Protein kinase R (PKR) was first identified as a mediator of the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-mediated inhibition of protein synthesis in extracts from interferon-treated cells. In a physiological context, viral replication results in production of dsRNA, activation of PKR by autophosphorylation, and phosphorylation of the protein synthesis initiation factor eIF2alpha. Subsequent biochemical, structural, and genetic analyses have identified the dsRNA and kinase domain structure of PKR, and shown that its deletion from the germline of mice results in impaired resistance to infection by many different viruses. These studies have also opened up roles for PKR in different signaling pathways, the most recent being regulation of the inflammasome. Here we review evidence for this newly ascribed function for PKR and discuss roles in inflammasome regulation and associated diseases.