The conventional method of culturing human embryonic stem cells (hESC) is on two-dimensional (2D) surfaces, which is not amenable for scale up to therapeutic quantities in bioreactors. We have developed a facile and robust method for maintaining undifferentiated hESC in three-dimensional (3D) suspension cultures on matrigel-coated microcarriers achieving 2- to 4-fold higher cell densities than those in 2D colony cultures. Stable, continuous propagation of two hESC lines on microcarriers has been demonstrated in conditioned media for 6 months. Microcarrier cultures (MC) were also demonstrated in two serum-free defined media (StemPro and mTeSR1). MC achieved even higher cell concentrations in suspension spinner flasks, thus opening the prospect of propagation in controlled bioreactors.