Porous silicon nitride ceramics with high-porosity were fabricated by carbothermal reduction reaction between silicon dioxide and carbon. The influences of carbon sources on microstructure and phase composition of the samples were studied. The result showed that the resultant porous silicon nitride ceramics using nano-meter carbon powder (C(n)) had finer microstructure, more uniform pore structure than those using activated carbon powder (C(a)). In order to illuminate the reaction and growth mechanism of b-Si3N4 grains, a series of intermediate sintering processes were investigated. X-ray diffractometry showed a difference in phase composition for the samples using the different carbon sources.