T cell activation leads to dramatic shifts in cell metabolism to protect against pathogens and to orchestrate the action of other immune cells. Quiescent T cells require predominantly ATP-generating processes, whereas proliferating effector T cells require high metabolic flux through growth-promoting pathways. Further, functionally distinct T cell subsets require distinct energetic and biosynthetic pathways to support their specific functional needs. Pathways that control immune cell function and metabolism are intimately linked, and changes in cell metabolism at both the cell and system levels have been shown to enhance or suppress specific T cell functions. As a result of these findings, cell metabolism is now appreciated as a key regulator of T cell function specification and fate. This review discusses the role of cellular metabolism in T cell development, activation, differentiation, and function to highlight the clinical relevance and opportunities for therapeutic interventions that may be used to disrupt immune pathogenesis.