A new processing route for high-performance graded ceramic filters is presented. The direct foaming process is based on the transition of a surfactant-stabilized alkane dispersion in a stabilized aqueous ceramic powder suspension into mechanically stable ceramic foams with porosities up to 90%. The cell size distribution and, consequently, the permeability of the filters could be efficiently adjusted by the control of the high alkane phase-emulsified suspension (HAPES) microstructure during emulsification. Furthermore, open porous graded structures are produced by combining HAPES layers with different droplet sizes. The tailored microstructural features, providing controlled permeabilities as well as high compressive strength of the cellular ceramics are of special interest for applications where fluid transport through ceramic microstructures is required. These include filters, in particular for aerosol filtration, temperature control membranes in autothermal reforming, catalytic supports including supports for batteries as well as matrices for immobilized microorganisms.