The effect of step free energy on the grain growth behavior in a liquid matrix is studied in a model system BaTiO3-SiO2. BaTiO3-10SiO2 (mole %) powder compacts were sintered at 1280°C under various oxygen partial pressures (PO2), 0.2, ~ 10-17 and ~ 10-24 atm. As the step free energy decreases with the reduction of PO2, it was possible to observe the change in growth behavior with the reduction of the step free energy. At PO2 = 0.2 atm, essentially no grain growth (stagnant grain growth) occurred during sintering up to 50 h. At PO2 ≈ 10-17 atm, abnormal grain growth followed stagnant grain growth during extended sintering (incubation of abnormal grain growth). At PO2 ≈ 10-24 atm, normal grain growth occurred. These changes in growth behavior with PO2 and the step free energy reduction are explained in terms of the change in the critical driving force for appreciable growth relative to the maximum driving force for grain growth. The present experimental results provide an example of microstructure control in solid-liquid two- phase systems via step free energy change.