A rapid, selective and sensitive high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) method was developed to determine lisinopril in human plasma. Sample pretreatment involved a one-step protein precipitation with methanol of 0.1 mL plasma. Analysis was performed on an Inertsil ODS-3 column (2.1 × 50 mm i.d., 3 µm) with mobile phase consisting of methanol–water (containing 0.2% formic acid; 55:45, v/v). The detection was performed on a triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometer in multiple reaction monitoring mode via an electrospray ionization source. Each plasma sample was chromatographed within 2.5 min. The linear calibration curves for lisinopril were obtained in the concentration range of 1.03–206 ng/mL (r2 ≥ 0.99) with a lower limit of quantification of 1.03 ng/mL. The intra- and inter-day precisions (relative standard deviation) were not higher than 11%, and accuracy (relative error) was within ±6.8%, determined from quality control samples for lisinopril, which corresponded to the guidance of the Food and Drug Administration. The method described herein was fully validated and successfully applied to the pharmacokinetic study of lisinopril tablets in healthy male volunteers after oral administration. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.