Different carbon supported metal catalysts were synthesized, and characterized with various physico-chemical methods and tested in vanillin hydrodeoxygenation under 30 bar total pressure in water as a solvent at 100 °C. The catalysts exhibited high specific surface area and the metal dispersion decreased in following order: Pt/C > Pd/C > Au/C > Rh/C > Ru/C. The most active catalyst was Pd/C followed by Ru/C. Vanillin hydrodeoxygenation proceeded via hydrogenation forming vanillyl alcohol further to its hydrogenolysis forming p-creosol. Both hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis were promoted by Pd/C, which exhibited rather high dispersion. The highest selectivity to p-creosol, 95% at complete vanillin conversion, was obtained with Pd/C. Kinetic modelling of vanillyl alcohol selectivity as a function of vanillin conversion was performed.