Direct ethanol fuel cells (DEFC) still lack active and efficient electrocatalysts for the alkaline ethanol oxidation reaction (EOR). In this work, a new instant reduction synthesis method was developed to prepare carbon supported ternary PdNiBi nanocatalysts with improved EOR activity. Synthesized catalysts were characterized with a variety of structural and compositional analysis techniques in order to correlate their morphology and surface chemistry with electrochemical performance. The modified instant reduction synthesis results in well-dispersed, spherical Pd85Ni10Bi5 nanoparticles on Vulcan XC72R support (Pd85Ni10Bi5/C(II-III)), with sizes ranging from 3.7 ± 0.8 to 4.7 ± 0.7 nm. On the other hand, the common instant reduction synthesis method leads to significantly agglomerated nanoparticles (Pd85Ni10Bi5/C(I)). EOR activity and stability of these three different carbon supported PdNiBi anode catalysts with a nominal atomic ratio of 85:10:5 were probed via cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry using the rotating disk electrode method. Pd85Ni10Bi5/C(II) showed the highest electrocatalytic activity (150 mA⋅cm−2; 2678 mA⋅mg−1) with low onset potential (0.207 V) for EOR in alkaline medium, as compared to a commercial Pd/C and to the other synthesized ternary nanocatalysts Pd85Ni10Bi5/C(I) and Pd85Ni10Bi5/C(III). This new synthesis approach provides a new avenue to developing efficient, carbon supported ternary nanocatalysts for future energy conversion devices. Graphical AbstractThe modified instant reduction method for synthesis of ternary Pd85Ni10Bi5/C(II) nanocatalyst using Vulcan XC72R as carbon support initiates an agglomeration reduction, provides low average particle size, and enables enhanced activity for the alkaline ethanol oxidation reaction (EOR) compared to the common instant reduction method and to a commercial Pd/C catalyst.