The abnormal accumulation of lipids within the endolysosomal lumen occurs in many conditions, including lysosomal storage disorders, atherosclerosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and drug-induced phospholipidosis. Current methods cannot monitor endolysosomal lipid content in vivo, hindering preclinical drug development and research into the mechanisms linking endolysosomal lipid accumulation to disease progression. We developed a single-walled carbon nanotube–based optical reporter that noninvasively measures endolysosomal lipid accumulation via bandgap modulation of its intrinsic near-infrared emission. The reporter detected lipid accumulation in Niemann-Pick disease, atherosclerosis, and NAFLD models in vivo. By applying the reporter to the study of NAFLD, we found that elevated lipid quantities in hepatic macrophages caused by a high-fat diet persist long after reverting to a normal diet. The reporter dynamically monitored endolysosomal lipid accumulation in vivo over time scales ranging from minutes to weeks, indicating its potential to accelerate preclinical research and drug development processes.