Agricultural production and quality are adversely affected by various abiotic stresses worldwide and this will be exacerbated by the deterioration of global climate. To feed a growing world population, it is very urgent to breed stress-tolerant crops with higher yields and improved qualities against multiple environmental stresses. Since conventional breeding approaches had marginal success due to the complexity of stress tolerance traits, the transgenic approach is now being popularly used to breed stress-tolerant crops. So identifying and characterizing the critical genes involved in plant stress responses is an essential prerequisite for engineering stress-tolerant crops. Far beyond the manipulation of single functional gene, engineering certain regulatory genes has emerged as an effective strategy now for controlling the expression of many stress-responsive genes. Transcription factors (TFs) are good candidates for genetic engineering to breed stress-tolerant crop because of their role as master regulators of many stress-responsive genes. Many TFs belonging to families AP2/EREBP, MYB, WRKY, NAC, bZIP have been found to be involved in various abiotic stresses and some TF genes have also been engineered to improve stress tolerance in model and crop plants. In this review, we take five large families of TFs as examples and review the recent progress of TFs involved in plant abiotic stress responses and their potential utilization to improve multiple stress tolerance of crops in the field conditions.