Abstract Measures of neighborhood food environments have been linked to diet and obesity. However, the appropriate measurement methods and how people actually perceive their food environments are still unclear. In a cross-sectional study of 939 adults, the perceived presence of food outlets was compared to the geographic-based presence of outlets within a participant’s neighborhood, utilizing percent agreement and Kappa statistics. Perceived presence was based on survey-administered questions, and geographic-based presence was characterized using 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-mile (1-mile = 1.6 km) Euclidean- and network-based buffers centered on each participant’s residence. Analyses were also stratified by urban and non-urban designations. Overall, an individual’s perceived neighborhood food environment was moderately correlated with the geographic-based presence of outlets. The performance of an individual’s perception was most optimal using a 2- or 3-mile geographic-based neighborhood boundary and/or when the participant lived in a non-urban neighborhood. This study has implications for how researchers measure the food environment.