Articular cartilage is a highly hydrated tissue with depth-dependent cellular and matrix properties that provide low-friction load bearing in joints. However, the structure and function are frequently lost and there is insufficient repair response to regenerate high-quality cartilage. Several hydrogel-based tissue-engineering strategies have recently been developed to form constructs with biomimetic zonal variations to improve cartilage repair. Modular hydrogel systems allow for systematic control over hydrogel properties, and advanced fabrication techniques allow for control over construct organization. These technologies have great potential to address many unanswered questions involved in prescribing zonal properties to tissue-engineered constructs for cartilage repair.