Phosphoserine has potential effectiveness as a simple substrate in preparing bone replacement materials, which could enhance bone forming ability. However, there is a need to investigate the independent effect of phosphoserine on osteogenic differentiation of human adipose stem cells (hADSCs). hADSCs were cultured in an osteogenic medium with phosphoserine. Cell proliferation was analysed by CCK8 and osteogenic differentiation was measured by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, von Kossa staining and real time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). No stimulatory effect of phosphoserine on cell proliferation was noted at Days 1, 4 and 7. Deposition of calcium increased after the addition of phosphoserine. mRNA expression of type I collagen (COL-I), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin (OCN), Osterix, bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) and RUNX2 increased markedly with phosphoserine treatment. The BMP-2 antagonist, noggin, and its receptor kinase inhibitors, dorsomorphin and LDN-193189, attenuated phosphoserine-promoted ALP activity. BMP-responsive and Runx2-responsive reporters were activated by phosphoserine treatment. Thus phosphoserine can promote osteogenic differentiation of hADSCs, probably by activating BMP and Runx2 pathways, which could be a promising approach for enhancing osteogenic capacity of cell-based construction in bone tissue engineering.