The aim of the present study was to examine the associations between the maternal intake of fatty acids during pregnancy and the risk of preclinical and clinical type 1 diabetes in the offspring. The study included 4887 children with human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-conferred type 1 diabetes susceptibility born during the years 1997–2004 from the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention Study. Maternal diet was assessed with a validated FFQ. The offspring were observed at 3- to 12-month intervals for the appearance of type 1 diabetes-associated autoantibodies and development of clinical type 1 diabetes (average follow-up period: 4·6 years (range 0·5–11·5 years)). Altogether, 240 children developed preclinical type 1 diabetes and 112 children developed clinical type 1 diabetes. Piecewise linear log-hazard survival model and Cox proportional-hazards regression were used for statistical analyses. The maternal intake of palmitic acid (hazard ratio (HR) 0·82, 95 % CI 0·67, 0·99) and high consumption of cheese during pregnancy (highest quarter v. intermediate half HR 0·52, 95 % CI 0·31, 0·87) were associated with a decreased risk of clinical type 1 diabetes. The consumption of sour milk products (HR 1·14, 95 % CI 1·02, 1·28), intake of protein from sour milk (HR 1·15, 95 % CI 1·02, 1·29) and intake of fat from fresh milk (HR 1·43, 95 % CI 1·04, 1·96) were associated with an increased risk of preclinical type 1 diabetes, and the intake of low-fat margarines (HR 0·67, 95 % CI 0·49, 0·92) was associated with a decreased risk. No conclusive associations between maternal fatty acid intake or food consumption during pregnancy and the development of type 1 diabetes in the offspring were detected.