Abstract This study presents a novel development of a floating polymeric-magnetite cryobead for the recovery of hexavalent uranium from the aqueous sub-surfaces. The alginate-agarose-magnetite cryobeads were synthesized by the process of cryotropic-gelation at subzero-temperature. The physico-chemical properties of cryobeads showed high surface area and high interconnected porosity (∼90%). Low density of these cryobeads explains their floating property in the aqueous medium. The rheological analysis of cryobeads showed its stability and increased stiffness after uranium adsorption. The presence of magnetite nanoparticles in the porous cryobeads facilitates the recovery of these beads by applying an external magnetic field. Maximum uranium adsorption (97±2%) was observed in the pH range of 4.5–5.5. The thermodynamic parameters suggest passive endothermic adsorption behaviour. HCl was found to be an efficient eluent for the uranium desorption. Five repeated cycles for the desorption of uranium from biosorbent showed 69±3% of uranium recovery. These results suggest stability of these novel floating magnetite-cryobeads under environmetal conditions with potential for the recovery of uranium from contaminated aqueous subsurfaces.