Functionally graded materials (FGMs) are a good response to those advanced applications that service requirements are diverse and require high performance. Additive manufacturing (AM) technology, with its many advantages, including high flexibility for complex geometries and near-net-shape integration, has attracted special attention in the development of FGMs. In this research, the solidification behavior and microstructure evolution in the laser additive manufacturing of thin-walled stainless steel 316L-Inconel 718 graded materials have been studied with the help of solidification concepts in the welding metallurgy, according to the common principles of welding and additive manufacturing processes. For this purpose, optical and electron microscopy techniques, X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy, and microhardness measurement were used along the build direction of FGMs with different transition designs. Microstructure evaluation showed that due to re-melting of layers, despite the increased undercooling in the build direction, morphological evolution occasionally occurred periodically between solidification modes, and due to thermal accumulation, a coarser microstructure is formed in the final layers. In addition, in the chemical analysis, it was observed that the mixing of adjacent layers caused by dilution led to a deviation of the composition distribution from the desired design. Also, the microsegregation of some elements during the non-equilibrium solidification of the process caused secondary phases such as carbides and intermetallic compound of Laves, which can have an adverse effect on the mechanical properties of the structure. However, microhardness variations along the cross-section of the samples showed that the gradation of the dissimilar thin-walled structure can effectively bring the properties and behavior of adjacent layers closer together and therefore be very useful in improving the service life.