Abstract Yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) has widely been used as electrolyte in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). The microstructure of YSZ related to the fabrication process was discussed in the paper. With YSZ nano-powders about 40–100 nm as raw material, the YSZ adobe was manufactured by tape calendering process. The named three-step sintering process was performed at 1000 °C for 2 h, then raised the temperature with normal rate and as soon as up to 1400 °C, the furnace was controlled at 1250–1300 °C for 10–20 h. The high dense YSZs with the relative density of 96%-99% were obtained; the grain size of YSZ could be reduced to 0.5–3 μm. The above result is benefited to co-fired in the electrode-supported SOFCs.