Inflammatory bowel diseases are a set of complex and chronic disorders that arise in genetically predisposed individuals due to a lack of tolerance to the gut microflora. Although the intestinal microbiota is required for the proper development of the host and the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis, its dysbiosis is associated with inflammatory bowel diseases pathogenesis. In this review, we focus the discussion on the crosstalk between the innate immune system and the microbiota. We examine new findings from genetic and functional studies investigating the critical role of the intestinal epithelial cell layer and the processes that maintain its integrity in health and disease. We further explore the mechanisms of the mucosal innate immune system including dendritic cells, macrophages, and innate-like lymphocytes in mediating immunological tolerance at the steady state or pathogenic inflammatory responses in inflammatory bowel diseases.