A low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet can ameliorate symptoms in adult irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) within 48 h. To determine the efficacy of a low FODMAP diet in childhood IBS and whether gut microbial composition and/or metabolic capacity are associated with its efficacy. In a double-blind, crossover trial, children with Rome III IBS completed a 1-week baseline period. They then were randomised to a low FODMAP diet or typical American childhood diet (TACD), followed by a 5-day washout period before crossing over to the other diet. GI symptoms were assessed with abdominal pain frequency being the primary outcome. Baseline gut microbial composition (16S rRNA sequencing) and metabolic capacity (PICRUSt) were determined. Metagenomic biomarker discovery (LEfSe) compared Responders (≥50% decrease in abdominal pain frequency on low FODMAP diet only) vs. Nonresponders (no improvement during either intervention). Thirty-three children completed the study. Less abdominal pain occurred during the low FODMAP diet vs. TACD [1.1 ± 0.2 (SEM) episodes/day vs. 1.7 ± 0.4, P < 0.05]. Compared to baseline (1.4 ± 0.2), children had fewer daily abdominal pain episodes during the low FODMAP diet (P < 0.01) but more episodes during the TACD (P < 0.01). Responders were enriched at baseline in taxa with known greater saccharolytic metabolic capacity (e.g. Bacteroides, Ruminococcaceae, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii) and three Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes orthologues, of which two relate to carbohydrate metabolism. In childhood IBS, a low FODMAP diet decreases abdominal pain frequency. Gut microbiome biomarkers may be associated with low FODMAP diet efficacy. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01339117.