Microglia and macrophages in the CNS contain multimolecular complexes termed inflammasomes. Inflammasomes function as intracellular sensors for infectious agents as well as for host-derived danger signals that are associated with neurological diseases, including meningitis, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Assembly of an inflammasome activates caspase 1 and, subsequently, the proteolysis and release of the cytokines interleukin-1β and interleukin-18, as well as pyroptotic cell death. Since the discovery of inflammasomes in 2002, there has been burgeoning recognition of their complexities and functions. Here, we review the current understanding of the functions of different inflammasomes in the CNS and their roles in neurological diseases.