Epidemiological studies have suggested that flavonoids exhibit preventive effects on degenerative diseases. However, lack of sufficient data on flavonoid intake has limited evaluating the proposed effects in populations. Therefore, we aimed to estimate the total and individual flavonoid intakes among Korean adults and determine the major dietary sources of these flavonoids. We constructed a flavonoid database of common Korean foods, based on the food list reported in the 24-h recall of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) 2007–2012, using data from the Korea Functional Food Composition Table, US Department of Agriculture flavonoid database, Phenol-Explorer database and other analytical studies. This database, which covers 49 % of food items and 76 % of food intake, was linked with the 24-h recall data of 33 581 subjects aged ≥19 years in the KNHANES 2007–2012. The mean daily intake of total flavonoids in Korean adults was 318·0 mg/d, from proanthocyanidins (22·3 %), flavonols (20·3 %), isoflavones (18·1 %), flavan-3-ols (16·2 %), anthocyanidins (11·6 %), flavanones (11·3 %) and flavones (0·3 %). The major contributing food groups to the flavonoid intake were fruits (54·4 %), vegetables (20·5 %), legumes and legume products (16·2 %) and beverages and alcohols (3·1 %), and the major contributing food items were apples (21·9 %), mandarins (12·5 %), tofu (11·5 %), onions (9·6 %) and grapes (9·0 %). In the regression analysis, the consumption of legumes and legume products, vegetables and fruits predicted total flavonoid intake the most. The findings of this study could facilitate further investigation on the health benefits of flavonoids and provide the basic information for establishing recommended flavonoid intakes for Koreans.