Dietary pattern (DP) analysis allows examination of the combined effects of nutrients and foods on the markers of CVD. Very few studies have examined these relationships during adolescence or young adulthood. Traditional CVD risk biomarkers were analysed in 12–15-year-olds (n 487; Young Hearts (YH)1) and again in the same individuals at 20–25 years of age (n 487; YH3). Based on 7 d diet histories, in the present study, DP analysis was performed using a posteriori principal component analysis for the YH3 cohort and the a priori Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) was calculated for both YH1 and YH3 cohorts. In the a posteriori DP analysis, YH3 participants adhering most closely to the ‘healthy’ DP were found to have lower pulse wave velocity (PWV) and homocysteine concentrations, the ‘sweet tooth’ DP were found to have increased LDL concentrations, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure and decreased HDL concentrations, the ‘drinker/social’ DP were found to have lower LDL and homocysteine concentrations, but exhibited a trend towards a higher TAG concentration, and finally the ‘Western’ DP were found to have elevated homocysteine and HDL concentrations. In the a priori dietary score analysis, YH3 participants adhering most closely to the Mediterranean diet were found to exhibit a trend towards a lower PWV. MDS did not track between YH1 and YH3, and nor was there a longitudinal relationship between the change in the MDS and the change in CVD risk biomarkers. In conclusion, cross-sectional analysis revealed that some associations between DP and CVD risk biomarkers were already evident in the young adult population, namely the association between the healthy DP (and the MDS) and PWV; however, no longitudinal associations were observed between these relatively short time periods.