Friction at the tool-chip interface and tool-chip adhesion causes severe problems during machining, which reduces the tool life and deteriorate the machined surface quality. To improve the tribological properties at the tool-chip interface and to decrease the tool-chip adhesion, surface texturing of the tools could be a better solution. Therefore, the present study is mainly focused on the cutting performance of the textured carbide tools while turning AISI 316 austenitic stainless steel. The textures were developed on the rake face of WC/Co carbide tools by laser machining. The effect of different lay directions of the texture with respect to the chip flow was studied. The cutting performance of the textured tools is compared with the conventional carbide tools in terms of cutting forces, tool wear and chip morphology. SEM and EDS analyses have been performed to better understand both the tool and chip surface characteristics. Results show that the texture modifies the adhesion of chips on the rake face as compared to the conventional tool and reduces the cutting forces. Moreover, the texture lay angle significantly affects the effectiveness of lubrication and tool-chip contact length. Therefore, by texturing the tools, friction force at the tool-chip interface can be minimized. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.