Epidemiological studies have reported that diets high in flavonoids are associated with a reduced risk of CVD. However, evidence on the association of dietary flavonoid intake with CVD risk factors is still scarce. The present study aimed to investigate the association of dietary flavonoid intake with CVD risk factors among US adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2012. A total of 4042 US adults aged 19 years and older from the NHANES 2007–2012 participated in this cross-sectional, population-based study. Intakes of total and individual flavonoids were estimated from 2-d 24-h diet recall data by matching with the expanded US Department of Agriculture flavonoid, isoflavone and proanthocyanidin databases. After adjusting for covariates, increased HDL-cholesterol was associated with higher total flavonoid intake (0·54 % change). TAG and TAG:HDL-cholesterol ratio were inversely associated with anthocyanidin (−1·25 % change for TAG; −1·60 % change for TAG:HDL-cholesterol ratio) and total flavonoid intakes (−1·31 % change for TAG; −1·83 % change for TAG:HDL-cholesterol ratio), respectively. Insulin and homoeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) were inversely associated with flavone (for insulin, −3·18 % change; 95 % CI −5·85, −0·44; for HOMA-IR, −3·10 % change; 95 % CI −5·93, −0·19) and isoflavone intakes (for insulin, −3·11 % change; 95 % CI −5·46, −0·70; for HOMA-IR, −4·01 % change; 95 % CI −6·67, −1·27). BMI was negatively associated with anthocyanidin intake (−0·60 % change). This study showed that higher flavonoid intake was associated with improved CVD risk factors. Further research is warranted to confirm the findings from this study as these associations were moderate in strength.