you will write is an important consideration before you start writing, as you will see in the next section.

How to Write a Process Essay

Writing a process essay is quite easy once you learn the ropes. The main challenge with this type of essay is maintaining clarity and organization to ensure that your reader fully understands the procedure you are writing about. For that reason, you need to make some preparations just as you would for other types of academic essays. Here’s how to start a process essay:

1. Determine your audience

Consider first who you are writing for. This will help you determine the type of process essay you need to write and, subsequently, how to approach the topic. Most of the time, the audience is clear: your professor or your classmates. Regardless of who your audience is, consider the following:

  • How much does the audience know about the topic?

  • What is their educational level?

The answers to these questions will tell you whether you need to cover the basics of the topic or go into the technical aspects of the topic, as well as the appropriate language.

2. Create an outline

Ideally, the topic you write about is something you are familiar with or something you have done. It is best to have documentation of the procedure. If you do not have any, simply write down all the details from your memory—the materials needed and the steps. This helps make sure that you do not leave out any pertinent detail. This will serve as your outline. In addition to these, you should outline the structure of your essay as a whole. Process essays follow the typical introduction – main body – conclusion structure, but with some modifications in the main body. 

If you need more help writing an outline, check out our tips on how to make an effective outline and this example of a process essay outline. You can also refer to our process essay outline template, which will be discussed later.

How To Make Poached Eggs

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Poached eggs are great for Eggs Benedict and many other meals.

Poaching is a method that involves submerging eggs or other food in water or other liquid while it simmers. This produces a delicate, runny yolk. 

There are three ways to poach eggs, and each one is easy and takes only up to 10 minutes.

How to Poach Eggs

Paragraph 2

Materials: A deep saucepan, a large spoon, water, eggs, small bowl, slotted spoon

Paragraph 3


1. Fill the saucepan with at least 8 cm of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

2. Crack the egg into a small bowl.

Paragraph 4

3. Using the large spoon, stir the water in a circular motion until you form a whirlpool. 

4. Pour the egg into the center of the whirlpool.

5. Let it simmer for 3.5 to 4 minutes if you want runny yolks, and 4 to 5 minutes if you want firmer yolks.

6. Using a slotted spoon, fish the egg from the water and serve.

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

Serving suggestions: serve English muffins, bacon, and hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict, or serve on top of a salad, avocado toast, or pasta. 

A poached egg is a quick and versatile recipe worth learning.

3. Start writing

 Following the outline you have created, you may start writing. Here are some tips to help you write a great process essay.

a. Hook your reader’s attention

Attract your reader’s attention with a great hook for your essay. Then, follow it up with interesting facts about your topic, including why they should learn about this procedure. 

b. Be descriptive but precise

With each step you discuss, be sure to provide ample description so that the reader knows exactly what they should do. However, do not make your descriptions too long—stick to the important details. You will observe this in the procedural essay example below.

c. Group steps into phases

Since you need to present the steps in paragraph format, group the steps together. You may group together two or more steps depending on the complexity. If the steps are too complex or include too many details, you may devote a paragraph for each step.

d. Use transitional phrases

Do not shy away from transitional phrases, such as then, after, while, as soon as, finally, and many more. This will help your reader understand the chronology of the steps.

4. Edit and proofread the essay

Once you have written all the sections of your essay, go through it at least once more to weed out any unclear statements and grammatical errors. When you edit your papers, focus on the structure and flow of your sentences. It is not enough that they are in chronological order; the information you present should also be logical. Clarity is another factor to consider. Try not to be too verbose, as this can confuse your reader. Implement our tips for editing papers to improve the quality of your writing.

Even the best writers sometimes write sentences that only make sense to themselves. This is why they write multiple drafts and ask others, usually an editor, to review their work . If you can, ask a friend or a professional to read and edit your essay. Your friend has a fresh eye and may give you perspective on how well someone without much knowledge on the topic, or simply another person, will understand your essay. Meanwhile, having a professional eye will improve the structure and clarity of your essay. 

Choose From Our Process Essay Topics

Your topic for this type of paper should not be too simple, nor should it be too complex. Here are great process essay topics to choose from or inspire you:

Lifestyle topics

  • Kicking a bad habit
  • Steps to planning a surprise party
  • How to gain self-confidence
  • Steps to making a latte at home
  • How to choose a major in college

Science-related topics

  • How smoking damages the lungs
  • How the human eye deteriorates
  • How DNA replication works
  • The formation of black holes
  • How vaccines protect the body

Technology-related topics

  • How augmented reality works
  • The process of 3D printing
  • Genetically modifying food
  • How self-driving cars operate
  • How in-vitro fertilization works

Business-related topics

  • Conducting a SWOT analysis
  • How mergers and acquisitions work
  • How companies become publicly traded
  • Creating a business plan
  • Auditing a system

Politics-related topics

  • How the Nazis came to power in Germany
  • The fall of the Soviet Union
  • How to form a political party
  • How the electoral college works
  • The emergence of the Brexit movement in the UK

In cases where you have the choice to pick your topic, always choose a topic that you know well. It will be difficult to clearly convey the steps of a procedure you do not understand well, even after you have done the necessary research. 

Example of a Process Essay

In this section, you will find two process essay examples. The first process essay example paper is a directive one, while the second one is informative.

Sample process essay 1:

Poaching Eggs

Poached eggs are one of the best ways to cook eggs. They are great for Eggs Benedict and many other sandwiches and salads. Poaching is a cooking method where the egg is submerged in boiling water. In this essay, we'll discuss the traditional way to poach eggs, called deep poaching or the whirlpool method. Poaching eggs with this method will not take more than 5 minutes, and will change the way you eat eggs.

The Steps To Poaching Eggs

The deep poaching method, sometimes called the whirlpool method, is the traditional way to poach eggs. It is somewhat tricky and therefore, needs patience and practice. To deep poach your eggs, you will need a deep saucepan, a large spoon, a small spoon, water, eggs, and a slotted spoon for scooping out the egg after. 

To start, fill the saucepan with at least 4 inches of water. Bring this to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. While waiting for the water to boil, crack an egg into a small bowl. This will make it easier to slide the egg into the water later on. 

Once the water has reduced to a simmer, stir the water in a circular motion with the large spoon. When a whirlpool has formed, pour the egg into the center of the whirlpool. The whirlpool will keep the egg white from spreading. Let it cook for 3.5 to 5 minutes. A 3.5-minute cooking time results in runny yolks, while 4- to 5-minute cooking time results in firmer yolks. Adjust the time based on your preference. Take the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon. Let the water drip and serve. 


Poached eggs have a thin layer of firm egg white enveloping a creamy yolk inside. This is a great alternative to fried eggs since it does not require oil, at the same time, it produces a more delicate egg than a boiled egg. Poached eggs are best served with Eggs Benedict, avocado toast, pasta, or even eaten on its own.

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Sample Process Essay 2:

How In Vitro Fertilization Works

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of reproductive technology that serves as a treatment for infertility, other health conditions that may prevent or complicate pregnancy or avoid genetic problems. Overall, IVF involves five steps that may take place over the course of a month or longer. These steps are ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, sperm collection, fertilization, and transfer of the embryo.

The IVF Procedure

The first step to in vitro Fertilization is ovarian stimulation. The source of the eggs will be treated with synthetic hormones at the start of their cycle. This will stimulate the ovaries so that it produces multiple eggs. Doctors harvest multiple eggs to allow for room for error since eggs may not fertilize or develop normally. This step takes one to two weeks, then the doctor will perform vaginal ultrasound and/or blood tests to check if the eggs are ready.

Once the doctor determines that the eggs are ready, they will then be retrieved before ovulation. Before the retrieval process, progesterone supplements are provided to make the uterine lining more receptive to implantation. During the retrieval process, the woman will be sedated.

Prior to the egg retrieval, usually on the morning of the egg retrieval, the partner's or a donor's sperm will be collected at the clinic. This is either done through masturbation or testicular aspiration. In this step, the sperm is extracted from the testicle using a needle or a surgical procedure. The sperm are then separated from the semen fluid.

The egg retrieval process is called transvaginal ultrasound aspiration. This step involves the use of a vaginal ultrasound probe that helps identify the follicles where the ovaries will be retrieved. After the follicles have been located, a thin needle is inserted into an ultrasound guide to retrieve the eggs. This goes through the vagina and into the follicles. The needle is connected to a suction device, which then collects the eggs. Alternatively, an abdominal ultrasound may be used to guide the needle if the ovaries are inaccessible through the transvaginal ultrasound. The retrieval of multiple eggs may take 20 minutes. After the eggs are retrieved, they are incubated in a nutritive liquid. Meanwhile, the woman may experience cramps and pressure.

During fertilization, healthy and mature eggs are mixed with the sperm to create embryos. This is accomplished in two methods. The first method is conventional insemination. Here, the doctor mixes and incubates the egg and sperm overnight. The second method is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), wherein one sperm is injected directly into a mature egg. The latter is usually done after failed attempts using the conventional insemination method. 

Two to five days after the retrieval, the embryo is transferred into the uterus. The embryo is transferred using a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) with a syringe containing the embryo attached at the end. The catheter is inserted into the vagina and goes into the uterus, where the embryo is placed. In 6 to 10 days after transfer, the embryo will implant in the uterine lining, which begins the pregnancy process. There may be some clear or bloody fluid immediately after the procedure. Women normally experience mild bloating, breast tenderness, mild cramping, and constipation after the procedure.


In-vitro fertilization is one of the most common treatments that replicates the reproduction process. It helps couples with fertility issues or other genetic problems achieve a successful pregnancy. IVF is an expensive treatment that involves invasive procedures, so understanding the procedure is important for couples before they proceed with the said treatment.

Read each sample we provided and notice how the steps and additional information are presented. Here is another process essay example paper you can review. 

Process Essay Template

If you still do not know how to start a process essay, try following this process essay outline template. Simply answer the questions or prompts with one or a few sentences while following the tips you read earlier. When you combine them, you will have a process essay!


The first paragraph should introduce the topic and what you will accomplish in the essay.

  • Write a general statement that introduces the topic or the process you are discussing and why the reader should know the process:



  • For the thesis statement, provide the following details: the difficulty of the process, the number of steps, and the time it takes to accomplish it:



Main Body 

This is where you discuss the process. The number of paragraphs depends on the number of steps or phases involved. For each paragraph, follow this format:

  • Start with a topic sentence that introduces what the paragraph will be about:



  • Write down the process to be done:



  • For the closing sentence, write an additional tip or a quick summary of the step:




The final paragraph.

  • Recap what process you have described and describe the finished product:



  • Refer back to the purpose or importance of learning it. 



  • Close with a relevant closing statement.



This template aims to make writing a process essay simpler and less overwhelming. With enough practice, you will surely be able to write a great essay without the help of this template.

Video Guide: How to Write A Process Essay

By now, you have everything you need to be able to write a good process essay. All that is left for you to do is to practice. Pick a topic from our suggestions and write—you will only get better in time. However, if you do not have the time, do not hesitate to ask us for help.

Do You Need More Help?

Transferring technical knowledge and experience into clear, concise writing is no easy task. There is nothing wrong with needing a little help when it comes to writing process essays. This type of essay presents unique challenges—it requires meticulous attention to detail and organization. If you do not yet have the writing skills needed to write a successful process essay, CustomEssayMeister will connect you with a professional writer who does. Order your process essay here.

Written by
Alex Ponomarenko
I am a content manager from California, US. I started as a content writer intern eleven years ago and became a content manager six years after. I joined CustomEssayMeister five years ago and enjoy being a part of the team every day.

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