AbstractRecently, much attention has been paid to the development of technologies that facilitate the conversion of biomass into platform chemicals such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF). In this paper, a tin-containing silica molecular sieve (Sn-MCM-41) was found to act as a bifunctional heterogeneous catalyst for the efficient conversion of glucose into 5-HMF in ionic liquid. In the presence of [EMIM]Br, the yield of 5-HMF converted from glucose reached 70% at 110 °C after 4 h. During the reaction, the active center of the catalyst first catalyzed the isomerization of glucose into fructose and then the dehydration of fructose into 5-HMF. After the reaction, the heterogeneous catalyst Sn-MCM-41 could be easily recovered and reused without a significant loss in activity. The catalyst Sn-MCM-41 was also able to catalyze the conversion of fructose into 5-HMF at an 80% yield. Moreover, the low toxicity of the Sn-based catalyst makes the method a greener approach for the conversion of saccharides into 5-HMF.