Imaging the spatial distribution of biomolecules is at the core of modern biology. The development of fluorescence techniques has enabled researchers to investigate subcellular structures with nanometer precision. However, multiplexed imaging, i.e. observing complex biological networks and interactions, is mainly limited by the fundamental `spectral crowding' of fluorescent materials. Raman spectroscopy-based methods, on the other hand, have a much greater spectral resolution, but often lack the required sensitivity for practical imaging of biomarkers. Addressing the pressing need for new Raman probes, herein we present a series of Raman-active nanoparticles (Rdots) that exhibit the combined advantages of ultra-brightness and compact sizes (~20 nm). When coupled with the emerging stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy, these Rdots are brighter than previously reported Raman-active organic probes by two to three orders of magnitude. We further obtain evidence supporting for SRS imaging of Rdots at single particle level. The compact size and ultra-brightness of Rdots allows immunostaining of specific protein targets (including cytoskeleton and low-abundant surface proteins) in mammalian cells and tissue slices with high imaging contrast. These Rdots thus offer a promising tool for a large range of studies on complex biological networks.