4-[(1-Benzylpiperidin-4-yl)oxy]-substituted cobalt(II) and iron(II) phthalocyanine complexes were synthesized and their catalytic activity towards various phenolic compounds was investigated. Converting from environmentally harmful phenolic compounds into less harmful oxidation products using phthalocyanines makes this study attractive. This catalysis is feasible and time-saving in terms of procedure and the best oxidation conditions determined. Electrochemical studies were also carried out using cyclic voltammetry and square wave voltammetry techniques. Voltammetric analyses of the synthesized phthalocyanine complexes supported their proposed structures. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.