The intestinal epithelium is the most rapidly renewed tissue in adult mammals, and its renewal is strictly controlled by intestinal stem cells. Extensive studies using genetic models of intestinal epithelium have revealed the mechanisms underlying the self-renewal of intestinal stem cells. Exploiting this knowledge, we developed a novel 3D culture system that enables the outgrowth of intestinal Lgr5+ stem cells derived from mouse and human tissues into ever-expanding crypt–villus mini-guts, known as intestinal epithelial organoids. These organoids are maintained by the self-renewal of stem cells and give rise to all differentiated cell types of the intestinal epithelium. Once established, organoids can be cryopreserved and thawed when needed. This culture system has been widely used for studying stem cell behavior and gene function and for disease modeling.