Biocompatible nanocomposite hydrogels (NC gels) consisting of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) and nanosized clay (Laponite) were successfully synthesized by in situ free-radical polymerization of acrylic acid (AA) in aqueous solutions of Laponite. The obtained NC gels were uniform and transparent. Their viscosity, storage modulus G', and loss modulus G″ increased significantly upon increasing the content of Laponite and the dose of AA, while exhibiting a maximum with increasing the neutralization degree of AA. They showed tunable adhesion by changing the dose of Laponite and monomer as well as the neutralization degree of AA, as determined by 180° peel strength measurement. The maximal adhesion was shown when reaching a balance between cohesion and fluidity. A homemade Johnson-Kendall-Roberts (JKR) instrument was employed to study the surface adhesion behavior of the NC gels. The combination of peel strength, rheology, and JKR measurements offers the opportunity of insight into the mechanism of adhesion of hydrogels. The NC gels with tunable adhesion should be ideal candidates for dental adhesive, wound dressing, and tissue engineering.