Cultured renal cells provide a highly reproducible and malleable model to study cellular responses to metabolic perturbations. Nevertheless, there is currently no good method to achieve metabolic inhibition and complete recovery in cultured cells. This study describes a specific method for reversibly inhibiting both glycolytic and oxidative metabolism. Glycolysis was inhibited by removing all glycolytic substrates, and mitochondrial respiration was inhibited with rotenone, a site I inhibitor of the electron transport chain. Within 30 min, ATP values were decreased by 98%. Glycolysis was restored through the reintroduction of glucose. Oxidative metabolism was restored by the addition of heptanoate, a short odd-chain fatty acid, which supplies reducing equivalents to site II of the electron transport chain. Employing Madin-Darby canine kidney and LLC-PK1 cell lines, this protocol caused the immediate and complete recovery of mitochondrial respiration and, by 60 min, the complete recovery of cellular ATP levels. Application of this protocol should allow the investigation of the cellular effects and alterations that occur within cells recovering from sublethal energy depletion.