Notorious variability in the presentation of mitochondrial disease in the infant and young child complicates its clinical diagnosis. Mitochondrial disease is not a single entity but, rather, a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by impaired energy production due to genetically based oxidative phosphorylation dysfunction. Together, these disorders constitute the most common neurometabolic disease of childhood with an estimated minimal risk of developing mitochondrial disease of 1 in 5000. Diagnostic difficulty results from not only the variable and often nonspecific presentation of these disorders but also from the absence of a reliable biomarker specific for the screening or diagnosis of mitochondrial disease. A simplified and standardized approach to facilitate the clinical recognition of mitochondrial disease by primary physicians is needed. With this article we aimed to improve the clinical recognition of mitochondrial disease by primary care providers and empower the generalist to initiate appropriate baseline diagnostic testing before determining the need for specialist referral. This is particularly important in light of the international shortage of metabolism specialists to comprehensively evaluate this large and complex disease population. It is hoped that greater familiarity among primary care physicians with the protean manifestations of mitochondrial disease will facilitate the proper diagnosis and management of this growing cohort of pediatric patients who present across all specialties.