The identification of (plasma) membrane proteins in cells can provide valuable insights into the regulation of their biological processes. Pluripotent cells such as human embryonic stem cells and embryonal carcinoma cells are capable of unlimited self-renewal and share many of the biological mechanisms that regulate proliferation and differentiation. The comparison of their membrane proteomes will help unravel the biological principles of pluripotency, and the identification of biomarker proteins in their plasma membranes is considered a crucial step to fully exploit pluripotent cells for therapeutic purposes. For these tasks, membrane proteomics is the method of choice, but as indicated by the scarce identification of membrane and plasma membrane proteins in global proteomic surveys it is not an easy task. In this minireview, we first describe the general challenges of membrane proteomics. We then review current sample preparation steps and discuss protocols that we found particularly beneficial for the identification of large numbers of (plasma) membrane proteins in human tumour- and embryo-derived stem cells. Our optimized assembled protocol led to the identification of a large number of membrane proteins. However, as the composition of cells and membranes is highly variable we still recommend adapting the sample preparation protocol for each individual system.