White layer formed in the machined surface has been observed in many manufacturing processes. However, grinding has been considered more sensitive to form white layer due to the characteristics with high temperature and rapid heating and quenching. As an effective process to the difficult-to-machining die steel, grinding is widely used in the finishing of die and mould components with high precision. So study on white layer formed in ground surface is significant to improve the product quality and life. In this paper, grinding experiments focus on SKD-11 hardened steel with variable parameters were conducted to study the white layer formation and the parameter optimization to develop the favorable white layer and restrict the thickness of the dark-etching layer and the hot-affective region.