Succinate has been recognized as an important platform chemical that can be produced from biomass. While a number of organisms are capable of succinate production naturally, this review focuses on the engineering of Escherichia coli for the production of four-carbon dicarboxylic acid. Important features of a succinate production system are to achieve an optimal balance of reducing equivalents generated by consumption of the feedstock, while maximizing the amount of carbon channeled into the product. Aerobic and anaerobic production strains have been developed and applied to production from glucose and other abundant carbon sources. Metabolic engineering methods and strain evolution have been used and supplemented by the recent application of systems biology and in silico modeling tools to construct optimal production strains. The metabolic capacity of the production strain, the requirement for efficient recovery of succinate, and the reliability of the performance under scaleup are important in the overall process. The costs of the overall biorefinery-compatible process will determine the economic commercialization of succinate and its impact in larger chemical markets.