Enterohepatic circulation of 12α-hydroxylated (12αOH) bile acid (BA) is enhanced depending on the energy intake in high-fat diet-fed rats. Such BA metabolism can be reproduced using a diet supplemented with cholic acid (CA), which also induces simple steatosis, without inflammation and fibrosis, accompanied by some other symptoms that are frequently observed in the condition of non-alcoholic fatty liver in rats. We investigated whether supplementation of the diet with raffinose (Raf) improves hepatic lipid accumulation induced by the CA-fed condition in rats. After acclimation to the AIN-93-based control diet, male Wistar rats were fed diets supplemented with a combination of Raf (30 g/kg diet) and/or CA (0·5 g/kg diet) for 4 weeks. Dietary Raf normalised hepatic TAG levels (two-way ANOVA P < 0·001 for CA, P = 0·02 for Raf and P = 0·004 for interaction) in the CA-supplemented diet-fed rats. Dietary Raf supplementation reduced hepatic 12αOH BA concentration (two-way ANOVA P < 0·001 for CA, P = 0·003 for Raf and P = 0·03 for interaction). The concentration of 12αOH BA was reduced in the aortic and portal plasma. Raf supplementation increased acetic acid concentration in the caecal contents (two-way ANOVA P = 0·001 as a main effect). Multiple regression analysis revealed that concentrations of aortic 12αOH BA and caecal acetic acid could serve as predictors of hepatic TAG concentration (R2 = 0·55, P < 0·001). However, Raf did not decrease the secondary 12αOH BA concentration in the caecal contents as well as the transaminase activity in the CA diet-fed rats. These results imply that dietary Raf normalises hepatic lipid accumulation via suppression of enterohepatic 12αOH BA circulation.