Obesity is a serious health problem worldwide associated with an increased risk of life-threatening diseases such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and certain types of cancer. Fundamental for the development of novel therapeutics for obesity and its associated metabolic syndromes is an understanding of the regulation of fat cell development. Recent computational and experimental studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) play a role in metabolic tissue development, lipid metabolism and glucose homeostasis. In addition, many miRNAs are dysregulated in metabolic tissues from obese animals and humans, which potentially contributes to the pathogenesis of obesity-associated complications. In this review we summarize the current state of understanding of the roles of miRNAs in metabolic tissues under normal development and obese conditions, and discuss the potential use of miRNAs as therapeutic targets.