Chatter often occurs during precision hole boring, it results in low quality of finished surface and even damages the cutting tool. In order to identify chatter rapidly and gain the precious time for chatter suppression, a chatter monitoring system was established and an effective feature extraction method for boring chatter recognition was presented. According to the characteristic of chatter signal, empirical mode decomposition (EMD) was introduced into chatter feature extraction, and its basic theories were investigated. The vibration signal was decomposed by EMD, then the intrinsic mode functions (IMF) was got. Finally, the feature of chatter symptom was extracted by analyzing the energy spectrum of each IMF. The results show that feature extracted from vibration of boring bar by EMD can indicate chatter outbreak symptom, and it can be used as feature vectors for rapidly recognizing chatter.