© 2021, The Author(s).In this study, to remove Cr(VI) from the solution environment by adsorption, the almond shell was pyrolyzed at 400 and 500 °C and turned into biochar (ASC400 and ASC500) and composite adsorbents were obtained by coating these biochars with chitosan (Ch-ASC400 and Ch-ASC500). The resulting biochars and composite adsorbents were characterized using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy; Brunauer, Emmett, and Teller (BET) surface area; scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX); and the point of zero charge pH (pHpzc) analyses. The parameters affecting the adsorption were examined with batch adsorption experiments and the optimum parameters for the efficient adsorption of Cr(VI) in 55 mg L−1 solution were determined as follows; adsorbent dosages: 5 g L−1 for biochars, 1.5 g L−1 for composite adsorbents, contact time: 120 min, pH: 1.5. It was seen that the temperature did not affect the adsorption much. Under optimum conditions, Cr(VI) adsorption capacities of ASC400, ASC500, Ch-ASC400, and Ch-ASC500 adsorbents are 11.33, 11.58, 37.48, and 36.65 mg g−1, respectively, and their adsorption percentages are 95.2%, 97.5%, 94.3%, and 94.0%, respectively. Adsorption data were applied to Langmuir, Freundlich, Scatchard, Dubinin-Radushkevic, and Temkin isotherms and pseudo-first-order kinetic model, pseudo-second-order kinetic model, intra-particle diffusion model, and film diffusion model. The adsorption data fitted well to the Langmuir isotherm and pseudo-second-order kinetic models. From these results, it was determined that chemical adsorption is the dominant mechanism. Also, both intra-particle diffusion and film diffusion is effective in the adsorption rate. For all adsorbents, the Langmuir isotherm proved to be the most appropriate model for adsorption. The maximum monolayer adsorption capacities calculated from this model are 24.15 mg g−1, 27.38 mg g−1, 54.95 mg g−1, and 87.86 mg g−1 for ASC400, ASC500, Ch-ASC400, and Ch-ASC500, respectively. The enthalpy change, entropy change, and free energy changes during the adsorption process were calculated and the adsorption was also examined thermodynamically. As a result, adsorption occurs spontaneously for all adsorbents.