MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of ~22nt long non-coding RNAs. They are evolutionarily conserved and play essential roles in the regulation of post-transcriptional gene expression. The rapidly developing next generation sequencing (NGS) has important applications in miRNA detection. This review is focused on the mechanism of three NGS platforms and their applications in miRNA detection. In contrast to traditional methods, NGS has major advantages: high throughput, precise, accurate, and repeatable. Its application includes new miRNAs exploration, detection of miRNA*, miRNA editing, and isomiR and target mRNA detection. As NGS develops, the cost of sequencing is declining which makes it possible for NGS to be widely used in the coming years. Next generation sequencing will greatly promote researches of miRNAs.