During plasma spraying, high substrate temperature contributes to increase the interface temperature between flattening droplet and substrate and subsequently promotes the through-lamella grain growth in the coating. In this study, yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) coatings are prepared by atmospheric plasma spray (APS) on the stainless steel substrate preheated to different temperatures from room temperature to 1100°C. The microstructure of the coatings is characterized from polished and fractured cross sections by SEM. The ionic conductivities of the coatings are measured using both DC and AC methods, and the relationship between ionic conductivity and microstructure of coatings is examined. SEM observation shows that the coatings exhibit different microstructures with different substrate temperatures. With the increase of substrate temperature, the columnar grain growth continuously across lamellar interfaces is enhanced and subsequently the intersplat bonding ratio in the coating is increased. The ionic conductivity of YSZ coatings at the direction perpendicular to coating surface is significantly increased through the microstructure development by increasing deposition temperature.