Public procurement and innovation is the subject of a growing body of literature. This article systematically reviews the existing research, documenting its evolution and highlighting dominant and overlooked themes. We find a dramatic increase in the number of journal publications on this topic since 2008, the existence of thematic communities within the literature, and a focus on empirical work. We analysed keywords and abstracts to identify the broad boundaries of research on public procurement and innovation as well as particular areas of focus in the literature. We found a variety of terms used to describe the application of public procurement as an innovation policy tool and a variety of thematic interests and theoretical foundations. We argue that this makes it challenging to consolidate the research on the topic. From a policy perspective, the geographical context of research is overwhelmingly concentrated in OECD and EU countries.