The present research work was aimed at developing solid lipid nanoparticle (SLN)-based formulation of budesonide (BDS) for nasal delivery. Melt emulsification method was chosen for fabrication of BDS-SLN using ultrasound dispersion and hot high-pressure homogenization techniques. The Compritol888 ATO was chosen as the lipid component for SLN formulation due to highest solubility for BDS. Different surfactants were screened and it was found that combination of Tween 80 and plurol oleique has shown desired particle size with improved stability and entrapment efficiency. The optimized SLN composition had a particle size of 185.2 nm with polydispersibility index of 0.387. Entrapment efficiency of the SLN composition was observed to be 61 %. Further, the optimized SLN dispersion was formulated into nasal spray. In vitro permeation study was carried out using Ovis aries (Indian sheep) nasal mucosa and it was observed that the permeability of BDS nasal spray of SLN was increased significantly by 3.4-fold as compared to the plain BDS and 1.8-fold as compared to the marketed nasal formulation. Thus, SLN-based nasal drug delivery was observed to be a promising approach for improving the bioavailability of hydrophobic drugs. © 2012 Controlled Release Society.