The critical role of interferons (IFNs) in mediating the innate immune response to cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is well established. However, in recent years the functional importance of the IFN-independent antiviral response has become clearer. IFN-independent, IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF3)-dependent interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) regulation in the context of CMV infection was first documented 20 years ago. Since then several IFN-independent, IRF3-dependent ISGs have been characterized and found to be among the most influential in the innate response to CMV. These include virus inhibitory protein, endoplasmic reticulum-associated IFN-inducible (viperin), ISG15, members of the interferon inducible protein with tetratricopeptide repeats (IFIT) family, interferon-inducible transmembrane (IFITM) proteins and myxovirus resistance proteins A and B (MxA, MxB). IRF3-independent, IFN-independent activation of canonically IFN-dependent signaling pathways has also been documented, such as IFN-independent biphasic activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) during infection of monocytes, differential roles of mitochondrial and peroxisomal mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS), and the ability of human CMV (HCMV) immediate early protein 1 (IE1) protein to reroute IL-6 signaling and activation of STAT1 and its associated ISGs. This review examines the role of identified IFN-independent ISGs in the antiviral response to CMV and describes pathways of IFN-independent innate immune response induction by CMV.