Quercetin, a bioflavonoid derived from vegetables and fruits, exerts anti-inflammatory effects in various diseases. Our previous study revealed that quercetin could suppress the expression of matrix metalloprotease-9 (MMP-9) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) to achieve anti-inflammatory effects in tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)-stimulated human retinal pigment epithelial (ARPE-19) cells. The present study explored whether quercetin can inhibit the interleukin-1β (IL-1β)-induced production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in ARPE-19 cells. Prior to stimulation by IL-1β, ARPE-19 cells were pretreated with quercetin at various concentrations (2.5–20 µM). The results showed that quercetin could dose-dependently decrease the mRNA and protein levels of ICAM-1, IL-6, IL-8 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). It also attenuated the adherence of the human monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1 to IL-1β-stimulated ARPE-19 cells. We also demonstrated that quercetin inhibited signaling pathways related to the inflammatory process, including phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), inhibitor of nuclear factor κ-B kinase (IKK)α/β, c-Jun, cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2) and nuclear factor (NF)-κB p65, and blocked the translocation of NF-κB p65 into the nucleus. Furthermore, MAPK inhibitors including an extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 inhibitor (U0126), a p38 inhibitor (SB202190) and a c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor (SP600125) decreased the expression of soluble ICAM-1 (sICAM-1), but not ICAM-1. U0126 and SB202190 could inhibit the expression of IL-6, IL-8 and MCP-1, but SP600125 could not. An NF-κB inhibitor (Bay 11-7082) also reduced the expression of ICAM-1, sICAM-1, IL-6, IL-8 and MCP-1. Taken together, these results provide evidence that quercetin protects ARPE-19 cells from the IL-1β-stimulated increase in ICAM-1, sICAM-1, IL-6, IL-8 and MCP-1 production by blocking the activation of MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways to ameliorate the inflammatory response.