Haematococcus pluvialis is a proficient source of natural antioxidant astaxanthin. However, the efficient extraction of astaxanthin from this microalga remains a great challenge due to the presence of the tough and non-hydrolysable cell walls. In this study, ionic liquid (IL) pretreatment was used for deconstruction of cell wall method. Imidazolium-based ILs exhibited higher cell disruption capability than pyridinium-based and ammonium-based ILs. After the ILs determination, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([Bmim] Cl) was the most efficient method for cell wall deconstruction that leads to the highest astaxanthin extractability. More than 80% astaxanthin was extracted from H. pluvialis under mild conditions (pretreatment with 40% IL aqueous solution at 35 degrees C, followed by methanolic extraction at 50 degrees C). In addition, [Bmim] Cl showed the excellent recyclability, and negligible loss of astaxanthin during IL pretreatment was observed. The present work demonstrates that the combination of IL pretreatment and organic solvent extraction was an energy efficient and eco-friendly process for the astaxanthin recovery from H. pluvialis.