In this article, ion imprinted poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) based supermacroporous cryogels were synthesized in the presence of a functional monomer, namely N-methacryloyl-histidine methyl ester (MAH), to be complexed with Ni(II) ions. Two types of cryogels (MIP1 and MIP2) were synthesized according to functional monomer/template [MAH/Ni(II)] complexing molar ratios. These cryogels were then characterized by swelling tests, FT-IR and SEM measurements and used for selective binding of Ni(II) ions from aqueous solutions and a certified material. The maximum adsorption capacities of MIP1 and MIP2 cryogels were found as 1.89 and 5.54 mg/g, respectively. Ni(II) imprinted cryogels exhibited excellent selectivity toward competitive metal ions [Fe(III), Cu(II) and Zn(II)] indicating important potential for selective removal of Ni(II) ions from aqueous solutions. In addition, Ni(II) imprinted cryogels were used repeatedly without a decrement in the binding capacity. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.