A facile wet-impregnation process is employed to prepare ultrafine SnO2 nanoparticles that are confined in three dimensional interpenetrating cubic ordered mesoporous carbon. The nanocomposite that is composed of SnO2 and ordered mesoporous carbon serves as a promising anode in lithium-ion batteries. Successful confinement and crystallization of SnO2 nanoparticles are confirmed by a variety of characterization techniques including nitrogen adsorption-desorption isotherms, X-ray diffraction, selected area electron diffraction patterns and transmission electron microscopy. The nanocomposite anode delivers an initial reversible capacity of 1093 mA h g−1 with capacity retention of 66 and 57% after 100 and 500 cycles, respectively, and Coulombic efficiency value of over 99%, excluding a few initial cycles at a high current density of 780 mA g−1. The nanocomposite anode exhibits remarkable performance with discharge capacities of 1282 and 947 mA h g−1 after 2nd and 130 cycles, respectively, at a current density of 200 mA g−1. When higher current densities of 1600 and 4000 mA g−1 are employed to the cell, satisfactory reversible capacities of 529 and 228 mA h g−1, respectively, are obtained. The remarkable capacity, rate capability and cycling stability of nanocomposite anode demonstrate its great potential for use in high-performance lithium-ion batteries.