Magnetic nanoparticles were generated by sol-gel auto combustion synthesis of metal salts in the presence of 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, a functional solvent and ethylene glycol as usual solvent. The average crystallite size was obtained by using line profile fitting as 11 +/- 5 nm. The saturation magnetization value decreases with usage of the ethylene glycol in synthesis. The observed exchange bias effect further confirms the existence of the magnetically ordered core surrounded by spin-disordered surface layer and the ethylene glycol. Square-root temperature dependence of coercivity can be fitted to Kneller's law in the temperature range of 10-400 K. The reduced remanent magnetization values lower than the theoretical value of 0.5 for non-interacting single domain particles indicate the CoFe2O4-1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone nanocomposite to have uniaxial anisotropy instead of the expected cubic anisotropy according to the Stoner-Wohlfarth model. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.