We have developed a simple and efficient approach to synthesize Ni@Au core-shell nanostructures using the simple redox transmetalation reaction. The as-synthesized nanomaterial with clean and reproducible properties was used as the surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate. In addition, these nanostructures are stable for at least a 30-day period, and the long-term stability is of the great importance in practical application. The magnetic behavior serves as an added advantage of its easy separation from the analytes. So that it can be reused. This novel multifunctional hybrid nanostructure will open up an exciting opportunity in multiple uses SERS measures. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.