The phase and texture formation of La doped CeO2 (CLO) films deposited by the chemical solution method are studied by in situ synchrotron x-ray diffraction. It is found that the CLO crystallites forms excellent in-plane texture as soon as the phase appears at 860 °C, indicating that interfacial nucleation dominates at the beginning of the amorphous- crystallization transition. Grain growth is almost complete after at 900 °C for 15 min. Analysis of the isothermal process of crystallization at 900 °C by the Johnson-Mehl-Avrami- Kolmogorov equation shows that grain development is mainly controlled by diffusion. The success of this work demonstrates the possibility of studying crystallization behaviors of solution derived films using a nondestructive method, which has the potential of being applicable to most types of thin film samples. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.