Metal nitrides are of interest as heterogeneous catalysts. In this review, the various methods by which nitrides of potential catalytic importance can be prepared are described, along with literature reports of the catalytic activity of nitrides for different reaction processes. It is clear that nitrides possess unique and interesting properties and in some cases small scale testing has indicated that activities of industrial significance could be achieved for some reactions. Exciting developments in heterogeneous catalysis with metal nitride based materials can be anticipated. Advances in synthesis will lead to improved understanding of structure–activity relationships through the preparation of materials with controlled and well-defined morphology. This will guide further catalyst development, as will access to materials with controllable more complex composition.