MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a family of endogenous, small (approximately 22 nucleotides in length), noncoding, functional RNAs. With the development of molecular biology, the research of miRNA bio-logical function has attracted significant interest, as abnormal miRNA expression is identified to contribute to serious human diseases such as cancers. Traditional methods for miRNA detection do not meet current demands. In particular, nanomaterial-based methods, nucleic acid amplification-based methods such as rolling circle amplification (RCA), loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), strand-displacement amplification (SDA) and some enzyme-free amplifications have been employed widely for the highly sensitive detection of miRNA. MiRNA functional research and clinical diagnostics have been accelerated by these new techniques. Herein, we summarize and discuss the recent progress in the development of miRNA detection methods and new applications. This review will provide guidelines for the development of follow-up miRNA detection methods with high sensitivity and spec-ificity, and applicability to disease diagnosis and therapy.