Ceria doped-yttrium aluminum garnet (Y3Al5O12:Ce3+, YAG:Ce), which is known as an efficient phosphor, have been widely used in optical display and lighting applications. Improved wet chemical method, sol-gel, has been studied, since conventional solid-state reaction requires a high-temperature and prolonged heating to obtain the pure phase. However, there has been little information, such as on pre-firing temperature, concerning high-quality powder formed by the wet chemical process. In this work, YAG:Ce was synthesized with a salted sol-gel process in which a water solution of inorganic salt with citric acid as additive. Transparent starting sol was pre-fired at 200 ˜ 300°C for 2 hrs in air and final annealing to obtain phase-pure YAG:Ce particles was performed at 1100°C for 2 hrs in argon. The effects of pre-firing temperatures on the crystal structure, morphology and luminescence were investigated. Effects of residual organics in the pre-fired gel on the properties of finally annealed phosphors will be fully discussed on the basis of the results of thermal analysis and chemical structure.