Taste is a key driver of food choice and intake. Taste preferences are widely studied, unlike the diet’s taste profile. This study assessed dietary taste patterns in the Netherlands by sex, BMI, age and education. A taste database, containing 476 foods’ taste values, was combined with 2-d 24-h recalls in two study populations. The percentage of energy intake from six taste clusters was assessed in the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey (DNFCS 2007–2010; n 1351) and in an independent observational study: the Nutrition Questionnaires plus (NQplus) study (2011–2013; n 944). Dietary taste patterns were similar across study populations. Men consumed relatively more energy from ‘salt, umami and fat’ (DNFCS; 24 % energy, NQplus study; 23 %)- and ‘bitter’ (7 %)-tasting foods compared with women (21 %, P<0·001, 22 %, P=0·005; 3 %, P<0·001, 4 %, P<0·001, respectively). Women consumed more % energy from ‘sweet and fat’ (15 %)- and ‘sweet and sour’ (13 %, 12 %, respectively)-tasting foods compared with men (12 %, P<0·001, 13 %, P=0·001; 10 %, P<0·001). Obese individuals consumed more % energy from ‘salt, umami and fat’- and less from ‘sweet and fat’-tasting foods than normal-weight individuals (‘salt, umami and fat’, men; obese both studies 26 %, normal-weight DNFCS 23 %, P=0·037, NQplus 22 %, P=0·001, women; obese 23 %, 24 %, normal weight 20 %, P=0·004, P=0·011, respectively, ‘sweet and fat’, men; obese 11 %, 10 %, normal weight 13 %, P<0·05, 14 %, P<0·01, women; obese 14 %, 15 %, normal weight 16 %, P=0·12, P=0·99). In conclusion, our taste database can be used to deepen our understanding of the role of taste in dietary intake in the Netherlands by sex, BMI, age and education.