In the present work, metal-cored arc welding process was used for joining of modified 9Cr-1Mo (P91) steel. Metal-cored arc welding process is characterized by high productivity, slag-free process, defect-free weldments that can be produced with ease, and good weldability. Toughness is essential in welds of P91 steel during hydro-testing of vessels. There is a minimum required toughness of 47 J for welds that has to be met as per the EN1557:1997 specification. In the present study, welds were completed using two kinds of shielding gases, each composition being 80% Argon + 20% CO2, and pure argon respectively. Microstructural characterization and toughness evaluation of welds were done in the as - weld, PWHT at 760 C - 2 h and PWHT at 760 C - 5 h conditions. The pure argon shielded welds ('A2' and 'B2') have higher toughness than 80% argon + 20% CO2 shielded welds ('A1' and 'B1'). Pure argon shielded welds show less microinclusion content with low volume fraction of δ-ferrite (<2%) phase. Themo-calc windows (TCW) was used for the prediction of equilibrium critical transformation points for the composition of the welds studied. With increase in post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) duration from 2 h to 5 h, there was increase in toughness of welds above 47 J. Using metal-cored arc welding process, it was possible to achieve the required toughness of more than 47 J after PWHT at 760 C - 2 h in P91 steel welds. © 2013 The Society of Manufacturing Engineers.