The present study was conducted to determine the effects of dietary terrestrial oils (TO) supplemented with l-carnitine on growth performance, biochemical and antioxidant response, lipid metabolism and inflammation in large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea). Three iso-nitrogenous and iso-lipidic experimental diets were formulated with FO (fish oil, the control group), 75 % TO (75 % FO was substituted by the oil mixture with equal amounts of soyabean oil, linseed oil and pork lard) and 75 % TOC (75 % TO supplemented with 800 mg/kg l-carnitine). Compared with the control group, feed efficiency ratio and specific growth rate were significantly increased in fish fed diets with 75 % TO and 75 % TOC. Hepatic lipid content, serum TAG level, LDL-cholesterol level and the mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory genes (tnfα and ifnγ) were significantly increased in fish fed the diet with 75 % TO compared with the control group. However, the supplementation of 800 mg/kg l-carnitine in the 75 % TO diet repressed hepatic lipid content, serum LDL-cholesterol level and the mRNA expression of tnfα and ifnγ in fish compared with fish fed the diet with 75 % TO. Total antioxidant capacity, the activity of superoxide dismutase, the mRNA expression of cpt-I and the activity of CPT-I were significantly increased in fish fed the diet with 75 % TOC compared with 75 % TO. In conclusion, these results suggested that the supplementation of 800 mg/kg l-carnitine in the diet with TO mixture could increase growth, antioxidant capacity and fatty acid oxidation and decrease the expression of inflammatory genes in large yellow croaker.