Heart valve replacement represents the most common surgical therapy for end-stage valvular heart diseases. A major drawback that all contemporary heart valve replacements have in common is the lack of growth, repair and remodelling capability. In order to overcome these limitations, the emerging new field of tissue engineering is focusing on the in vitro generation of functional, living heart valve replacements. The basic approach uses starter matrices either of decellularized xenogeneic or polymeric materials configured in the shape of the heart valve and subsequent cell seeding. This manuscript will give a detailed overview of these two concepts without giving favour to one or the other. The concluding discussion will focus on current limitations and studies as well as future challenges prior to safe clinical application.