Beta-glucans are recognized by the innate immune system. This recognition plays important roles in host defense and presents specific opportunities for clinical modulation of the host immune response. Neutrophils, macrophages, and dendritic cells among others express several receptors capable of recognizing beta-glucan in its various forms. This review explores what is currently known about beta-glucan recognition and how this recognition stimulates immune responses. Special emphasis is placed on Dectin-1, as we know the most about how this key beta-glucan receptor translates recognition into intracellular signaling, stimulates cellular responses, and participates in orchestrating the adaptive immune response.