Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) is a promising thin-film absorber material that presents some interesting challenges in fabrication when compared with Cu(In,Ga)Se2. We introduce a two-step process for fabrication of CZTS films, involving reactive sputtering of a Cu-Zn-Sn-S precursor followed by rapid annealing. X-ray diffraction and Raman measurements of the sputtered precursor suggest that it is in a disordered, metastable CZTS phase, similar to the high-temperature cubic modification reported for CZTS. A few minutes of annealing at 550 °C are sufficient to produce crystalline CZTS films with grain sizes in the micrometer range. The first reported device using this approach has an AM1.5 efficiency of 4.6%, with Jsc and Voc both appearing to be limited by interface recombination. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.