Previous studies on the association between interleukin-1 (IL-1) genetic polymorphisms and the risk of gastric cancer have produced conflicting results. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between IL-1 genotype and gastric cancer by systematically reviewing the risk of the original studies. Thirty-nine studies, which included 6,863 gastric cancer cases and 8,434 controls, met the inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. By pooling all the studies identified, the summary odds ratio (OR) of gastric cancer risk associated with IL-1B-511T, -31C, +3954T and IL-1RN*2 was 1.26 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03-1.55), 1.00 (95% CI: 0.82-1.22), 1.37 (95% CI: 0.94-2.00) and 1.20 (95% CI: 1.01-1.41), respectively. A stratified analysis showed that IL-1B-511T was associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer (intestinal type) (OR = 1.76, 95% CI: 1.12-2.57). Moreover, IL-1RN*2 was also associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer among Caucasians (OR = 1.30, 95% CI: 1.09-1.54). In conclusion, IL-1B-511 and IL-1RN genetic polymorphisms are associated with an increased risk of developing gastric cancer.