The role of hepatic fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy has evolved. Advances in imaging modalities have obviated the need for tissue confirmation in most hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). There is risk of needle-tract seeding. Increasingly, small nodules are being detected on ultrasound surveillance of high-risk patients. Diagnostic challenges associated with cirrhosis include distinction of benign hepatocellular nodules, namely, large regenerative nodules and dysplastic nodules, from reactive hepatocytes; and distinction of well-differentiated HCCs from benign hepatocellular nodules. This paper will discuss (i) controversies regarding preoperative/pretransplantation FNA diagnosis of HCC, (ii) update of biological evolution, nomenclature, and histopathologic criteria for diagnosis of precancerous nodules and small HCCs, and (iii) algorithmic approach to FNA diagnosis of hepatocellular nodules. Optimal results depend on dedicated radiologist-cytopathologist team, on-site cytology service; combined cytohistologic approach, immunohistochemistry, and clinicopathologic correlation. Hepatic FNA is likely to be incorporated as a point of care as we move towards personalized medicine.