Protein carbonylation, one of the most harmful irreversible oxidative protein modifications, is considered as a major hallmark of oxidative stress-related disorders. Protein carbonyl measurements are often performed to assess the extent of oxidative stress in the context of cellular damage, aging and several age-related disorders. A wide variety of analytical techniques are available to detect and quantify protein-bound carbonyls generated by metal-catalyzed oxidation, lipid peroxidation or glycation/glycoxidation. Here we review current analytical approaches for protein carbonyl detection with a special focus on mass spectrometry-based techniques. The utility of several carbonyl-derivatization reagents, enrichment protocols and especially advanced mass spectrometry techniques are compared and discussed in detail. Furthermore, the mechanisms and biology of protein carbonylation are summarized based on recent high-throughput proteomics data. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Mass Spec Rev 33: 79–97, 2014.