Impaired oxygen and cellular metabolism is a hallmark of ischaemic injury in acute stroke. Magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) has long been recognized as a potentially powerful tool for non-invasive metabolic imaging. Nonetheless, long acquisition time, poor spatial resolution, and narrow coverage have limited its clinical application. Here we investigated the feasibility and potential clinical utility of rapid, high spatial resolution, near whole-brain 3D metabolic imaging based on a novel MRSI technology. In an 8-min scan, we simultaneously obtained 3D maps of N-acetylaspartate and lactate at a nominal spatial resolution of 2.0 × 3.0 × 3.0 mm3 with near whole-brain coverage from a cohort of 18 patients with acute ischaemic stroke. Serial structural and perfusion MRI was used to define detailed spatial maps of tissue-level outcomes against which high-resolution metabolic changes were evaluated. Within hypoperfused tissue, the lactate signal was higher in areas that ultimately infarcted compared with those that recovered (P < 0.0001). Both lactate (P < 0.0001) and N-acetylaspartate (P < 0.001) differed between infarcted and other regions. Within the areas of diffusion-weighted abnormality, lactate was lower where recovery was observed compared with elsewhere (P < 0.001). This feasibility study supports further investigation of fast high-resolution MRSI in acute stroke.