This study is the first report of the preparation of hydroxyethyl starch (HES) hydrogels rapidly crosslinked with divinyl sulfone in a single step and single pot. To develop the physical and chemical features of hydrogels, Graphene oxide (GO) nanoparticles were combined with the crosslinked HES. In addition to swelling studies, structural characterization of the samples was conducted with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometry (XRD), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) analysis and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). For the removal of malachite green model dye by GO-HES, the effects of GO content, solution concentration, temperature, contact duration, dosage and pH on varying adsorption features were researched. Additionally, adsorption isotherms, kinetic and thermodynamic systematics were analyzed. The maximum adsorption capacity of GO-HES composite hydrogel was found to be 89.3 mg/g for Langmuir isotherm. The possible adsorption mechanism of the composite hydrogels for malachite green dye involved electrostatic, hydrogen bonding, and pi-pi interactions. In addition to reasonable cost and simple synthesis method, the prepared composite materials have potential use in wastewater treatment as adsorbents for the removal of dye from aqueous solutions due to efficient adsorption capacity.