Plasma nitriding is a thermo-chemical process of high importance for engineering components, which through generation of near-surface compressive residual stresses significantly improves wear and fatigue resistance. A precise knowledge of the level and distribution of residual stresses that exist in surface engineered components is necessary for accurate prediction of a component’s fatigue resistance. However, measurement of residual stress is not always possible, especially in the case of industrial tools and dies. Therefore, other methods for residual stress evaluation and prediction are required by industry. Results of this investigation show that residual stress level and depth in plasma nitrided tool steel increase by nitriding time and temperature. On the other hand, experimental data show that residual steel distribution in plasma nitrided tool steels can be determined on the basis of microhardness depth distribution.