The effect of heat treatment on the strengthening and toughening of a carbon fiber/silicon carbide composite (C/SiC) with a thin pyrolytic carbon (PyC) interphase was investigated. Tensile strength and modulus were measured using tensile tests, and toughness was obtained by calculating the area under the stress-strain curves. Results show that with increasing heat treatment temperature both the strength and toughness of the C/SiC composite increased, but the modulus decreased. After heat treatment at 1900 °C the tensile strength and toughness increased by a maximum of 42% and 252%, respectively, and the modulus decreased by 48%. X-ray diffraction analysis and microstructural observation confirmed that the heat treatment mainly increased the graphitization of the amorphous PyC interphase, and this was responsible for the property changes observed because it decreased the interfacial sliding resistance associated with long fiber pull-out, relieved the thermal residual stress and lower stress concentrations on the fibers to uniformly share the load for improving the strength and toughness.