Abstract Background Currently, both non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and sarcopenia have attracted extensive attention in public health. However, the relationship between NAFLD and sarcopenia remains unclear. This study aimed to clarify the sex-specific association between sarcopenia and NAFLD according to the Asian Working Group for Sarcopenia (AWGS). Methods Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and hepatic ultrasonography were measured in 578 participants (92 men and 486 women) during their annual health examinations. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to explore the association between NAFLD and sarcopenia with its two components. Results A total of 154 participants (30 men and 124 women) had NAFLD. The prevalence of sarcopenia was higher among the participants with NAFLD than among those without NAFLD (men: 20.0% vs. 9.7%, P = 0.295, women: 15.3% vs. 8.0%, P = 0.019). Low muscle mass (LMM) was independently associated with NAFLD in both men and women (men: odds ratio [OR], 2.88; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.52–5.46; women: OR, 2.08; 95% CI 1.63–2.67). However, low muscle strength (LMS) was independently associated with NAFLD only in male participants, with an OR of 1.15 (95% CI 1.02–1.28). Conclusion The occurrence of sarcopenia was associated with a higher risk of NAFLD, especially in men, as demonstrated by lower muscle mass and lower muscle strength.