Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising reinforcing elements for structural composites due to their remarkable mechanical properties. The impressive electrical and thermal properties of this new form of carbon also make CNTs containing composites ideal candidates for multifunctional applications. In the past decade, researchers have investigated CNTs as toughening inclusions to overcome the intrinsic brittleness of ceramics and glasses. Although there are numerous investigations available in the literature, a significant progress has not occurred or it has been rather slow compared to advances in the field of CNT/polymer matrix composites. This paper reviews current trends in research and development efforts on the use of CNTs for fabrication of ceramic and glass matrix composite materials. The review includes a summary of key issues related to the optimisation of CNT-based composites and an overview of investigations dealing with processing techniques developed to optimise dispersion quality, interfaces and density. The mechanical properties of as-produced composites are discussed and a comprehensive comparison of data available for different matrix materials is presented. Finally, the potential applications of the resulting CNT/inorganic matrix composites and the scope for future developments in the field are highlighted.