Carotenoids are important natural pigments produced by many microorganisms and plants. Traditionally, carotenoids have been used in the feed, food and nutraceutical industries. The recent discoveries of health-related beneficial properties attributed to carotenoids have spurred great interest in the production of structurally diverse carotenoids for pharmaceutical applications. The availability of a considerable number of microbial and plant carotenoid genes that can be functionally expressed in heterologous hosts has opened ways for the production of diverse carotenoid compounds in heterologous systems. In this review, we will describe the recent progress made in metabolic engineering of non-carotenogenic microorganisms for improved carotenoid productivity. In addition, we will discuss the application of combinatorial and evolutionary strategies to carotenoid pathway engineering to broaden the diversity of carotenoid structures synthesized in recombinant hosts.