Vitamin D may play a role in glucose metabolism. A low vitamin D level has been associated with increased risk of diabetes mellitus, but the association has not been confirmed in Asians. Our objective was to examine the association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels with insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus in Korean adults based on a large population-based survey. Cross-sectional analyses were carried out on 5787 Korean adults (2453 men and 3334 women) who were 20 y or older and participated in the Fourth Korea NHANES conducted in 2008. Diabetes mellitus was defined as fasting plasma glucose ≥7 mmol/L or current use of oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin. Insulin resistance was estimated by homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI). Compared to individuals with a sufficient serum 25(OH)D concentration ≥75 nmol/L, the OR (95% CI) for diabetes mellitus were 1.73 (1.09-2.74), 1.30 (0.91-1.84), and 1.40 (0.99-1.98) for serum 25(OH)D concentrations <25, 25 to <50, and 50 to <75 nmol/L, respectively, after multiple adjustments (P-trend < 0.0001). Furthermore, the serum 25(OH)D level was inversely associated with HOMA-IR (β = -0.061; P = 0.001) and positively associated with QUICKI (β = 0.059; P = 0.001) in overweight or obese participants. In conclusion, a low serum vitamin D concentration is associated with a high risk of diabetes mellitus in Korean adults and the concentration is inversely associated with insulin resistance in those who are overweight or obese.