Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease that is characterized by distinct cytogenetic or genetic abnormalities. Recent discoveries in cancer epigenetics demonstrated a critical role of epigenetic dysregulation in AML pathogenesis. Unlike genetic alterations, the reversible nature of epigenetic modifications is therapeutically attractive in cancer therapy. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that regulates gene expression and plays a pivotal role in mammalian development including hematopoiesis. DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and Ten-eleven-translocation (TET) dioxygenases are responsible for the dynamics of DNA methylation. Genetic alterations of DNMTs or TETs disrupt normal hematopoiesis and subsequently result in hematological malignancies. Emerging evidence reveals that the dysregulation of DNA methylation is a key event for AML initiation and progression. Importantly, aberrant DNA methylation is regarded as a hallmark of AML, which is heralded as a powerful epigenetic marker in early diagnosis, prognostic prediction, and therapeutic decision-making. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of DNA methylation in normal hematopoiesis and AML pathogenesis. We also discuss the clinical implications of DNA methylation and the current therapeutic strategies of targeting DNA methylation in AML therapy.