Need to write a recipe for a friend? Thinking about starting the manuscript for a cookbook? Whatever need you have for preparing cooking instructions, this guide should help you to put together a clear and easy-to-follow set of instructions.
Check your favorite cookbooks and you will find a common pattern: the best recipes are usually written in a simple and strict structure. While long, flowing essays and flowery text typically have their uses, recipes are hardly the place for them. With cooking instructions, all you typically need are clear step-by-step guidelines, along with sensible writing (thanks to a good English grammar software, of course) and you're good to go.
A good cooking instruction will have all of the following things:
Ingredients. Make sure to list the ingredients, preferably in bullet or some other form with plenty of white space. That makes it easier to jot them down both before shopping for a meal and while preparing them in the kitchen.
Clear Measurements. Always put exact measurements for each ingredient. While saying "a dash of pepper" may not be a problem for experienced cooks, someone with less kitchen-savvy will end up in a panic at what it means.
Advanced Preparations. Make sure to create a separate paragraph or section for the advanced preparations that must be made. If the meat needs to be marinated for one hour before cooking, make sure it's understood. If the onion needs to be diced or sliced round, say so.
At-A-Glance Reading. Keep your recipes as concise as possible so that the reader can glance at it occasionally while preparing the food. While they will likely take the time to read through it beforehand, most folks typically need to take a gander at their recipes during the actual cooking.
Sequence. Make sure you add a logical sequence to the piece. Detail which ingredients should be prepared first and which ones go to the pot at which point during the activity.