Soy protein isolate (SPI) protein/polymer composite hydrogels (PPCGs) are fabricated in a urea solution of SPI using acrylic acid as monomer, ammonium persulphate (APS) as initiator, and N,N-methylenebisacrylamide (BIS) and glutaraldehyde (GA) as cross-linking agents. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) results show that SPI/polyacrylic (PAA) composite hydrogels formed network structure. In particular, in the absence of cross-linking agent (GA), the network structure of composite hydrogels is also formed by BIS cross-linking chains of PAA and the hydrophobic interactions between peptides from SPI and chain of PAA. In addition, composite hydrogels have good water absorption and present excellent pH sensitivity. Composite hydrogels adsorb bovine serum albumin (BSA) with higher adsorption capacity. BSA is the control released in pH 7.4 buffers and the accumulative release ratio achieved is 90%. It will be expected that these protein/polymer composite hydrogels could be applied for drug sustained release materials. © 2019 The Authors. Published by WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.