Although circular RNAs (circRNAs) are known to play key roles in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, much about their targets and mechanisms remains unknown. We therefore investigated the actions and mechanisms of hsa_circ_0048179 in an in vitro model of NAFLD. HepG2 cells were exposed to oleate/palmitate (2:1 ratio) for 24 h to induce intracellular lipid accumulation. Using CCK-8 assays, flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, western blotting, RT-qPCR, and Oil red O staining, we found that oleate/palmitate treatment reduced cell viability while increasing apoptosis and lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells. Levels of the antioxidant enzyme GPX4 were decreased in oleate/palmitate-treated HepG2 cells, and there were corresponding increases in reactive oxygen species and damage to mitochondrial cristae. Levels of hsa_circ_0048179 expression were also suppressed by oleate/palmitate treatment, and GPX4 levels were markedly increased in HepG2 cells following transfection with hsa_circ_0048179. Analysis of its mechanism revealed that hsa_circ_0048179 upregulated GPX4 levels by acting as a competitive “sponge” of miR-188-3p and that hsa_circ_0048179 attenuated oleate/palmitate-induced lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells by sponging miR-188-3p. Collectively, our findings suggest that hsa_circ_0048179 may play a key role in the pathogenesis of steatosis and may thus be a useful target for drug development.