Stem cell–based therapy for liver regeneration has been proposed to overcome the persistent shortage in the supply of suitable donor organs. A requirement for this to succeed is to find a rapid method to detect functional hepatocytes, differentiated from embryonic stem cells. We propose Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy as a versatile method to identify the early and last stages of the differentiation process leading to the formation of hepatocytes. Using synchrotron-FTIR microspectroscopy, the means of identifying hepatocytes at the single-cell level is possible and explored. Principal component analysis and subsequent partial least-squares (PLS) discriminant analysis is applied to distinguish endoderm induction from hepatic progenitor cells and matured hepatocyte-like cells. The data are well modeled by PLS with endoderm induction, hepatic progenitor cells, and mature hepatocyte-like cells able to be discriminated with very high sensitivity and specificity. This method provides a practical tool to monitor endoderm induction and has the potential to be applied for quality control of cell differentiation leading to hepatocyte formation.