Insect gustatory system plays a central role in guiding insect feeding behaviors, insect-plant interactions and coevolutions. Gustatory receptors (GRs) form the interface between the insect taste system and their environment. Previously, most studies on insect GRs are focused on Drosophila; much less attention has been paid to Lepidoptera species, which consist of a large number of serious agricultural crop pests. With the exceptional advances in the next generation sequencing (NGS), cellular biology, RNA interference (RNAi), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) technologies in recent years, extraordinary progresses have been achieved elucidating the molecular mechanisms of Lepidopteran GRs. In this review, we highlighted these advances, discussed what these advances have revealed and provide our new insights into this field. © 2019 The Authors. Insect Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.