Background The gelatin-methacryloyl (GelMA) polymer suffers shape fidelity and structural stability issues during 3D bioprinting for bone tissue engineering while homogeneous mixing of reinforcing nanoparticles is always under debate. Method In this study, amorphous calcium phosphates micro/nanoparticles (CNP) incorporated GelMA is synthesized by developing specific sites for gelatin structure-based nucleation and stabilization in a one-pot processing. The process ensures homogenous distribution of CNPs while different concentrations of gelatin control their growth and morphologies. After micro/nanoparticles synthesis in the gelatin matrix, methacrylation is carried out to prepare homogeneously distributed CNP-reinforced gelatin methacryloyl (CNP GelMA) polymer. After synthesis of CNP and CNP GelMA gel, the properties of photo-crosslinked 3D bioprinting scaffolds were compared with those of the conventionally fabricated ones. Results The shape (spindle to spherical) and size (1.753 μm to 296 nm) of the micro/nanoparticles in the GelMA matrix are modulated by adjusting the gelatin concentrations during the synthesis. UV cross-linked CNP GelMA (using Irgacure 2955) has significantly improved mechanical (three times compressive strength), 3D printability (160 layers, 2 cm self-standing 3D printed height) and biological properties (cell supportiveness with osteogenic differentiation). The photo-crosslinking becomes faster due to better methacrylation, facilitating continuous 3D bioprinting or printing. Conclusion For 3D bioprinting using GelMA like photo cross-linkable polymers, where structural stability and homogeneous control of nanoparticles are major concerns, CNP GelMA is beneficial for even bone tissue regeneration within short period. Graphical Abstract Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s40824-022-00301-6.