Cells communicate with each other through the production and secretion of cytokines, which are integral to the host response to infection. Once recognized by specific cytokine receptors expressed on the cell surface, these exogenous signals direct the biological function of a cell in order to adapt to their microenvironment. CD8+ T cells are critical immune cells that play an important role in the control and elimination of intracellular pathogens. Current findings have demonstrated that cytokines influence all aspects of the CD8+ T cell response to infection or immunization. The cytokine milieu induced at the time of activation impacts the overall magnitude and function of the effector CD8+ T cell response and the generation of functional memory CD8+ T cells. This review will focus on the impact of inflammatory cytokines on different aspects of CD8+ T cell biology.