Two web-based dietary assessment tools have been developed for use in large-scale studies: the Riksmaten method (4-d food record) and MiniMeal-Q (food-frequency method). The aim of the present study was to examine the ability of these methods to capture energy intake against objectively measured total energy expenditure (TEE) with the doubly labelled water technique (TEEDLW), and to compare reported energy and macronutrient intake. This study was conducted within the pilot study of the Swedish CArdioPulmonary bioImage Study (SCAPIS), which included 1111 randomly selected men and women aged 50–64 years from the Gothenburg general population. Of these, 200 were enrolled in the SCAPIS diet substudy. TEEDLW was measured in a subsample (n 40). Compared with TEEDLW, both methods underestimated energy intake: −2·5 (sd 2·9) MJ with the Riksmaten method; −2·3 (sd 3·6) MJ with MiniMeal-Q. Mean reporting accuracy was 80 and 82 %, respectively. The correlation between reported energy intake and TEEDLW was r 0·4 for the Riksmaten method (P < 0·05) and r 0·28 (non-significant) for MiniMeal-Q. Women reported similar average intake of energy and macronutrients in both methods whereas men reported higher intakes with the Riksmaten method. Energy-adjusted correlations ranged from 0·14 (polyunsaturated fat) to 0·77 (alcohol). Bland–Altman plots showed acceptable agreement for energy and energy-adjusted protein and carbohydrate intake, whereas the agreement for fat intake was poorer. According to energy intake data, both methods displayed similar precision on energy intake reporting. However, MiniMeal-Q was less successful in ranking individuals than the Riksmaten method. The development of methods to achieve limited under-reporting is a major challenge for future research.