In many catalyst systems, including fuel cell applications, control of the catalyst surface composition is important for improving activity since catalytic reactions occur only at the surface. However, it is very difficult to modify the surface composition without changing the morphology of metal nanoparticles. Herein, carbon-supported Pd3Au1 nanoparticles with uniform size and distribution are fabricated by tert-butylamine reduction method. Pd or Au surface segregation is induced by simply heating as-prepared Pd3Au1 nanoparticles under CO or Ar atmosphere, respectively. Especially, CO-induced Pd surface segregation allows the alloy nanoparticles to have a Pd-rich surface, which is attributed to the strong CO binding energy of Pd. To demonstrate the change in surface composition of Pd3Au1 alloy catalyst with the annealing gas species, the oxygen reduction reaction performance is investigated and consequently, Pd3Au1 catalyst with the highest number of surface Pd atoms indicates excellent catalytic activity. Therefore, the present work provides insights into the development of metal-based alloys with optimum structures and surface compositions for various catalytic systems.