The current study discusses the synthesis of novel gelatin–chitosan lactate cohydrogels. Mechanical studies indicated the viscoelastic nature of the cohydrogels. The cohydrogels were predominantly elastic in nature. Inherent mechanical stability of the cohydrogels was better than the pristine gelatin hydrogel. Incorporation of chitosan lactate improved the in vitro swelling and the drug release properties of the cohydrogels. The cohydrogels showed good antimicrobial drug delivery capacity. The properties of the developed cohydrogels demonstrated that they could be used as delivery vehicles for antimicrobial drugs. Cell proliferation study suggested that the cohydrogels supported the proliferation of the human keratinocytes. © 2017 Taylor & Francis.