Bigels of sunflower oil, span 40 and water soluble synthetic polymers (e.g. polyvinyl alcohol and polyvinyl pyrrolidone) were prepared and explored as controlled delivery vehicle for metronidazole. Fluorescence microscope was used to analyze the microstructure of the bigels. Viscometer and mechanical tester were used to study the mechanical properties of the bigels. The antimicrobial efficiency of the metronidazole loaded bigels was evaluated in vitro using Escherichia coli. The cytotoxicity studies were conducted in vitro using HaCaT cell lines. The microstructure of the bigels showed the presence of hydrogel as continuous phase and oleogels as dispersed form. The bigels were viscoelastic in nature with pseudoplastic flow behavior. A decrease in the amount of the released drug was observed with the increase in the polymer concentration in the bigels. All the bigels showed a high cell proliferation index. The drug loaded bigels showed equivalent inhibitory zones against Escherichia coli as compared to commercially available formulations. © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd.