The structural changes in a 304-type austenitic stainless steel during large strain cold rolling and subsequent annealing were studied. The severe deformation resulted in the development of highly elongated grains/subgrains aligned along the rolling axis. The transverse grain/subgrain size rapidly decreased to its minimal value of about 50 nm at relatively small strains of ∼1 and then hardly changed upon following deformation. Such a structural response on cold working was associated with multiple twinning resulting in fast grain subdivision. The processing was accompanied by a partial martensitic transformation resulting in a decrease of austenite volume fraction to about 0.35 after straining to ε?= 4.0. Isochronal annealing for 30 min was characterised by a gradual coarsening of grains, the average size of which increased to about 200 nm after heating to 800°C. The high elongation of ferrite grains facilitated simultaneous homogeneous nucleation of austenite grains throughout the matrix upon heating; and, therefore, promoted the development of ultrafine grained structure with the size of structural elements well below 1 micron.