The recovery and recrystallization kinetics of 80% cold rolled ultra low carbon steel are investigated during isothermally annealing for temperature ranges 350-640 °C as a function of different annealing time. The recovery is assessed by magnetic coercivity (Hc), while the recrystallization is determined by mechanical hardness. At low temperature (350 to 520 °C) annealing, recovery dominates for long time (∼12 000 s), while the annealing at 550 °C/ 900s and 580 °C/ 300s causes the recrystallized nuclei formation . The recovery kinetics is introduced by differential rate equation, explaining the reduction in coercivity with the recovery progress and the variation of an activation energy from 41-113 kJ mol-1. The recrystallization kinetics is found faster at high annealing temperature 640 °C than 550 and 580 °C based on hardness measurement, justifying by apparent activation energy within 114-190 kJ mol-1. Furthermore, the recovery and recrystallization rate increase with different annealing time, consistent to the change of microstructures and grain boundary characteristics evaluated by the orientation imaging microscopy (OIM) of electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD). © 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.