Blue carbon (BC) research has progressed over the years and is continuously evolving. Several existing review papers are available and scrutinized BC research, yet, knowledge gaps and overlaps in science and practice remain a challenge. Thus, we conducted a literature review on 1179 BC-related documents including peer-reviewed articles, technical reports/policy briefs, books/book chapters, conference presentation abstracts, dissertations/theses, and news articles. The work undertaken was guided by three research objectives – (1) to identify the knowledge gaps, trends, and updates in BC literature, (2) to determine the geographic distribution of BC research, and (3) to review the timeline of BC research and elucidate critical issues that potentially drag BC advancement. Key results showed, that, firstly, BC literature favors academic research papers over gray literature (e.g., guidelines, policy briefs). This is critical since research papers are hard to access and process by non-technical persons and practitioners worldwide, thus, promoting gray publications particularly those dedicated to policymakers and coastal managers such as policy briefs and technical manuals are highly encouraged. Secondly, there is an uneven geographic distribution of BC documents, roughly reflecting weak international collaborations among scholars from developing and developed countries. Additionally, this can be attributed to scholar’s limited capabilities and international networks. Lastly, BC research remained in favor of natural/physical/applied sciences in comparison to social and policy-oriented papers. Despite this, we noted that the number of social-driven publications in the last two years is increasing, which can change trends in the future. The findings of this review, covering the last 12 years of BC research, can be instrumental to coastal managers and/or practitioners in terms of developing state of the art BC management strategies that are science-based. Moreover, the results can support scholars by complementing their future research agendas to avoid unnecessary overlaps and/or redundancies that can potentially drag the advancement of BC science.