A key drawback of hydrogel materials for tissue engineering applications is their characteristic swelling response, which leads to a diminished mechanical performance. However, if a solution can be found to overcome such limitations, there is a wider application for these materials. Herein, we describe a simple and effective way to control the swelling and degradation rate of nucleophilic thiol–yne poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogel networks using two straightforward routes: (1) using multiarm alkyne and thiol terminated PEG precursors or (2) introducing a thermoresponsive unit into the PEG network while maintaining their robust mechanical properties. In situ hydrogel materials were formed in under 10 min in PBS solution at pH 7.4 without the need for an external catalyst by using easily accessible precursors. Both pathways resulted in strong tunable hydrogel materials (compressive strength values up to 2.4 MPa) which could effectively encapsulate cells, thus highlighting their potential as soft tissue scaffolds.