Hydrothermal treatment (30 ± 2% moisture and steaming at 1.05 kg m−2 for 0, 10, 15, 20 and 25 min) was given to whole and pearled pearl millet grains. Flour obtained after each treatment was evaluated for physical, functional and pasting properties. Flour obtained from steamed before pearling (SBP, 20 min) and steamed after pearling (SAP, 15 min) grains exhibited no lipase activity and acceptable physical, functional and pasting properties. Significant (P ≤ 0.05) reduction (28.65%) was observed in total phenol content after pearling. Tannins content of control flour was 120.3 ± 2.15 mg, and a reduction of 25.2% and 16.5% was observed after 20 and 15 min of steaming in SBP and SAP samples, respectively. Significant (P ≤ 0.05) increase in bulk density, functional properties and decrease in pasting properties of treated flour samples was observed with increase in duration of steaming. Selected flour samples (SBP, 20 min and SAP, 15 min) were found acceptable for 50 days when stored in polyethylene pouches (75 μ) at ambient conditions (15–35 °C).