Intrinsic apoptosis resulting from BAX/BAK-mediated mitochondrial membrane damage is regarded as immunologically silent. We show here that in macrophages, BAX/BAK activation results in inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) protein degradation to promote caspase-8-mediated activation of IL-1β. Furthermore, BAX/BAK signaling induces a parallel pathway to NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated caspase-1-dependent IL-1β maturation that requires potassium efflux. Remarkably, following BAX/BAK activation, the apoptotic executioner caspases, caspase-3 and -7, act upstream of both caspase-8 and NLRP3-induced IL-1β maturation and secretion. Conversely, the pyroptotic cell death effectors gasdermin D and gasdermin E are not essential for BAX/BAK-induced IL-1β release. These findings highlight that innate immune cells undergoing BAX/BAK-mediated apoptosis have the capacity to generate pro-inflammatory signals and provide an explanation as to why IL-1β activation is often associated with cellular stress, such as during chemotherapy. BAX/BAK-mediated apoptosis is considered immunologically silent. Vince et al. show that in macrophages, MCL-1 and BCL-XL restrain BAX/BAK-induced pro-inflammatory IL-1β activation. IAP degradation and activation of caspase-3 and -7 downstream of BAX/BAK triggers caspase-8-mediated cleavage and activation of IL-1β and cause potassium ion efflux to trigger NLRP3 inflammasome formation.