In this paper, we report on a series of SnO2-carbon nano-composites synthesized by in situ spray pyrolysis of a solution of SnCl2·2H2O and sucrose at 700 °C. The process results in super fine nanocrystalline SnO2, which is homogeneously distributed inside the amorphous carbon matrix. The SnO2 was revealed as a structure of broken hollow spheres with porosity on both the inside and outside particle surfaces. This structure promises a highly developed specific surface area. X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns and transmission electron microscope (TEM) images revealed the SnO2 crystal size is about 5–15 nm. These composites show a reversible lithium storage capacity of about 590 mAh g−1 in the first cycle. The discharge curve of the composite indicates that lithium is stored in crystalline tin, but not in amorphous carbon. However, the conductive carbon matrix with high surface area provides a buffer layer to cushion the large volume change in the tin regions, which contributes to the reduced capacity fade compared to nonacrystalline SnO2 without carbon.