At present, phosphate removal and recovery from wastewater is gaining wide attention due to the dual issues of eutrophication, caused by the increased production of algae, and universal phosphorus scarcity. In this study, a layered zinc hydroxide (LZH) was synthesized by a simple precipitation method and characterized via various techniques. Experiments investigating the effect of contact time, pH, LZH dose, initial phosphate concentration, and co-existing ions on phosphate adsorption were conducted. LZH exhibited a high phosphate adsorption capacity (135.4 mg g−1) at a neutral pH. More than 50% of phosphate was removed within the first 60 s of contact time at an initial phosphate concentration of 5 mg L−1. Phosphate removal using the as-prepared LZH adsorbent was also tested in real treated sewage effluent reducing the residual phosphate amount to levels inhibiting to the growth of algae. Furthermore, phosphate desorption from LZH was investigated using acetic acid and sodium hydroxide regenerants which showed to be very effective for phosphate recovery.