PURPOSE: To investigate and exploit the effect of intravoxel off-resonance compartments in the triple-echo steady-state (TESS) sequence without fat suppression for T2 mapping and to leverage the results for fat fraction quantification. METHODS: In multicompartment tissue, where at least one compartment is excited off-resonance, the total signal exhibits periodic modulations as a function of echo time (TE). Simulated multicompartment TESS signals were synthesized at various TEs. Fat emulsion phantoms were prepared and scanned at the same TE combinations using TESS. In vivo knee data were obtained with TESS to validate the simulations. The multicompartment effect was exploited for fat fraction quantification in the stomach by acquiring TESS signals at two TE combinations. RESULTS: Simulated and measured multicompartment signal intensities were in good agreement. Multicompartment effects caused erroneous T2 offsets, even at low water-fat ratios. The choice of TE caused T2 variations of as much as 28% in cartilage. The feasibility of fat fraction quantification to monitor the decrease of fat content in the stomach during digestion is demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS: Intravoxel off-resonance compartments are a confounding factor for T2 quantification using TESS, causing errors that are dependent on the TE. At the same time, off-resonance effects may allow for efficient fat fraction mapping using steady-state imaging. Magn Reson Med 79:423-429, 2018. © 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.