Autophagy is a highly conserved degradative pathway that has rapidly emerged as a critical component of immunity and host defense. Studies have implicated autophagy genes in restricting the replication of a diverse array of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and protozoans. However, in most cases, the in vivo role of antimicrobial autophagy against pathogens has been undefined. Drosophila provides a genetically tractable model system that can be easily adapted to study autophagy in innate immunity, and recent studies in flies have demonstrated that autophagy is an essential antimicrobial response against bacteria and viruses in vivo. These findings reveal striking conservation of antimicrobial autophagy between flies and mammals, and in particular, the role of pathogen-associated pattern recognition in triggering this response. This review discusses our current understanding of antimicrobial autophagy in Drosophila and its potential relevance to human immunity.