Abstract A numerical method is proposed for the characterization of core–shell spherical particles from static light scattering (SLS) measurements. The method is able to estimate the core size distribution (CSD) and the particle size distribution (PSD), through the following two-step procedure: (i) the estimation of the bivariate core–particle size distribution (C–PSD), by solving a linear ill-conditioned inverse problem through a generalized Tikhonov regularization strategy, and (ii) the calculation of the CSD and the PSD from the estimated C–PSD. First, the method was evaluated on the basis of several simulated examples, with polystyrene–poly(methyl methacrylate) core–shell particles of different CSDs and PSDs. Then, two samples of hematite–Yttrium basic carbonate core–shell particles were successfully characterized. In all analyzed examples, acceptable estimates of the PSD and the average diameter of the CSD were obtained. Based on the single-scattering Mie theory, the proposed method is an effective tool for characterizing core–shell colloidal particles larger than their Rayleigh limits without requiring any a-priori assumption on the shapes of the size distributions. Under such conditions, the PSDs can always be adequately estimated, while acceptable CSD estimates are obtained when the core/shell particles exhibit either a high optical contrast, or a moderate optical contrast but with a high ‘average core diameter’/‘average particle diameter’ ratio.