Diet supplementation with oilseeds is known to improve the fatty acid profile of meat, but few studies have been carried out to determine the time required for the incorporation of a significant quantity of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) into meat from steers. Therefore, the present study aimed to assess the effects of linseed supplementation and feeding duration on the fatty acid profile, cholesterol and bioactive compounds of bovine meat. In total, 54 Friesian steers were randomly allocated during the finishing period into six experimental treatments following a 2×3 factorial design. The six treatments consisted of two diets, the control diet (CO) with no supplemental fat and the linseed diet (LS) containing 10% whole linseed, fed 40, 75 or 120 days before slaughter. At the end of each finishing period, steers from the CO and LS groups were slaughtered. After 8 days of ageing chemical analysis, the fatty acid profile, cholesterol content and bioactive compounds were determined from the longissimus thoracis muscle. Including linseed in the diet increased the content of monounsaturated fatty acids, CLA and n-3 PUFA, and reduced the proportion of saturated fatty acids and n-6 PUFA. The percentage of myristic fatty acid increased with the duration of feeding, regardless of diet and a decrease in PUFA and n-6 PUFA was observed in the CO and LS diets, respectively. Furthermore, meat from steers fed linseed showed an increased percentage of n-3 PUFA, linolenic acid, and EPA from 40 to 75 days of feeding, whereas vaccenic acid, CLA 9c,11t, and total CLA increased from 40 and 75 days but declined at 120 days. Beef from the linseed group had a higher content of bioactive substances such as creatine, carnosine and anserine than beef from the control group. The duration of feeding significantly affected the creatine concentrations, with an increase in the LS group from 40 to 75 days of feeding. Feeding linseed did not modify the cholesterol content, on average and the lowest cholesterol content was found in meat after 75 days of linseed administration. This study demonstrates that a short-term diet manipulation is sufficient to improve the nutritional properties of meat, including n-3 PUFA and bioactive compounds.