Fast T(1) mapping techniques are a valuable means of quantitatively assessing the distribution and dynamics of intravenously or orally applied paramagnetic contrast agents (CAs) by noninvasive imaging. In this study a fast T(1) mapping technique based on the variable flip angle (VFA) approach was optimized for accurate T(1) quantification in abdominal contrast-enhanced (CE) MRI. Optimization methods were developed to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and ensure effective RF and gradient spoiling, as well as a steady state, for a defined T(1) range of 100-800 ms and a limited acquisition time. We corrected B(1) field inhomogeneities by performing an additional measurement using an optimized fast B(1) mapping technique. High-precision in vitro and abdominal in vivo T(1) maps were successfully generated at a voxel size of 2.8 x 2.8 x 15 mm(3) and a temporal resolution of 2.3 s per T(1) map on 1.5T and 3T MRI systems. The application of the proposed fast T(1) mapping technique in abdominal CE-MRI enables noninvasive quantification of abdominal tissue perfusion and vascular permeability, and offers the possibility of quantitatively assessing dilution, distribution, and mixing processes of labeled solutions or drugs in the gastrointestinal tract.