Supported gold and gold–palladium nanoparticles were found to be effective catalysts for the selective oxidation of glycerol and benzyl alcohol. The properties and stabilities of catalysts are often sensitive to factors such as the dimensions, shape, and composition of the metal nanoparticles. Although colloidal methods provide an easy and quick way to synthesize supported metal catalysts, they typically involve the use of polymers such as polyvinyl alcohol and polyvinylpyrrolidone as steric stabilizers, which can sometimes be detrimental in subsequent catalytic reactions. Herein, we report the synthesis of supported gold and gold–palladium nanoparticles without the addition of stabilizing polymers. The catalysts prepared with and without the addition of polymers performed very similarly in the selective oxidation of glycerol and benzyl alcohol, which suggests that polymers are not essential to make active catalysts for these reactions. Thus, this new stabilizer‐free method provides a facile and highly effective way of circumventing the inherent problems of polymer stabilizers in the preparation of gold and gold–palladium catalysts.