Abstract An improved, quick and simple method for the extraction and quantification of the phytohormones (+)-abscisic acid (ABA) and its major glucose conjugate, abscisic acid glucose ester (ABA-GE) in plant samples is described. The method includes the addition of deuterium-labeled internal standards to the leaves at the beginning of the extraction for quantification, a simple extraction/centrifugation process and the injection into the liquid chromatography–electrospray ionization–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–ESI–MS–MS) system in multiple reaction monitoring mode (MRM). Quality parameters of the method (detection limits, repeatability, reproducibility and linearity) have been studied. The objective of this work is to show the applicability of this method for quantifying the endogenous content of both ABA and ABA-GE in Cistus albidus plants that have been grown during an annual cycle under Mediterranean field conditions. Leaf samples from winter plants have low levels of ABA which increase in spring and summer showing two peaks that corresponded to April and August. These increases are coincident with the high temperature and solar radiation and the low RWC and RH registered along the year. On the other hand, the endogenous levels of ABA-GE increase until maximum values in July just before the ABA content reaches its highest concentration, decreasing in August and during autumn and winter. Our results suggest that the method is useful for quantifying both compounds in this plant material and represents the advantage of a short-time sample preparation with a high accuracy and viability.