Successful specification of the two mouse blastocyst inner cell mass (ICM) lineages (the primitive endoderm (PrE) and epiblast) is a prerequisite for continued development and requires active fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4) signaling. Previously, we identified a role for p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (p38-MAPKs) during PrE differentiation, but the underlying mechanisms have remained unresolved. Here, we report an early blastocyst window of p38-MAPK activity that is required to regulate ribosome-related gene expression, rRNA precursor processing, polysome formation and protein translation. We show that p38-MAPK inhibition-induced PrE phenotypes can be partially rescued by activating the translational regulator mTOR. However, similar PrE phenotypes associated with extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway inhibition targeting active FGF4 signaling are not affected by mTOR activation. These data indicate a specific role for p38-MAPKs in providing a permissive translational environment during mouse blastocyst PrE differentiation that is distinct from classically reported FGF4-based mechanisms.