A series of orange-red to red phosphorescent heteroleptic CuI complexes (the first ligand: 2,2′-biquinoline (bq), 4,4′-diphenyl-2,2′-biquinoline (dpbq) or 3,3′-methylen-4,4′-diphenyl-2,2′-biquinoline (mdpbq); the second ligand: triphenylphosphine or bis[2-(diphenylphosphino)phenyl]ether (DPEphos)) have been synthesized and fully characterized. With highly rigid bulky biquinoline-type ligands, complexes [Cu(mdpbq)(PPh3)2](BF4) and [Cu(mdpbq)(DPEphos)](BF4) emit efficiently in 20 wt % PMMA films with photoluminescence quantum yield of 0.56 and 0.43 and emission maximum of 606 nm and 617 nm, respectively. By doping these complexes in poly(vinyl carbazole) (PVK) or N-(4-(carbazol-9-yl)phenyl)-3,6-bis(carbazol-9-yl) carbazole (TCCz), phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) were fabricated with various device structures. The complex [Cu(mdpbq)(DPEphos)](BF4) exhibits the best device performance. With the device structure of ITO/PEDOT/TCCz:[Cu(mdpbq)(DPEphos)](BF4) (15 wt %)/TPBI/LiF/Al (III), a current efficiency up to 6.4 cd A–1 with the Commission Internationale de L'Eclairage (CIE) coordinates of (0.61, 0.39) has been realized. To our best knowledge, this is the first report of efficient mononuclear CuI complexes with red emission.