Abstract Complex formation between urea and o-, m- and p-cresol in 1,2-dichloroethane solutions was investigated by i.r. spectroscopy. Analogical 1:1 urea-phenol complex was reevaluated. Those complexes are formed by CO⋯H hydrogen bonding. In solution the NH urea groups do not play any significant role. The i.r. temperature studies allowed us to determine the enthalpy and entropy of formation of 1:1 complex.