Lingual lipase generates nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) from dietary fats during oral processing by lipolysis. Lingual lipase in rodents has strong lipolytic activity and plays a critical role in oral detection of fats. The functional activity of lingual lipase during oral processing of high-fat foods in humans remains poorly characterized. Five commonly consumed high-fat foods varying in physical states and fatty acid composition (almond, almond butter, olive oil, walnut, and coconut) were masticated by 15 healthy human subjects at the rate of one chew per second with and without lipase inhibitor orlistat. Salivary NEFA concentrations were measured. To determine the role of lingual lipase in oral fat detection, sensory ratings were obtained from the same 15 human subjects for almond butter with and without orlistat. Lingual lipase was active during oral processing of almond and coconut. No activity of lingual lipase was detected during processing of almond butter. There was only weak evidence lingual lipase is a determinant of oral fat detection. Lingual lipase may only contribute to NEFA generation and oral fat detection of fatty foods that require stronger oral processing effort.