Lithium metal anodes (LMAs) are critical for high-energy-density batteries such as Li-S and Li-O2 batteries. The spontaneously formed solid electrolyte interface on LMAs is fragile, which may not accommodate the cyclic Li plating/stripping. This usually will result in a low coulombic efficiency (CE), short cycle life, and potential safety hazards induced by the uncontrollable growth of lithium dendrites. In this study, we fabricate a Li alginate-based artificial SEI (ASEI) layer that is chemically stable and allows easy Li ion transport on the surface of LMAs, thus enabling the stable operation of lithium metal anodes. Compared to bare LMAs, the ASEI layer-protected LMAs exhibit a more stable Li plating/stripping behavior and present effective dendrite suppression. The symmetric LiLi cells with the ASEI layer-protected LMAs can stably run for 850 and 350 h at current densities of 0.5 and 1 mA cm-2, respectively. Additionally, the LiFePO4Li full cell with the ASEI layer-protected LMA exhibits a capacity retention of about 94.0% coupled with a CE of 99.6% after 1000 cycles at 4 C. We believe that this study of engineering an ASEI brings a new and promising approach to the stabilization of LMAs for high-performance lithium metal batteries.