miRNAs are essential regulators of cell identity, yet their role in early embryo development in plants remains largely unexplored. To determine the earliest stage at which miRNAs act to promote pattern formation in embryogenesis, we examined a series of mutant alleles in the Arabidopsis thaliana miRNA biogenesis enzymes DICER-LIKE 1 (DCL1), SERRATE (SE), and HYPONASTIC LEAVES 1 (HYL1). Cellular and patterning defects were observed in dcl1, se and hyl1 embryos from the zygote through the globular stage of embryogenesis. To identify miRNAs that are expressed in early embryogenesis, we sequenced mRNAs from globular stage Columbia wild type (wt) and se-1 embryos, and identified transcripts potentially corresponding to 100 miRNA precursors. Considering genome location and transcript increase between wt and se-1, 39 of these MIRNAs are predicted to be bona fide early embryo miRNAs. Among these are conserved miRNAs such as miR156, miR159, miR160, miR161, miR164, miR165, miR166, miR167, miR168, miR171, miR319, miR390 and miR394, as well as miRNAs whose function has never been characterized. Our analysis demonstrates that miRNAs promote pattern formation beginning in the zygote, and provides a comprehensive dataset for functional studies of individual miRNAs in Arabidopsis embryogenesis.