End-stage hepatic failure is a potentially life-threatening condition for which orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is the only effective treatment. However, a shortage of available donor organs for transplantation each year results in the death of many patients waiting for liver transplantation. Cell-based therapies and hepatic tissue engineering have been considered as alternatives to liver transplantation. However, primary hepatocyte transplantation has rarely produced therapeutic effects because mature hepatocytes cannot be effectively expanded in vitro, and the availability of hepatocytes is often limited by shortages of donor organs. Decellularization is an attractive technique for scaffold preparation in stem cell-based liver engineering, as the resulting material can potentially retain the liver architecture, native vessel network and specific extracellular matrix (ECM). Thus, the reconstruction of functional and practical liver tissue using decellularized scaffolds becomes possible. This review focuses on the current understanding of liver tissue engineering, whole-organ liver decellularization techniques, cell sources for recellularization and potential clinical applications and challenges.