A previous study showed that flesh quality of large yellow croaker (LYC) was improved by feeding dietary hydroxyproline (Hyp, 0·69 %). The aim of the present study was to explore the underlying mechanisms using transcriptomics and metabolomics analysis. The metabolomics analysis showed that muscle metabolite profiles could be clearly separated between the basal diet and Hyp supplementation diet. Metabolites including betaine, Hyp, lactate, glucose-6-phosphate, trimethylamine N-oxide, taurine, creatine, inosine monophosphate, histamine and serine made significant contribution to the separation. Compared with the control diet, the transcriptomics analysis identified a total of 334 different expressed genes, of which 298 genes were up-regulated and thirty-six genes were down-regulated in the Hyp supplementation group. The altered genes of the Hyp supplementation group were involved in collagen metabolism, lipid metabolism and energy metabolism. The integrated results revealed that the increased muscle collagen content in the Hyp supplementation diet was partly because of its enhancement of biosynthesis and the reduction of degradation. The improvement of muscle quality by dietary Hyp supplementation could also be related to a good utilisation of glucose through enhancement of glycolysis. It was concluded that dietary Hyp supplementation could improve flesh quality because of comprehensive metabolism changes including elevated collagen content, glycolysis, lipid metabolism and flesh flavour of LYC. The present study provided a novel strategy to understand the underlying molecular mechanism of flesh quality of LYC fed diet with Hyp supplementation.