Inflammasomes are macromolecular complexes that assemble upon recognition of pathogen- or danger-associated molecular patterns. Inflammasome assembly is nucleated by the oligomerisation of specific, activated pattern recognition receptors within the cytosol. Inflammasomes function as platforms for the activation of the caspase-1 protease, which in turn triggers the maturation and secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, and initiates pyroptosis, a highly inflammatory form of lytic cell death. Recently, additional inflammatory caspases (murine caspase-11, and human caspase-4/5) were also reported to be activated upon a pyroptosis-inducing ‘non-canonical inflammasome’ by direct recognition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a pathogen-associated molecular pattern. Here we review and discuss recent advances in our understanding of inflammasome-mediated host defence against Salmonella particularly in human cells, and their implications for cellular survival and cytokine secretion.