Telomere integrity is influenced by oxidative stress. Also, inflammation-related factors, including nutritional factors, could modulate telomere integrity. The relationship between a posteriori-derived dietary patterns and telomere length (TL) has been scarcely investigated. Thus, our objective was to examine the association between empirically derived dietary patterns ascertained through principal component analysis (PCA) and TL in an older adult Spanish population. A total of 886 older adults (>55 years old; 645 males and 241 females) from the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) cohort were included in the study. TL was measured by monochrome multiplex real-time quantitative PCR. Age-adjusted TL was used for all analyses. Dietary patterns were identified by PCA based on thirty predefined candidate food groups collected from a validated 136-food items frequency questionnaire. Generalised linear models were fitted to obtain β-coefficients and their 95 % CI evaluating differences in TL between each of the four upper quintiles of adherence to dietary patterns and the lowest quintile. Sensitivity analyses by rerunning all multiple linear models under different stratifications were performed to evaluate the robustness of our results. Two major dietary patterns were empirically identified, Western dietary pattern (WDP) and Mediterranean dietary pattern (MDP). After adjustment for potential confounders, longer TL was found among subjects in the highest quintile of MDP (β = 0·064; 95 % CI 0·004, 0·123). The WDP showed no significant association with TL. In conclusion, higher adherence to a posteriori-derived MDP was independently associated with longer telomeres in an older adult Spanish population of the SUN project.