A water-assisted control of Pt nanoparticle size during a surfactant-free, microwave-assisted polyol synthesis of the carbon-supported platinum nanoparticles (Pt/C) in a mixture of ethylene glycol and water using (NH4)2PtCl6 as the Pt precursor is demonstrated. The particle size was tuned between ∼2 and ∼6 nm by varying either the H2O volume percent or the Pt precursor concentration during synthesis. The electrochemical surface area (ECSA) and the oxygen-reduction reaction activity obtained for the Pt/C electrocatalyst show a catalytic performance competitive to that of the state-of-the-art commercial Pt/C electrocatalysts used for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell electrodes (ECSA: ∼70 m2/g; half-wave potential for oxygen reduction reaction: 0.83 V vs reversible hydrogen electrode). The synthesized Pt/C electrocatalysts show durability equivalent to or better than that of the commercial Pt/C. The durability was found to improve with increasing particle size, with the ECSA loss values being ∼70 and ∼55% for the particle sizes of 2.1 and 4.3 nm, respectively. The study may be used as a route to synthesize Pt/C electrocatalysts from a convenient and economic Pt precursor (NH4)2PtCl6 and avoiding the use of alkaline media.