This study was to evaluate the phenolic content and composition of Carthamus tinctorius L. seed extract (CSE) and to further assess its antioxidant and anti-adipogenic activities using various radical scavenging systems and 3T3-L1 cells. Our results show that the total phenolic and flavonoid contents of CSE were 126.0 ± 2.4 mg GAE/g and 62.2 ± 1.9 mg QE/g, respectively. The major phenolic compounds in CSE was (-)-epigallocatechin (109.62 mg/g), with a 4-hydroxy benzhydrazide derivative and gallocatechin present at 18.28 mg/g and 17.02 mg/g, respectively. CSE exhibited remarkable radical scavenging activities, FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant power) and reducing power in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value of CSE (0.1 mg/mL) was 62.9 ± 4.7 μM TE (trolox equivalent)/g. During adipogenesis, CSE significantly inhibited fat accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells compared with control cells. Overall, these results indicate that CSE might be a valuable source of bioactive compounds that impart functional food and natural antioxidant properties.