The present study explored the relationships between fried food consumption and metabolic risk factors and hypertension in Korean adults. The study was based on the fifth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2010 and 2011. A total of 9221 Korean adults aged ≥19 years were studied. Fried food consumption was assessed using a validated FFQ. Metabolic risk factors such as waist circumference, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), TAG, HDL-cholesterol and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP) were measured. Hypertension was defined as SBP≥140 mmHg, DBP≥90 mmHg or current use of antihypertensive medication. Adjusted OR for elevated blood pressure significantly increased in men (OR 1·62; 95 % CI 1·11, 2·37; P
trend=0·0447) and women (OR 2·20; 95 % CI 1·21, 4·00; P
trend=0·0403) with a greater than twice a week consumption of fried food compared with those who rarely consumed fried food. However, fried food consumption was not associated with other metabolic risk factors (abdominal obesity, high FPG, hypertriacylglycerolaemia, low HDL-cholesterol and the metabolic syndrome). The adjusted OR for hypertension increased by 2·4-fold in women (OR 2·37; 95 % CI 1·19, 4·72; P
trend=0·0272) with a greater than twice a week fried food consumption compared with those who rarely consumed it. No significant association was found between fried food consumption and hypertension in men. This study suggests that frequent fried food consumption is associated with hypertension in Korean women. Further studies are needed to investigate the effect of different types of fried foods on hypertension.