Abstract Based on the mass distribution and dispersion rules for ceramic and metal particles impacting on the substrate, a grid method (GM) has been developed. By combining with the Monte Carlo stochastic model, the GM is successfully employed to simulate the three-dimensional (3D) morphology and the two-dimensional (2D) composition contours of plasma sprayed composite coatings. Instead of considering the complex behavior of the particles impacting on the substrate, the method proposed in this paper directly relates the initial operating parameters to the final morphology of the coatings, including a static gun and a moving gun. This is found to be a very simple but effective way to simulate the composite coatings used in plasma spraying. Through calculating the ceramic mass fraction of each element within the grid, the modeling of the 2D composition contours of the coatings is in good agreement with the SEM experimental results. Up to the present time, similar composition modeling has not been reported elsewhere. Both the methods and the results in this paper may be helpful when analyzing the formation mechanism of the coatings and be of major practical interest in thermal spray operations.