Toxicity outcomes derived in vitro do not always reflect in vivo toxicity values, which was previously observed for a series of phenols tested in the embryonic stem cell test (EST). Translation of in vitro data to the in vivo situation is therefore an important, but still limiting step for the use of in vitro toxicity outcomes in the safety assessment of chemicals. The aim of the present study was to translate in vitro embryotoxicity data for a series of phenols to in vivo developmental toxic potency values for the rat by physiologically based kinetic (PBK) modelling-based reverse dosimetry. To this purpose, PBK models were developed for each of the phenols. The models were parameterised with in vitro-derived values defining metabolism and transport of the compounds across the intestinal and placental barrier and with in silico predictions and data from the literature. Using PBK-based reverse dosimetry, in vitro concentration–response curves from the EST were translated into in vivo dose–response curves from which points of departure (PoDs) were derived. The predicted PoDs differed less than 3.6-fold from PoDs derived from in vivo toxicity data for the phenols available in the literature. Moreover, the in vitro PBK-based reverse dosimetry approach could overcome the large disparity that was observed previously between the in vitro and the in vivo relative potency of the series of phenols. In conclusion, this study shows another proof-of-principle that the in vitro PBK approach is a promising strategy for non-animal-based safety assessment of chemicals.