Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by hepatic accumulation of lipids. Antisteatotic effects of cerium oxide nanoparticles (CeO2NPs) have recently been shown in animal models of liver disease. However, it is unclear whether the activity of CeO2NPs is related solely to the decrease in oxidative stress or, in addition, they directly decrease liver fatty acid accumulation. To address this question, in this work, we used an in vitro model of hepatocellular steatosis, exposing HepG2 cells to oleic and palmitic acid. Cell uptake of CeO2NPs and their effect on oxidative stress and viability of hepatic cells cultured with H2O2 were also evaluated. Results show that CeO2NPs were uptaken by HepG2 cells and reduced oxidative stress and improved cell viability. Treatment with oleic and palmitic acid increased lipogenesis and the content of different fatty acids. CeO2NPs reduced palmitic and stearic acid and most fatty acids consisting of more than 18 carbon atoms. These effects were associated with significant changes in elongase and desaturase activity. In conclusion, CeO2NPs directly protected HepG2 cells from cell injury in oxidative stress conditions and reduced fatty acid content in steatotic conditions by inducing specific changes in fatty acid metabolism, thus showing potential in the treatment of NAFLD.