Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), clinically defined as Crohn′s disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC), or IBD-unclassified, results in chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract in genetically susceptible hosts. Pediatric onset IBD represents >25% of all IBD diagnoses and often presents with intestinal stricturing, perianal disease, and failed response to conventional treatments. NOD2 was the first and is the most replicated locus associated with adult IBD, to date. To determine the role of NOD2 and other genes in pediatric IBD, we performed whole-exome sequencing on a cohort of 1,183 patients with pediatric onset IBD (ages 0-18.5 years). We identified 92 probands who were homozygous or compound heterozygous for rare and low frequency NOD2 variants accounting for approximately 8% of our cohort, suggesting a Mendelian recessive inheritance pattern of disease. Additionally, we investigated the contribution of recessive inheritance of NOD2 alleles in adult IBD patients from the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC)-Geisinger Health System DiscovEHR study, which links whole exome sequences to longitudinal electronic health records (EHRs) from 50,726 participants. We found that ~7% of cases in this adult IBD cohort, including ~10% of CD cases, can be attributed to recessive inheritance of NOD2 variants, confirming the observations from our pediatric IBD cohort. Exploration of EHR data showed that 14% of these adult IBD patients obtained their initial IBD diagnosis before 18 years of age, consistent with early onset disease. Collectively, our findings show that recessive inheritance of rare and low frequency deleterious NOD2 variants account for 7-10% of CD cases and implicate NOD2 as a Mendelian disease gene for early onset Crohn′s disease.