3-Hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase is a lipid-requiring enzyme with an absolute requirement of phosphatidylcholine for enzymatic activity. Purification of the enzyme to homogeneity from bovine heart mitochondria was described more than a decade ago [H. G. Bock and S. Fleischer (1975) J. Biol. Chem. 250, 5774-5781]. We have modified the purification procedure so that it is faster, the yield has been improved, and the specific activity is greater by approximately 50%. The updated procedure has also been applied to isolate the enzyme from rat liver mitochondria. Characteristics of the enzyme from bovine heart and rat liver mitochondria have been compared and found to be similar with respect to: (1) purification characteristics; (2) amino acid composition; (3) pH optimum for enzymatic activity; (4) kinetic characteristics; (5) molecular weight as determined by sedimentation equilibrium in guanidine hydrochloride; (6) peptide maps; (7) immunological cross-reactivity. These studies show that 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase from bovine heart and rat liver mitochondria, though similar, are not identical.