Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments that are liable for colors ranging from red to blue of most fruits, vegetables, and flowers. A novel and fast method was developed for the determination of five anthocyanins and free pelargonidin by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to photodiode array detection. A 10% formic acid and acetonitrile mixture was employed as mobile phase in the gradient elution mode. Mobile phase composition, column temperature, flow rate, injection volume, and column conditioning time were optimized by employing a stepwise strategy. Using a C-18 core-shell column (100 x 4.6 mm, 2.7 mu m), the separation of six analytes was accomplished in less than 9.5 min with a run-to-run analysis time of 19 min. The developed method was validated with respect to linearity (r > 0.9999), limit of detection, limit of quantification, intra-/interday precision (< 2%), accuracy (98.6-104.4%), and specificity. Afterwards, the method was applied to the determination of anthocyanins present in 15 different samples including fruits, fruit juices, and fruit wines.