Macrophages rely on tightly integrated metabolic rewiring to clear dying neighboring cells by efferocytosis during homeostasis and disease. Here we reveal that glutaminase-1-mediated glutaminolysis is critical to promote apoptotic cell clearance by macrophages during homeostasis in mice. In addition, impaired macrophage glutaminolysis exacerbates atherosclerosis, a condition during which, efficient apoptotic cell debris clearance is critical to limit disease progression. Glutaminase-1 expression strongly correlates with atherosclerotic plaque necrosis in patients with cardiovascular diseases. High-throughput transcriptional and metabolic profiling reveals that macrophage efferocytic capacity relies on a non-canonical transaminase pathway, independent from the traditional requirement of glutamate dehydrogenase to fuel ɑ-ketoglutarate-dependent immunometabolism. This pathway is necessary to meet the unique requirements of efferocytosis for cellular detoxification and high-energy cytoskeletal rearrangements. Thus, we uncover a role for non-canonical glutamine metabolism for efficient clearance of dying cells and maintenance of tissue homeostasis during health and disease in mouse and humans.