Abstract Methods currently used for the quantitative determination of total lipids and fatty acid composition in plant and animal tissues require solvent extraction. An accelerated solvent-extraction (ASE) system and a modified Folch procedure were compared in their ability to extract lipids from cereal, egg yolk and chicken breast muscle samples. Fatty acid contents and compositions of extracted lipids were determined by gas–liquid chromatography. Results varied with different extraction conditions. The fatty acid contents of cereal and yolk lipids extracted by ASE were highest when using isopropanol–hexane (2 : 3, v/v), however, the extraction of muscle lipids resulted in higher fatty acid contents when chloroform–methanol (2 : 1, v/v) is used. Results indicate that ASE is a promising lipid-extraction system for the entire range of plant and animal tissues.