Thyroid cancer is the most common cancer among Korean women. However, there are few data on dietary factors related to thyroid cancer risk. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the association between raw vegetables and fruits intake and thyroid cancer in a case-control study. We included 111 histologically confirmed malignant thyroid cancer cases and 115 benign cases. Controls who did not have nodules in thyroid ultrasonography were matched to cases by age (± 2 years). Food and nutrient intakes were estimated using a quantitative FFQ with 121 items. Conditional logistic regression analysis was used to obtain OR and corresponding 95 % CI. The intake of total vegetables was not associated with malignant thyroid cancer, but inversely associated with benign cases. High raw vegetable intake was inversely associated with thyroid cancer risk both in malignant and benign cases (P for trend = 0·01 in both malignant and benign cases). Among fruits, persimmon intake had an inverse association with thyroid cancer risk in both malignant and benign cases (P for trend = 0·06 in malignant cases; P for trend = 0·01 in benign cases) and tangerine intake had an inverse association in malignant cases (P for trend = 0·03). The frequency of consumption of raw vegetables and persimmon also had a consistent inverse association in both malignant and benign cases. These results suggest that high consumption of raw vegetables, persimmons and tangerines may decrease thyroid cancer risk and help prevent early-stage thyroid cancer.