To achieve high thermal efficiency, modern day thermal power plants operate at higher operating temperature and pressure which necessitates use of steels with high creep rupture strength such as modified 9Cr-1Mo steels. In the present study, the evolution of phases in modified 9Cr-1Mo P91 steel and their effects on microstructural stability and mechanical properties have been studied for specimens that were subjected to different thermal heat treatment conditions. The main focus has been to study the effect of heat treatment temperature ranging from 623 K to 1033 K (350-760 °C) on P91 steel. Further, the effect of furnace cooling, water quenching, tempering at 1273 K (1000 °C) and austenitizing on the mechanical properties and microstructure has been studied. The techniques used for material characterization were scanning electron microscopy (SEM), optical microscopy (OM) and X-ray diffraction. For low tempering temperature, i.e. 623 K (350 °C), M23C6, M3C, M7C3, and MX precipitates have been observed with high yield strength (YS), tensile strength (UTS), hardness and low toughness. In the high temperature range, 923-1033 K (650-760 °C), fine MX, M7C3, M23C6, M2X, and M3C precipitates have been observed with low YS, UTS, hardness and high toughness. The steel tempered at 1033 K (760 °C) was observed to be having best combination of YS, UTS, hardness, toughness and ductility. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.