Quantitative profiling of cell surface proteins is critically important for the understanding of cell-cell communication, signaling, tissue development, and homeostasis. Traditional proteomics methods are challenging for cell surface proteins due to their hydrophobic nature and low abundance, necessitating alternative methods to efficiently identify and quantify this protein group. Here we established carboxyl-reactive biotinylation for selective and efficient biotinylation and isolation of surface-exposed proteins of living cells. We assessed the efficiency of carboxyl-reactive biotinylation for plasma membrane proteins by comparing it with a well-established protocol, amine-reactive biotinylation, using SILAC (stable isotope labeling in cell culture). Our results show that carboxyl-reactive biotinylation of cell surface proteins is both more selective and more efficient than amine-reactive biotinylation. We conclude that it is a useful approach, which is partially orthogonal to amine-reactive biotinylation, allowing us to cast a wider net for a comprehensive profiling of cell surface proteins.