This study evaluated the association between inflammatory diets as measured by the Dietary Inflammatory index (DII), inflammation biomarkers and the development of preeclampsia among the Chinese population. We followed the reporting guidelines of the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology statement for observational studies. A total of 466 preeclampsia cases aged over 18 years were recruited between March 2016 and June 2019, and 466 healthy controls were 1:1 ratio matched by age (±3 years), week of gestation (±1 week) and gestational diabetes mellitus. The energy-adjusted DII (E-DII) was computed based on dietary intake assessed using a seventy-nine item semiquantitative FFQ. Inflammatory biomarkers were analysed by ELISA kits. The mean E-DII scores were −0·65 ± 1·58 for cases and −1·19 ± 1·47 for controls (P value < 0·001). E-DII scores positively correlated with interferon-γ (rs = 0·194, P value = 0·001) and IL-4 (rs = 0·135, P value = 0·021). After multivariable adjustment, E-DII scores were positively related to preeclampsia risk (Ptrend < 0·001). The highest tertile of E-DII was 2·18 times the lowest tertiles (95 % CI = 1·52, 3·13). The odds of preeclampsia increased by 30 % (95 % CI = 18 %, 43 %, P value < 0·001) for each E-DII score increase. The preeclampsia risk was positively associated with IL-2 (OR = 1·07, 95 % CI = 1·03, 1·11), IL-4 (OR = 1·26, 95 % CI = 1·03, 1·54) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) (OR = 1·17, 95 % CI = 1·06, 1·29). Therefore, proinflammatory diets, corresponding to higher IL-2, IL-4 and TGF-β levels, were associated with increased preeclampsia risk.