Injectable biomaterials are increasingly being explored to minimize risks and complications associated with surgical implantation. We describe a strategy for delivery via conventional needle-syringe injection of large preformed macroporous scaffolds with well-defined properties. Injectable 3D scaffolds, in the form of elastic sponge-like matrices, were prepared by environmentally friendly cryotropic gelation of a naturally sourced polymer. Cryogels with shape-memory properties may be molded to a variety of shapes and sizes, and may be optionally loaded with therapeutic agents or cells. These scaffolds have the capability to withstand reversible deformations at over 90% strain level, and a rapid volumetric recovery allows the structurally defined scaffolds to be injected through a small-bore needle with nearly complete geometric restoration once delivered. These gels demonstrated long-term release of biomolecules in vivo. Furthermore, cryogels impregnated with bioluminescent reporter cells provided enhanced survival, higher local retention, and extended engraftment of transplanted cells at the injection site compared with a standard injection technique. These injectable scaffolds show great promise for various biomedical applications, including cell therapies.