Phenols are major components in the tar vapours formed during gasification of biomass-based feedstocks. The steam reforming of m-cresol was demonstrated for tar removal and H2 production in this study. Ceria–zirconia based catalysts containing nickel were developed and investigated by using multiple characterisation techniques such as X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and temperature-programmed reduction and oxidation. These catalysts show high activity and excellent stability for producing hydrogen. The influence of the preparation method for the support on the catalyst performance was studied. Ni deposited on a hydrothermally prepared Ce–Zr solid solution was shown to be the most promising catalyst because of its excellent anti-coking properties resulting from its high oxygen mobility. Insight into the steam-reforming reactions was gained by in situ FTIR spectroscopy. The IR results reveal different geometries of adsorbed m-cresol on the different supports. It also indicates that multiple sites (Ni and Ce) on the catalysts are involved in the reactions.