Graft polymerization using potassium diperiodatocuprate as initiator was found to be an effective and convenient method for grafting functional polymer of N,N-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) onto superporous polyacrylamide gels, so-called cryogels (pAAm cryogels). It was possible to achieve grafting degrees up to 110% (w/w). The two-step graft polymerization i.e. first activation of the matrix followed by displacement of initiator solution with the monomer solution, decreased pronouncedly the soluble homopolymer formation. The efficiency of graft polymerization using a two-step technique increased up to 50% (w/w) at a monomer conversion of 10%, compared to 10% graft efficiency with 60–70% monomer conversion for one-step direct graft polymerization. The pAAm cryogels grafted in one-step and two-step procedures, respectively, behaved similarly when binding low-molecular weight ligand but showed very different behavior for sorption of a high-molecular-weight ligand, bovine serum albumin (BSA). The differences in behavior were rationalized assuming different structure of the graft polymer layers and tentacle-type BSA binding to the grafted polymer.