A discontinuous Galerkin method for the solution of the immiscible and incompressible two-phase flow problem based on the nonsymmetric interior penalty method is presented. Therefore, the incompressible Navier–Stokes equation is solved for a domain decomposed into two subdomains with different values of viscosity and density as well as a singular surface tension force. On the basis of a piecewise linear approximation of the interface, meshes for both phases are cut out of a structured mesh. The discontinuous finite elements are defined on the resulting Cartesian cut-cell mesh and may therefore approximate the discontinuities of the pressure and the velocity derivatives across the interface with high accuracy. As the mesh resolves the interface, regularization of the density and viscosity jumps across the interface is not required. This preserves the local conservation property of the velocity field even in the vicinity of the interface and constitutes a significant advantage compared with standard methods that require regularization of these discontinuities and cannot represent the jumps and kinks in pressure and velocity. A powerful subtessellation algorithm is incorporated to allow the usage of standard time integrators (such as Crank–Nicholson) on the time-dependent mesh. The presented discretization is applicable to both the two-dimensional and three-dimensional cases. The performance of our approach is demonstrated by application to a two-dimensional benchmark problem, allowing for a thorough comparison with other numerical methods. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.