© 2019 The Author(s). Background: Obesity, widely recognized as a serious health concern, is characterized by profoundly altered metabolism. However, the intermediate metabolites involved in this change remain largely unknown. Objective: We conducted targeted metabolomics profiling to identify moieties associated with adult obesity. Methods: In this case-control study of Iranian adults, 200 obese patients were compared with 100 controls based on 104 metabolites profiled by a targeted metabolomic approach using liquid chromatography coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The analysis comprised acylcarnitines, diacyl-phosphatidylcholines (PCaa), acyl-alkyl-phosphatidylcholines (PCae), sphingomyelins (SM), lyso-phospholipids (LPC) and amino acids. We performed multivariable linear regression to identify metabolites associated with obesity, adjusting for age, sex, total energy intake, total physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. The Bonferroni correction was used to adjust for multiple testing. Results: A pattern of 19 metabolites was significantly associated with obesity. Branched chain amino acids, alanine, glutamic acid, proline, tyrosine LPCa C16:1, PCaa C32:1, PCaa C32:2 and PCaa C38:3 were positively, while serine, asparagine, LPCa C18:1, LPCa C18:2, LPCe C18:0, PCae C34:3, PCae C38:4 and PCae C40:6 were negatively associated with obesity (all p < 0.00048). Conclusions: A metabolomic profile containing 9 amino acids and 10 polar lipids may serve as a potential biomarker of adult obesity. Further studies are warranted to replicate these findings as well as investigate potential changes in this profile after weight reduction.