Background Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in postmenopausal women. Early menarche may be associated with an increased risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This study aimed to investigate the effect of menarche age and the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome in Korean postmenopausal women. Methods We analyzed 4,933 postmenopausal women (mean age: 64.7 years) using the Korean National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey 2016-2018. Subjects were divided into three groups according to menarche age (early menarche: ≤ 12 years (n = 451), reference: 13-16 years (n = 3,421), and late menarche: ≥ 17 years (n = 1,061)). Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) for diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Results Women with an early menarche age were younger, more educated, and had higher income than the other groups (p-value < 0.001). There were no differences in body mass index, blood pressure, fasting glucose, HbA1c, and cholesterol levels among the three groups. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, early menarche age was significantly associated with the risk of diabetes (OR 1.435, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.069-1.928). The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in all subjects was 41.1%. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, the OR of metabolic syndrome in the early menarche group was 1.213 (95% CI: 0.971-1.515) Conclusion The risk of diabetes was 1.43 times higher in postmenopausal Korean women with early menarche. Although the risk of metabolic syndrome was not statistically significant, it showed a tendency to increase in the early menarche group. Our results suggest that age at menarche may be helpful in diabetes risk stratification and early interventions for postmenopausal women.