A simple, facile and convenient practical method has been developed for the preparation of a magnetically separable nanocatalyst, Fe3O4@AHBA@Ni(0) [AHBA = 3-amino-4-hydroxybenzoicacid]. The synthesized nanocatalyst was characterized by electron microscopy techniques (SEM, TEM with EDX), Power X-ray Diffraction (PXRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and solid state UV–Vis spectroscopy techniques. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) study and time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (TOF-SIMS) study unambiguously prove the presence of nickel(0) on the surface of Fe3O4. The surface area of prepared catalyst has been achieved 330 m2 g−1 from BET surface area analysis. This catalyst exhibits appreciable activity towards carbonyls reduction and alcohols oxidation by changing the reaction conditions. The salient feature of the present protocol is that the catalyst can be separated simply through an external magnetic field and recycled for several times without any significant deterioration in its activity. Moreover, ambient reaction conditions, easy workup process, extensive substrate scope and cost effectiveness are some of the other wonderful features of this procedure that make it cheap and sustainable. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.