This empirical work investigates the impacts of thermodynamic parameters, such as pressure and temperature, and fuel properties, such as fuel Cetane number and aromatic contents on ignition delay in diesel engines. Systematic tests are conducted on a single-cylinder research engine to evaluate the ignition delay changes due to the fuel property differences at low, medium and high engine loads under different EGR dilution ratios. The test fuels offer a range of Cetane numbers from 28 to 54.2 and aromatic contents volume ratios from 19.4% to 46.6%. The experimental results of ignition delays are used to derive an ignition delay model modified from Arrhenius’ expression. Following the same format of Arrhenius’ equation, the model incorporates the pressure and temperature effects, and further includes the impacts of intake oxygen concentration, fuel Cetane number and aromatic contents volume ratio on the ignition delay. The model is verified by results obtained under different engine loads and with different fuels. It is shown from the results that the inclusion of oxygen concentration improves the accuracy in predicting the ignition delays in the EGR diluted conditions. The inclusion of Cetane number and aromatic contents in the ignition delay model improves the adaptivity of the model, so that it can be used to predict the ignition delay of different fuels with improved accuracy.