Algae possess a considerable potential as bio-refinery for the scale-up production of high-value natural compounds like—carotenoids. Carotenoids are accessory pigments in the light-harvesting apparatus and also act as antioxidants and photo-protectors in green cells. They play important roles for humans, like—precursors of vitamin A, reduce the risk of some cancers, helps in the prevention of age-related diseases, cardiovascular diseases, improve skin health, and stimulates immunity. To date, about 850 types of natural carotenoid compounds have been reported and they have approximated 1.8 billion US$ of global market value. In comparison to land plants, there are few reports on biosynthetic pathways and molecular level regulation of algal carotenogenesis. Recent advances of algal genome sequencing, data created by high-throughput technologies and transcriptome studies, enables a better understanding of the origin and evolution of de novo carotenoid biosynthesis pathways in algae. Here in this review, we focused on, the biochemical and molecular mechanism of carotenoid biosynthesis in algae. Additionally, structural features of different carotenoids are elaborated from a chemistry point of view. Furthermore, current understandings of the techniques designed for pigment extraction from algae are reviewed. In the last section, applications of different carotenoids are elucidated and the growth potential of the global market value of carotenoids are also discussed.