Abstract The effects of sensitisation-induced martensitic transformation on the tensile behaviour of 304 austenitic stainless steel have been investigated. Yield strength is reduced by sensitisation, but ultimate tensile strength is nearly unaffected. Strain-hardening behaviour is changed by sensitisation, too. Although sensitisation may induce martensite formation near grain boundary, twin boundary, and austenite/martensite interface, the sensitisation-induced martensite does not exert a great influence on tensile behaviour in the 304 steel. In the unsensitised condition, martensitic transformation in the steel bulk induced by prior deformation and liquid-nitrogen immersion also does not change strain-hardening behaviour in the present steel.