Ferrite was identified and characterized in tempered martensitic modified 9Cr-1Mo steel using the electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) technique. Microstructural examination of the as-received modified 9Cr-1Mo steel revealed the presence of polycrystalline grains without lath morphology having low hardness within a predominantly tempered lath martensitic matrix. These grains were identified as the ferrite phase, and subsequent EBSD data analysis confirmed that the image quality (IQ) index of these grains is higher and boundary line length per unit area is lower than those of martensitic matrix. Therefore, it is proposed that characterization of ferrite phase in martensitic matrix can be carried out using microstructural parameters such as IQ index and boundary line length per unit area obtained from EBSD data analysis. © 2011 The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and ASM International.