Powdered steel reinforced by NbC dispersed particles was sintered both in resistive furnace at 1180°C or in plasma reactor at 850°C (reference temperature) using heating rates that ranged from 10 to 100°C/min. Fe3P was used as liquid phase sintering additive. The microstructure of the resulting materials was visualized by scanning electronic microscopy. Distinctive microstructural features were observed as a function of the heating source and heating rate. Plasma sintering at rates ~ 30°C/min revealed different microstructural features comparing edge and sample bulk. Homogeneous mixtures of Fe and NbC could be sintered in resistive furnace and plasma reactor using relatively low heating rates. Plasma sintering at 800°C for 1 h (heating rate of 10°C/min) resulted in relative densities of ~ 91% of the theoretical density of the composite. Sintering in resistive furnace for 1150°C resulted in relative densities ~ 94%.