Mid-infrared or Raman spectroscopy together with multivariate data analysis provides a novel approach to clinical laboratory analysis, offering benefits due to its reagent-free nature, the speed of the analysis and the possibility of obtaining a variety of information from one single measurement. We compared mid-infrared and Raman spectra of the sera obtained from 247 blood donors. Partial least squares analysis of the vibrational spectra allowed for the quantification of total protein, cholesterol, high and low density lipoproteins, triglycerides, glucose, urea and uric acid. Glucose (mean concentration: 154 mg/dl) is frequently used as a benchmark for spectroscopic analysis and we achieved a root mean square error of prediction of 14.7 and 17.1 mg/dl for mid-infrared and Raman spectroscopy, respectively. Using the same sample set, comparable sample throughput, and identical mathematical quantification procedures Raman and mid-infrared spectroscopy of serum deliver similar accuracies for the quantification of the analytes under investigation. In our experiments vibrational spectroscopy-based quantification appears to be limited to accuracies in the 0.1 mmol/l range.