Phenolic compounds might modulate adiposity. Here, we report our observation that polyphenols and phenolic acids inhibit adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 with different intensity depending on the family and the stage of differentiation. While quercetin and resveratrol inhibited lipid accumulation along the whole process of differentiation, apigenin and myricetin were active during the early and latest stages, but not intermediate, contrary to hesperidin. The activity of phenolic acids was limited to the early stages of the differentiation process, except p-coumaric and ellagic acids. This anti-adipogenic effect was accompanied by down-regulation of Scd1 and Lpl. Molecular docking analysis revealed that the inhibitory activity of these phenolic compounds over the early stages of adipogenesis exhibits a significant correlation (r = 0.7034; p = 0.005) with their binding affinity to the ligand-binding domain of PPARγ. Results show that polyphenols and phenolic acids would interact with specific residues of the receptor, which could determine their potential anti-adipogenic activity during the early stages of the differentiation. Residues Phe264, His266, Ile281, Cys285 and Met348 are the most frequently involved in these interactions, which might suggest a crucial role for these amino acids modulating the activity of the receptor. These data contribute to elucidate the possible mechanisms of phenolic compounds in the control of adipogenesis.