This study describes a rapid and sensitive analytical method for the determination of amino acids in foods and drinks. The method entailed dilution or extraction of amino acids from foods using the mixture of acetonitrile and 0.1% aqueous formic acid (50:50, v/v). Chromatographic separation of underivatized amino acids was performed using a hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography within a runtime of 6 min. Both hydrophobicity and charge of the side chain played important roles on the elution order of amino acids under the chromatographic conditions. High-resolution mass spectrometry allowed qualitative and quantitative detection of amino acids in complex food matrices. Its response was found linear over a concentration range of 0.25-10 mu g/ml. The method could be successfully applied to various foods and drinks to profile individual amino acids. Mean percentage recoveries of amino acids from different matrices were 88.5% or higher with residual standard deviation of less than 5.0%.