Fucoxanthin and its deacetylated metabolite fucoxanthinol are two major carotenoids that have been confirmed to possess various pharmacological properties. In the present study, fucoxanthinol was identified as the deacetylated metabolite of fucoxanthin, after intravenous (i.v.) and intragastric gavage (i.g.) administration to rats at doses of 2 and 65 mg/kg, respectively, by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric (LC-MS/MS) analysis. Next, an accurate and precise LC-MS/MS method was developed to quantitatively determine fucoxanthin and fucoxanthinol in rat plasma. Plasma samples were resolved by LC-MS/MS on a reverse-phase SB-C18 column that was equilibrated and eluted with acetonitrile (A)/aqueous 0.1% formic acid (B; 92/8, v/v) at a flow rate of 0.5 mL/min. Analytes were monitored by multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) under positive electrospray ionization mode. The precursor/product transitions (m/z) were 659.3→109.0 for fucoxanthin, 617.2→109.0 for fucoxanthinol, and 429.4→313.2 for the internal standard (IS). Calibration curves for fucoxanthin and fucoxanthinol were linear over concentrations ranging from 1.53 to 720 and 1.17 to 600 ng/mL, respectively. The inter- and intraday accuracy and precision were within ±15%. The method was applied successfully in a pharmacokinetic study and the resulting oral fucoxanthin bioavailability calculated.