The plant cell cuticle is the first obstacle for penetration of the host by plant pathogens. To breach this barrier, most pathogenic fungi employ a complex assortment of cell wall-degrading enzymes including carbohydrate esterases, glycoside hydrolases, and polysaccharide lyases. We characterized the full complement of carbohydrate esterase-coding genes in three Phytophthora species and analyzed the expression of cutinase in vitro and in planta; we also determined the cutinase allele distribution in multiple isolates of P. infestans. Our investigations revealed that there are 49, 21, and 37 esterase homologs in the P. infestans, P. ramorum, and P. sojae genomes, respectively, with a considerable number predicted to be extracellular. Four cutinase gene copies were found in both the P. infestans and P. ramorum genomes, while 16 copies were found in P. sojae. Transcriptional analyses of cutinase in P. infestans revealed that its expression level during infection is significantly upregulated at all time points compared to that of the same gene in mycelium grown in vitro. Expression achieves maximum values at 15 hpi, declining at subsequent time points. These results may suggest, therefore, that cutinase most likely plays a role in P. infestans pathogenicity.