It has been suggested that added sugar intake is associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, previous studies only focused on sugar-sweetened beverages; the evidence for associations with total added sugars and their sources is scarce. This study aimed to examine the associations of total added sugars, their physical forms (liquid v. solid) and food sources with risk of NAFLD among adults in Tianjin, China. We used data from 15 538 participants, free of NAFLD, other liver diseases, CVD, cancer or diabetes at baseline (2013–2018 years). Added sugar intake was estimated from a validated 100-item FFQ. NAFLD was diagnosed by ultrasonography after exclusion of other causes of liver diseases. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were fitted to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and corresponding 95 % CI for NAFLD risk with added sugar intake. During a median follow-up of 4·2 years, 3476 incident NAFLD cases were documented. After adjusting for age, sex, BMI and its change from baseline to follow-up, lifestyle factors, personal and family medical history and overall diet quality, the multivariable HR of NAFLD risk were 1·18 (95 % CI 1·06, 1·32) for total added sugars, 1·20 (95 % CI 1·08, 1·33) for liquid added sugars and 0·96 (95 % CI 0·86, 1·07) for solid added sugars when comparing the highest quartiles of intake with the lowest quartiles of intake. In this prospective cohort of Chinese adults, higher intakes of total added sugars and liquid added sugars, but not solid added sugars, were associated with a higher risk of NAFLD.