Hierarchical spherical porous carbon (HSPC) is synthesized by adopting a single step soft template method and extensively characterized by XRD, BET surface area, Raman spectroscopy, FE-SEM and HR-TEM analysis. The HSPC electrode outperformed the commercial graphite material at higher current rates when tested for Li-ion battery application. It exhibits superior electrochemical performance such as a high reversible specific capacity of 422 mA h g−1 at a current density of 100 mA g−1 and high rate capability of 102 mA h g−1 at a current density of 5000 mA g−1 with good cyclic stability. The notably higher electrochemical performance is attributed to the hierarchical porosity which resulted in lower charge-transfer resistance and superior rate performance. The simple synthesis approach and superior rate performance in the present study makes HSPC an alternative anode candidate for rechargeable lithium-ion battery application. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.