A facile, one-pot and organic-solvent free strategy for the synthesis of Fe2O3/Fe3O4 and Al2O 3 nanoparticles has been explored. Our synthesis combines the simple preparation of small particles from an epoxide assisted, sol-gel method with the rapid through-put of soft-template processing to yield highly porous metal oxides. The role of the supporting dextran template is investigated and is found to be crucial in tuning surface area and morphological shape. In all, we show this process to be a simple, low-cost approach that could be amended to other metal systems. The resulting porous Fe and Al materials was investigated using gas adsorption/desorption analysis, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The annealed materials were analyzed using powder X-ray diffraction.