Abstract In this work, one pot strategy was proposed for in situ growth of Au nanoparticles (Au NPs) on the surface of amine-modified graphene oxide (GO@NH2) nanosheets. Au NPs were generated via an in situ reduction of Au3+ by Cu+ which was linked to the surface of GO@NH2 nanosheets through inorganic grafting. The initial Au NPs then served as seed for subsequent particle growth. The as-obtained GO@NH2-Au nanocomposites (GO@NH2-Au NCs) exhibited high catalytic activity for the degradation of 4-nitrophenol, which was a refractory pollutant that occur in industrial waste water. The catalytic efficiency was examined by turnover frequency (TOF). It was calculated to be 595h−1, which was higher than that of other Au catalysts. Furthermore, the as-prepared catalyst showed high cycle stabilization during the catalytic reduction.