Adipose tissue contains a stromal vascular fraction (SVF) that is a rich source of adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ASCs). ASCs are multipotent and in vitro-expanded ASCs have the capacity to differentiate, into amongst others, adipocytes, chondrocytes, osteoblasts, and myocytes. For tissue engineering purposes, however, it would be advantageous to use the whole SVF, which can be transplanted without further in vitro selection or expansion steps. Because little is known about the freshly isolated ASCs in the SVF, we phenotypically characterized human freshly isolated ASCs, using flow cytometry. In addition, we investigated whether freshly isolated ASCs have functional properties comparable to cultured ASCs. For this, the differentiation potential of both freshly isolated ASCs and cultured ASCs into the osteogenic pathway was analyzed. Freshly isolated ASCs slightly differed in immunophenotype from cultured ASCs. Contrary to cultured ASCs, freshly isolated ASCs were shown to be highly positive for CD34, and positive for CD117 and HLA-DR. On the other hand, expression of CD105 and especially CD166 on the freshly isolated ASCs was relatively low. After osteogenic stimulation of freshly isolated ASCs, both Runx-2 and Col1aI gene expression were significantly increased (p < 0.05). However, there was a difference in the kinetics of gene expression between freshly isolated and cultured ASCs and also between the different SVF isolates tested. There was no difference in alkaline phosphatase activity between freshly isolated ASCs and cultured ASCs. In addition, freshly isolated ASCs stained positive for osteonectin and showed matrix mineralization. We conclude that although there are minor differences in phenotype and kinetics of differentiation between freshly isolated ASCs and cultured ASCs, the use of freshly isolated ASCs for tissue engineering purposes involving bone repair is potentially applicable.