Globally, liver cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer mortality, with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) being the most common type of primary liver cancer. Emerging evidence states that diet is recognised as a potential lifestyle-related risk factor for the development of HCC. The aim of this systematic review is to determine whether there is an association between diet and the development of HCC. Using the PRISMA guidelines, three databases (MEDLINE Complete, CINAHL and Embase) were systematically searched, and studies published until July 2020 were included. Thirty observational studies were selected. The protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42019135240). Higher adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern, Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010, the Urban Prudent Dietary Pattern, the Traditional Cantonese Dietary Pattern, intake of vegetables, wholegrains, fish, poultry, coffee, macronutrients such as monounsaturated fats and micronutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin B9, β-carotene, manganese and potassium were associated with a reduced risk of HCC. The results suggest a potential role of diet in the development of HCC. Further quantitative research needs to be undertaken within a range of populations to investigate diet and the relationship with HCC risk.