Gelatin-based cryogels were prepared by using a novel crosslinker, oxidized dextran, which was synthesized and used in the study. The cryogels were also loaded with freshly formed hydroxyapatite (HA) particles. These cryogels are opaque, spongy and highly elastic and have a pore structure with large interconnected pores. They swell about 500% in aqueous media and within a few minutes reach their final swollen forms. The elastic moduli of HA-containing cryogels were 18.5 +/- 3.0 kPa, which is suitable for non-load-bearing bone tissue-engineering (TE) applications, especially for the craniofacial area. Copyright (c) 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.