The success of immune-checkpoint blockade and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies has established the remarkable capacity of the immune system to fight cancer. Over the past several years, it has become clear that immune cell responses to cancer are critically dependent upon metabolic programs that are specific to both immune cell type and function. Metabolic features of cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment impose constraints on immune cell metabolism that can favor immunosuppressive phenotypes and block antitumor responses. Advances in both preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that metabolic interventions can dramatically enhance the efficacy of immune-based therapies for cancer. As such, understanding the metabolic requirements of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment, as well as the limitations imposed therein, can have significant benefits for informing both current practice and future research in cancer immunotherapy.