Metabolite analysis or metabolomics is an important component of systems biology in the post-genomic era. Although separate liquid chromatography (LC) methods for quantification of the major classes of polar metabolites of plants have been available for decades, a single method that enables simultaneous determination of hundreds of polar metabolites is possible only with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) techniques. The rapid expansion of new LC stationary phases in the market and the ready access of mass spectrometry in many laboratories provides an excellent opportunity for developing LC–MS based methods for multi-target quantification of polar metabolites. Although various LC–MS methods have been developed over the last 10 years with the aim to quantify one or more classes of polar compounds in different matrices, currently there is no consensus LC–MS method that is widely used in plant metabolomics studies. The most promising methods applicable to plant metabolite analysis will be reviewed in this paper and the major problems encountered highlighted. The aim of this review is to provide plant scientists, with limited to moderate experience in analytical chemistry, with up-to-date and simplified information regarding the current status of polar metabolite analysis using LC–MS techniques.