The deformation behavior of metastable austenitic stainless steel AISI 301, suffering different initial cold rolling reduction, has been investigated during uniaxial tensile loading. In situ highenergy x-ray diffraction was employed to characterize the residual strain evolution and the strain induced martensitic transformation. Moreover, the 3DXRD technique was employed to characterize the deformation behavior of individual austenite grains during elastic and early plastic deformation. The cold rolling reduction was found to induce compressive residual strains in the austenite along rolling direction and balancing tensile residual strains in the ά-martensite. The opposite residual strain state was found in the transverse direction. The residual strain states of five individual austenite grains in the bulk of a sample suffering 2% cold rolling reduction was found to be divergent. The difference among the grains, considering both the residual strains and the evolution of these, could not be solely explained by elastic and plastic anisotropy. The strain states of the five austenite grains are also a consequence of the local neighborhood.