Modulating mitochondrial antioxidant status is a nutritional issue of great interest in the treatment or prevention of several oxidative stress related diseases such as obesity. Thus, the aim of the present study was to analyze the effects of three antioxidants on hepatic mitochondrial function and antioxidant status. Isolated rat liver mitochondria were incubated with vitamin C, resveratrol and lipoic acid. The activity of antioxidant enzymes (manganese superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase), ROS generation and respiratory parameters (RCR, P/O ratio and respiratory states) were measured. Vitamin C influenced mitochondrial function by decreasing of ROS generation (P < 0.0001), by stimulating the activity of manganese superoxide dismutase (197.60 ± 35.99%; P < 0.001) as well as glutathione peroxidase (15.70 ± 5.76%; P < 0.05) and by altering the activity of the electron transport chain, mainly by decreasing the P/O ratio (P < 0.05). Resveratrol induced a significant increase in manganese superoxide dismutase activity (160 ± 11.78%; P < 0.0001) and a decrease in ROS generation (P < 0.05 to P < 0.0001). By contrast, lipoic acid inhibited glutathione peroxidase activity (16.48 ± 3.27%; P < 0.05) and induced the uncoupling of the electron transport chain (P < 0.01). Moreover, this antioxidant induced a strong decrease in the P/O ratio (P < 0.05 to P < 0.0001). In conclusion, our results suggest that the three tested antioxidants produced direct effects on mitochondrial function, although the magnitude and intensity of these actions were significantly different, which may have implications when administrated as antioxidants.