A brief summary of the main features of extracellular vesicles, a joint terminology for exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic vesicles. These vesicles are in the center of interest in biology and medical sciences, and form a very active field of research. Mass spectrometry (MS), with its specificity and sensitivity, has the potential to identify and characterize molecular composition of these vesicles; but as yet there are only a limited, but fast-growing, number of publications that use MS workflows in this field. MS is the major tool to assess protein composition of extracellular vesicles: qualitative and quantitative proteomics approaches are both reviewed. Beside proteins, lipid and metabolite composition of vesicles might also be best assessed by MS techniques; however there are few applications as yet in this respect. The role of alternative analytical approaches, like gel-based proteomics and antibody-based immunoassays, are also mentioned. The objective of the review is to give an overview of this fast-growing field to help orient MS-based research on extracellular vesicles.