In the present investigation, a systematic study has been undertaken with regard to the effects of tempering time on room temperature mechanical properties of P91 (X10CrMoVNNB9-1) steel. Samples cut from P91 (X10CrMoVNNB9-1) industrial pipe were normalized at 1040 ℃ for 40 min and then tempered at 760 ℃ for different tempering times starting from 2 h to 8 h. Detailed analysis of microstructure, particle size, inter-particle spacing, and secondary phase carbide particles of the tempered samples was conducted by secondary electron microscopy technique. Optical microscopy was also utilized to characterize the tempered samples and for the measurement of grain size. In order to reveal the various phases formed during tempering of P91 (X10CrMoVNNB9-1) steel, X-ray diffraction was carried out. To study the fracture surface morphology of tensile tested and impact tested specimen field-emission scanning electron microscopy was carried out. The effect of tempering time on the microstructural parameters revealed an increase in grain size up to 4 h of tempering and then decreased because of recrystallization. The coarsening of secondary phase carbide particles M23C6 was revealed with an increase in tempering time. As a consequence, yield strength, hardness, and ultimate tensile strength were observed to decrease with increase in the tempering time. However, a drastic change was observed in the yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, and toughness after tempering for 6 h. From the present study, it was concluded that optimum combination of yield stress, ultimate tensile strength, hardness, and toughness obtained after tempering at 760 ℃ for 6 h. © 2016, © IMechE 2016.