Changes of surface morphology following XeCl excimer laser irradiation were investigated for three engineering ceramic materials (Al2O3, Al2O3-SiC nanocomposite and Si3N4) Al2O3 and Al2O3-SiC nanocomposite samples exhibit a smooth rapid melt layer on the surface, and the formation of the metastable gamma-Al2O3 was observed. A silicon-rich layer on the surface was formed after laser irradiation of Si3N4. The toughness K-1c of the materials was measured by the indentation fracture method. After laser irradiation, the toughness of Al2O3, Al2O3-SiC nanocomposite and Si3N4 was improved to various degrees: Al2O3-SiC nanocomposite, 60% (max.), Al2O3, 40% (max.), Si3N4, 12% (max.).