But Grabban struck just after half-time to leave Forest with 51 points and – with arch rivals Derby losing to Birmingham – the point confirmed Championship football for another season at the City Ground.
Both sides were passing the ball around neatly on a decent playing surface but more than 15 minutes had gone before the first clear opening of the game was carved out.
When it came Grabban really should have put Forest ahead after some questionable defending allowed him to angle in on goal from the right side but, with only goalkeeper Adam Davies to beat, the striker fired the ball into the side netting at the near post.
Grabban had showed tremendous composure to secure an injury-time equaliser from the penalty spot in a 1-1 draw at Birmingham in midweek, but could not find the same level of calm with this chance.
Cyrus Christie left three Stoke players in his wake when he cut into the penalty area from the right flank, but he could not find the killer pass for Grabban.
Stoke took the lead with their first meaningful attack as Josh Tymon whipped in a dangerous low ball from the left.
Yuri Ribeiro slid in, in a desperate effort to cut out the cross, and he and Matondo seemed to connect at the same time.
But Matondo looked convinced that he had applied the vital touch and ran off celebrating joyously, just before the half-hour mark.
Grabban appealed for a penalty when he felt he had been pulled back in a melee of players, as he attempted to chase a through ball from substitute Anthony Knockaert – who had come on in the 37th minute due to an injury to Luke Freeman – but referee Andy Davies was not convinced.
Forest equalised five minutes after the break when Knockaert delivered an enticing ball from the right.
Grabban initially saw his attempt charged down but when the ball dropped kindly for him, he prodded home at the second time of asking to make it 1-1.
Stoke's Jordan Thompson saw a shot bounce off the top of the crossbar after taking a wicked deflection as the visitors pushed for a winner.
Christie had a shot well saved at the near post by Davies, after he had combined well with Knockaert, while the latter was lively and another cross from him looked as though it would pick out Grabban before Danny Batth got in a vital header to see the spoils shared.