The aim of this study is to optimise the stainless steel oxidation behaviours during hot rolling. The high temperature oxidation behaviours of ferritic stainless steels B443NT and B445J1M were studied over the temperature range from 1000 to 1150 °C in a humid atmosphere containing 18% water vapour, as measured by a thermogravimetric analyser (TGA). The results indicate that breakaway oxidation occurs at 1090 °C for the B443NT steel, which is 60 °C lower than that for the B445J1M steel. The occurrence of iron oxide nodules on the steels marks the onset of breakaway oxidation; however, the breakaway oxidation phenomenon of B445J1M is different from that of B443NT due to a compact and continuous Mn–Cr spinel which is formed on the surface of B445J1M. The oxide nodules with regenerated Cr2O3 scale underneath the Fe–Cr spinel display better adhesion without showing pores at the metal–scale interface.