Zirconia-hydroxyapatite (40-60 vol%) composites were sintered at different temperatures in air. The x-ray diffraction patterns of the sintered composites showed that hydroxyapatite began to decompose to tricalcium phosphate even below 950°C. The decomposition of hydroxyapatite also involved release of structural water, which was studied using thermogravimetric analysis. By reducing the loss of structural water from the hydroxyapatite, the phase stability of the hydroxyapatite could be increased. This allowed higher temperatures to be used during the densification process where dense composites without any detectable reactions where produced by hot isostatic pressing at 1200°C as well as with spark plasma sintering at 1100°C.