For the development of processing maps to zirconium alloys, a simple instability condition based on the Ziegler's continuum principles as applied to large plastic flow is extended for delineating the regions of unstable metal flow/occurrence of fracture or defects, utilizing the flow stress data of Zr-2.5Nb-0.5Cu. An attempt is made to fit the measured flow stress data in a constitutive equation, useful in the finite element process models. Instability maps at different strain levels were superimposed while delineating the unstable regions in the processing maps. This phenomenon takes into account the dependence of strain rate sensitivity and strain hardening coefficient of the material on the plastic instability during hot deformation. The applicability of the developed processing map has been examined by comparing with the reported microstructural observations of the deformed compression specimens of various zirconium alloys. It is found that the processing map is practically usable in the real fabrication process for the zirconium alloys.