SKD 11 tool steel is grouped under difficult to machine materials because of its metallurgical and material characteristics. In this current study an approach has been made in laser assisted turning of SKD 11 tool steel to analyse the influence of process parameters in response to surface temperature. A full factorial design of experiments were conducted to study the effects of process parameters and its influence on surface temperature based on heating study and optimization was carried out using Response surface methodology (RSM). Response Surface Methodology was used in determining the outcome of process parameters on surface temperature.The process parameters and their levels were taken into consideration are laser power, cutting speed and feed rate in three levels. A mathematical prediction model for surface temperature had been developed to analyse the effects of process parameters such as feed rate, cutting speed and laser power. The developed regression equation shows that the laser power has more influence, followed by cutting speed and feed rate in maintaining the surface temperature. Response surface contours were plotted for analyzing the optimal conditions for a required surface temperature. It has been revealed that the developed models were significant based on the analysis of variance (ANOVA) and R-squared values. The conformation experiments were conducted to determine the robustness of the developed model. It has been observed that the predicted and measured surface temperature values are reliably close, which clearly confirms that the developed model can be used for determining the surface temperature during laser assisted turning. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.