Free fatty acids (FFAs) have pleiotropic effects on the pancreatic β-cell. Although acute exposure to FFAs stimulates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), prolonged exposure impairs GSIS and causes apoptosis. FFAs exert their effects both via intracellular metabolism and interaction with the FFA receptor 1 (FFAR1/GPR40). Here we studied the role of FFAR1 in acute and long-term effects of palmitate on GSIS and insulin content in isolated human islets by using the FFAR1 agonist TAK-875 and the antagonist ANT203. Acute palmitate exposure potentiated GSIS approximately 3-fold, whereas addition of the antagonist decreased this potentiation to approximately 2-fold. In the absence of palmitate, the agonist caused a 40% increase in GSIS. Treatment with palmitate for 7 days decreased GSIS to 70% and insulin content to 25% of control level. These negative effects of long-term exposure to palmitate were ameliorated by FFAR1 inhibition and further aggravated by additional stimulation of the receptor. In the absence of extracellularly applied palmitate, long-term treatment with the agonist caused a modest increase in GSIS. The protective effect of FFAR1 inhibition was verified by using FFAR1-deficient MIN6 cells. Improved β-cell function by the antagonist was paralleled by the decreased apoptosis and lowered oxidation of palmitate, which may represent the potential mechanisms of protection. We conclude that FFAR1 in the pancreatic β-cell plays a substantial role not only in acute potentiation of GSIS by palmitate but also in the negative long-term effects of palmitate on GSIS and insulin content.