Purpose: This paper aims to deal with the influence of cutting parameters on drill thrust force, delamination and surface roughness in the drilling of laminated jute/carbon hybrid composites. Design/methodology/approach: The hybrid composites were fabricated with four layers of fabrics, which are arranged in different sequences using the hand-layup technique. Drilling experiments involved drilling of 6 mm diameter holes on the prepared composite plates using high-speed steel and solid carbide drill materials. Analysis of variance was used to find the influence, percentage contribution and significance of drilling parameters on drilling-induced damages. Scanning electron microscopy analysis was also conducted to understand the fracture behavior and surface morphology of the drilled holes. Findings: The experimental study reveals that the most significant effect was the feed rate influenced the drill thrust force and the drill speed influenced both delamination factor and surface roughness of hybrid fiber-reinforced composites. From observations, the suggested combination for drilling jute/carbon hybrid composites is carbide drill, spindle speed of 1,750 rpm and feed of 0.03 mm/rev. Originality/value: The new lightweight and low-cost hybrid composites were developed by hybridizing jute with carbon fabrics in the epoxy matrix with interplay arrangements. The influence of cutting speed and feed rate on delamination damage and surface roughness in the drilling of hybrid composites have been experimentally evaluated. © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.