© 2015 American Chemical Society. Although controlling the interfacial chemistry of electrodes in Li-ion batteries (LIBs) is crucial for maintaining the reversibility, electrolyte decomposition has not been fully understood. In this study, electrolyte decomposition on model electrode surfaces (Au and Sn) was investigated by in situ attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy. Simultaneously obtained ATR-FTIR spectra and cyclic voltammetry measurements show that lithium ethylene dicarbonate and lithium propionate form on the Au electrode at 0.6 V, whereas diethyl 2,5-dioxahexane dicarboxylate and lithium propionate form on the Sn electrode surface at 1.25 V. A noncatalytic reduction path on the Au surface and a catalytic reduction path on the Sn surface are introduced to explain the surface dependence of the overpotential and product selectivity. This represents a new concept for explaining electrolyte reactions on the anode of LIBs. The present investigation shows that catalysis plays a dominant role in the electrolyte decomposition process and has important implications in electrode surface modification and electrolyte recipe selection, which are critical factors for enhancing the efficiency, durability, and reliability of LIBs.