Assessment of fatty liver grafts during orthotopic liver transplantation is a challenge due to the lack of real-time analysis options during surgery. Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) could be a new diagnostic tool to quickly assess steatosis. Eight hundred and seventy-eight optical measurements were performed in vivo in 17 patients in liver tissue during surgery and ex vivo on liver resection specimens from 41 patients. Liver steatosis was quantified from the collected optical spectra and compared with the histology analysis from the measurement location by three independent pathologists. Twenty two patients were diagnosed with <5% steatosis, 15 patients had mild steatosis, and four had moderate steatosis. Severe steatosis was not identified. Intraclass correlation between the pathologists analysis was 0.949. A correlation of 0.854 was found between the histology and DRS analyses of liver steatosis ex vivo. For the same liver tissue, a correlation of 0.925 was demonstrated between in vivo and ex vivo DRS analysis for steatosis quantification. DRS can quantify steatosis in liver tissue both in vivo and ex vivo with good agreement compared to histopathology analysis. This analysis can be performed real time and may therefore be useful for fast objective assessment of liver steatosis in liver surgery.