Sorafenib is the standard first-line systemic therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the low objective response rates in clinical studies suggest the existence of certain HCC cells that are inherently insensitive to sorafenib. To understand the molecular basis of insensitivity of HCC cells to sorafenib, this study developed 3 kinds of insensitive HCC cells through exposure to various concentrations of sorafenib and performed a quantitative proteome analysis of the surviving HepG2 cells. 520 unique proteins were concentration-dependently upregulated by sorafenib. Bioinformatics-assisted analysis of 520 proteins revealed that the metabolic pathways involved in central carbon metabolism were significantly enriched, and 102 mitochondrial proteins, especially components of the electron transport chain (ETC), were incrementally upregulated in the 3 kinds of insensitive cells. Conversely, we identified a rapid holistic inhibitory effect of sorafenib on mitochondrial function by the direct targeting of the complex I-linked electron transport and the uncoupling of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXHPOS) in HCC cells. Core metabolic reprogramming involved in a compensatory upregulation of OXHPOS combined with elevated glycolysis supports the survival of HCC cells under the highest dose of sorafenib treatment. Altogether, our work thus elaborates an ETC inhibitor and unveils the proteomic landscape of metabolic reprogramming in drug insensitivity.