Circadian rhythms coordinate an organism’s activities and biological processes to the optimal time in the 24-h daylight cycle. We previously demonstrated that male C57BL/6 mice develop sepsis more rapidly when the disease is induced in the nighttime versus the daytime. In this report, we elucidate the mechanism of this diurnal difference. Sepsis was induced via cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) at zeitgeber time (ZT)–19 (2 AM) or ZT-7 (2 PM). Like the males used in our prior study, female C57BL/6 mice had a worse outcome when CLP was induced at ZT-19 versus ZT-7, and these effects persisted when we pooled the data from both sexes. In contrast, mice with a mutated Period 2 (Per2) gene had a similar outcome when CLP was induced at ZT-19 versus ZT-7. Bone marrow chimeras reconstituted with C57BL/6 immune cells exhibited a worse outcome when sepsis was induced at ZT-19 versus ZT-7, whereas chimeras with Per2-mutated immune cells did not. Next, murine macrophages were subjected to serum shock to synchronize circadian rhythms and exposed to bacteria cultured from the mouse cecum at 4-h intervals for 48 h. We observed that IL-6 production oscillated with a 24-h period in C57BL/6 cells exposed to cecal bacteria. Interestingly, we observed a similar pattern when cells were exposed to the TLR2 agonist lipoteichoic acid. Furthermore, TLR2-knockout mice exhibited a similar sepsis phenotype when CLP was induced at ZT-19 versus ZT-7. Together, these data suggest that circadian rhythms in immune cells mediate diurnal variations in murine sepsis severity via a TLR2-dependent mechanism.