Hollow microspheres and hierarchical porous nanostructured materials with desired morphologies have gained remarkable attention for their potential applications in environmental technology. In this study, NiO-SiO2 hollow microspheres were prepared by co-precipitation with SiO2 and nickel salt as precursors, followed by dipping in alkaline solution and calcination. The samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction, field-emission scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, nitrogen adsorption, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The synthesized hollow spheres were composed of a SiO2 shell and hierarchical porous NiO nanosheets on the surface. Adsorption experiments suggested that NiO-SiO2 composite particles were powerful adsorbents for removal of Congo red from water, with a maximum adsorption capacity of 204.1 mg/g. The high specific surface areas, hollow structures, and hierarchical porous surfaces of the hollow composite particles are suitable for various applications, including adsorption of pollutants, chemical separation, and water purification.