Abstract As a generalization of orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) systems, multi-input multi-output (MIMO) OFDM systems are very sensitive to carrier frequency offset (CFO). This paper proposes a blind CFO estimation method based on power spectrum analysis, which has high bandwidth efficiency and is much less complex. This method can be used to estimate the residual CFO, which is less than half of the subcarrier spacing. The method uses a cosine cost function to get a closed-form CFO estimate. Simulation results illustrate that the method is effective for MIMO OFDM systems.