Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are integrated microdevices or systems combining electrical and mechanical components that can sense, control, and actuate on the microscale and function individually or in arrays to generate effects on the macroscale. MEMS is one of the most promising areas in future computers and machinery, the next logical step in the silicon revolution. Fabricated using integrated circuit (IC)-compatible batch-processing technologies, the small size of MEMS opens a new line of exciting applications, including aerospace, automotive, biological, medical, fluidics, military, optics, and many other areas. We explore the potentialities of a high-resolution optical technique for characterizing MEMS microstructures. The method is based on the application of digital holography as a noncontact metrological tool for inspection and characterization of the microstructure surface morphology. The microstructures under investigation are homogeneous and bimorph polysilicon cantilevers; both structures exhibit an out-of-plane deformation owing to residual stress. The high sensitivity of the proposed method enables us to precisely determine the structure morphology and calculate the intrinsic stress and bending moment, in good agreement with an analytical model. Hence, the proposed technique can be exploited to assess the fabrication process and the functionality as well as the reliability of micromachined structures. Moreover, it is also used as a tuning tool for design and finite-element-based simulation software.