This paper describes a new method for improving the performance of oxide anodes by precipitating metal nano-clusters on oxide surfaces during the initial stages of SOFC operation, without additional processing steps. Transmission electron microscope and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy observations showed that nanoclusters of Ni or Ru metal precipitated onto lanthanum chromite (La0 8Sr0 2Cr1-yXyO 3 δ,X = Ni, Ru) surfaces, respectively, after exposure to hydrogen at 800°C. While Ni nano-clusters coarsened over ∼300 h at 800°C, Ru nano-cluster size was stable at ≤ 5 nm. SOFC tests were done with the doped lanthanum chromite anodes on LSGM electrolyte-supported cells. Ru and Ni nano-cluster nucleation improved cell performance and reduced anode polarization resistance during the first 50-100 h of cell operation.