Essential hypertension is associated with the metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and the development of fatty liver. Fatty liver disease is a spectrum of liver diseases ranging from simple hepatic steatosis through steato-hepatitis to cirrhosis and hepatoma. The purpose of this review is to discuss the evidence for an association between essential hypertension and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and to consider the diagnosis and management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. We conclude that it is important to consider the diagnosis of fatty liver disease in hypertensive patients, to measure the liver function tests at diagnosis and not to ignore minor elevations of serum aminotransferases. Hypertensive patients with raised liver enzymes should be referred for further assessment, particularly if risk factors for progressive liver disease, such as obesity and diabetes, are present.