Amino acids are important nitrogen-containing chemicals that have a variety of applications. Currently, fermentation is the widely employed method to produce amino acids; however, the products are mostly limited to natural amino acids in the L-configuration. Catalytic synthesis is an alternative approach for the synthesis of amino acids with different types and configurations, where the use of renewable biomass-based feedstocks is highly attractive. To date, several lignocellulose and triacylglycerol-derived intermediates, typically α-keto acids and α-hydroxyl acids, have been transformed into amino acids via the amination reaction in the presence of additional nitrogen sources (i.e., NH3·H2O). Making full use of inherent nitrogen in biomass (i.e., chitin and protein) to produce amino acids avoids the use of extra nitrogen sources and meets the requirements of green chemistry, which is attracting increasing attention. In this review, we summarize different chemical-catalytic systems for the transformation of biomass to amino acids. An outlook on the challenges and opportunities for more effective production of amino acids from biomass by catalytic methods is provided.