The nutritional status experienced in the early development of life plays a vital role in the long-term metabolic state of the individual, which is known as nutritional programming. The present study investigated the long-term effects of vegetable oil (VO) nutritional programming during the early life of large yellow croaker. First, larvae were fed either a fish oil (FO) diet or a VO diet for 30 d. Subsequently, under the same conditions, all fish were fed a commercial diet for 90 d and thereafter challenged with an FO or VO diet for 30 d. The results showed that growth performance was significantly lower in larvae fed the VO diet than in those in fed the FO diet in the stimulus phase. Notably, VO nutritional history fish showed lower levels of liver lipids liver total triglycerides and serum nonesterified free fatty acids than the FO nutritional history fish when juveniles were challenged with the VO diet, which was consistent with the expression of lipogenesis-related genes and proteins. Moreover, the VO nutritional history fish showed lower liver damage and higher antioxidant capacity than FO nutritional history fish when challenged with the VO diet. In summary, this study showed that a short VO stimulus during the early life stage of large yellow croaker, had a long-term effect on lipid metabolism and the antioxidant system. Specifically, VO nutritional programming had a positive effect on alleviating abnormal lipid deposition on the liver, liver damage, and the reduction of hepatic antioxidant capacity caused by a VO diet.