On this examine, three electrocatalysts containing graphene quantum dots, nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dots, and nitrogen and phosphorus co-doped graphene quantum dots are efficiently synthesized by a easy hydrothermal methodology. The as-prepared electrocatalysts are characterised utilizing spectroscopic and electrochemical strategies. The outcomes verify a uniform distribution and a excessive order construction with a nanoparticle measurement of 1–3 nm for all electrocatalysts. Electrochemical evaluation demonstrates that the as-synthesized nitrogen and phosphorus co-doped graphene quantum dots (16.67 A g−1) exhibit improved catalytic exercise in direction of ethanol oxidation response in alkaline media as in comparison with nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dots (6.903 A g−1) and graphene quantum dots (0.139 A g−1). Furthermore, the nitrogen and phosphorus co-doped graphene quantum dots show a low overpotential than two different synthesized catalysts. The improved electrochemical efficiency could also be associated to the synergetic impact of phosphorous addition on the nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dots. Based mostly on the outcomes, as-prepared phosphorus and nitrogen co-doped graphene quantum dots could possibly be a promising anodic catalyst for the direct ethanol gasoline cells utility.