Diffusion MRI is a useful imaging technique with many clinical applications. Many diffusion MRI studies have utilized echo-planar imaging (EPI) acquisition techniques. In this study, we have developed a rapid diffusion-prepared fast imaging with steady-state free precession MRI acquisition for a preclinical 7T scanner providing diffusion-weighted images in less than 500 ms and diffusion tensor imaging assessments in ∼1 min with minimal image artifacts in comparison with EPI. Phantom apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) assessments obtained from the diffusion-prepared fast imaging with steady-state free precession (DP-FISP) acquisition resulted in good agreement with EPI and spin echo diffusion methods. The mean apparent diffusion coefficient was 2.0 × 10−3 mm2/s, 1.90 × 10−3 mm2/s, and 1.97 × 10−3 mm2/s for DP-FISP, diffusion-weighted spin echo, and diffusion-weighted EPI, respectively. The mean fractional anisotropy was 0.073, 0.072, and 0.070 for diffusion-prepared fast imaging with steady-state free precession, diffusion-weighted spin echo, and diffusion-weighted EPI, respectively. Initial in vivo studies show reasonable ADC values in a normal mouse brain and polycystic rat kidneys. Magn Reson Med, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.