Ultrathin metal–organic framework (MOF) nanosheets (NSs) offer potential for many applications, but the synthetic strategies are largely limited to top-down, low-yield exfoliation methods. Herein, Ni–M–MOF (M=Fe, Al, Co, Mn, Zn, and Cd) NSs are reported with a thickness of only several atomic layers, prepared by a large-scale, bottom-up solvothermal method. The solvent mixture of N,N-dimethylacetamide and water plays key role in controlling the formation of these two-dimensional MOF NSs. The MOF NSs can be directly used as efficient electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction, in which the Ni–Fe–MOF NSs deliver a current density of 10 mA cm −2 at a low overpotential of 221 mV with a small Tafel slope of 56.0 mV dec −1 , and exhibit excellent stability for at least 20 h without obvious activity decay. Density functional theory calculations on the energy barriers for OER occurring at different metal sites confirm that Fe is the active site for OER at Ni–Fe–MOF NSs.