The aim of this study is to assess the relationships among the apolipoprotein B/apolipoprotein A-I ratio (apoB/apoA-I ratio), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and insulin resistance (IR) in a Chinese population with abdominal obesity. This is a population-based, cross-sectional study of 3,945 men and 2,141 women with abdominal obesity. Individuals were referred to a primary health service and recruited for analysis. IR was measured using a homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA2-IR) with a HOMA2 calculator. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) was diagnosed using International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria. Comparing the apoB/apoA-I ratio and lipid indices using the HOMA2-IR showed that the ratio, LDL-C, total cholesterol level (TC) and triglyceride level (TG) were higher; and the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (HDL-C) was lower in the fourth than in the first quartile in both sexes (p ≤ 0.001). After adjustment for age, HOMA2-IR was positively correlated with the apoB/apoA-I ratio, LDL-C, TC and TG; and negatively correlated with HDL-C in men (all p < 0.0001). HOMA2-IR was also positively correlated with the apoB/apoA-I ratio, LDL-C, TC and TG; and negatively correlated with HDL-C in women (all p < 0.01). After adjustment for age and LDL-C, HOMA2-IR was found to be correlated with the apoB/apoA-I ratio in both men and women (r = 0.066 and 0.116, p < 0.0001). After adjustment for age and the apoB/apoA-I ratio, HOMA2-IR was correlated with LDL-C in men and women (r = 0.063 and 0.044, p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0431, respectively). Gender, age, LDL-C, BMI, HOMA2-IR and apoB/apoA-I were the covariates independently associated with presence of the MetS (Odds ratio, OR: 2.183, 1.034, 1.013, 1.157, 1.726 and 1.570, respectively; all p < 0.05). In conclusion, the study showed that the apoB/apoA-I ratio and LDL-C were positively correlated with IR. Excluding reciprocal interactions, the apoB/apoA-I ratio and LDL-C were still significantly correlated with IR, but the apoB/apoA-I ratio showed a greater correlation with IR than LDL-C in women with abdominal obesity, compared with men with abdominal obesity. Both LDL-C and apoB/apoA-I were independent risk factors of MetS, and the apoB/apoA-I ratio was stronger in this regard than LDL-C for this obese population.