Current customers' demands focus on the nutritional and sensory quality of cattle meat. Candidate gene approach allows identification of genetic polymorphisms that have a measurable effect on traits of interest. The aim of this work is to identify new molecular markers for beef production through an association study using 27 candidate genes and 314 purebred bulls from 11 European cattle breeds. Twelve genes were found associated with different lipid and meat quality traits, and among these stand out the considerable effect of CAST on fatness score, CGGBP1 on growth traits, HSPB1 on the percentage of lauric acid (12:0) and phospholipid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA 22:6 n - 3), RORA on the ratio of light absorption (K) to light scattering (S) (K/S), and TNFA on lightness (L*). Most of these traits are related to post-mortem muscle biochemical changes, which are key factors controlling meat quality and consumers' acceptance. Also, the variations produced on muscle fatty acid profiles, such as those of AANAT, CRH, CSN3, HSPB1, and TNFA, give insights into the genetic networks controlling these complex traits and the possibility of future improvement of meat nutritional quality.