In this research, a sol-gel auto combustion route has been proposed to synthesize alumina-ceria composite powder, using aluminium nitrate, cerium(III) nitrate hexahydrate and various fuels such as citric acid, acetyl acetone and oxalic acid. DTA shows the phase transformation of α-Al2O3 and CeO2 varies with fuel. XRD confirms the formation of α-Al2O3 and CeO2 phase irrespective of fuels at 1200 °C. X-ray line broadening results showed smallest crystallite size of α-Al2O3 and CeO2 is produced in the presence of citric acid. SEM micrograph revealed homogenous distribution of ceria nanoparticle in the alumina matrix. FTIR analysis show peaks at 460 and 400 cm-1 corresponds to α-Al2O3 and CeO2 formation at 1200 °C. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.