Due to its fingerprint specificity and trace-level sensitivity, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is an attractive tool in bioanalytics. This review reflects the research in this highly interesting topic of the last 3–4 years. The detection of the SERS signature of biomolecules up to microorganisms and cells is introduced. Labeling using modified nanoparticles (SERS tags) is also introduced. In order to establish biomedical applications, SERS analysis is performed in complex matrices such as body fluids. Furthermore, the SERS technique is combined with other methods such as microfluidic devices for online monitoring and scanning probe microscopy (i.e. tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, TERS) to investigate nanoscaled features. The present review illustrates the broad application fields of SERS and TERS in bioanalytics and shows the great potential of these methods for biomedical diagnostics.