Acute pancreatitis is a significant challenge to health services. Remarkable progress has been made in the last decade in optimizing its management. This review is a comprehensive assessment of 7 guidelines employed in current clinical practice with an appraisal of the underlying evidence, including 15 meta-analyses/systematic reviews, 16 randomized controlled trials, and 31 cohort studies. Key tenets of early management of acute pancreatitis include severity stratification based on the degree of organ failure and early goal-directed fluid resuscitation. Rigorous determination of etiology reduces the risk of recurrence. Early enteral nutrition and consideration of epidural analgesia have been pioneered in recent years with promising results. Indications for invasive intervention are becoming increasingly refined. The definitive indications for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography in acute pancreatitis are associated with cholangitis and common bile duct obstruction. The role of open surgical necrosectomy has diminished with the development of a minimally invasive step-up necrosectomy protocol. Increasing use of endoscopic ultrasound-guided intervention in the management of pancreatic necrosis has helped reduce pancreatic fistula rates and hospital stay. The optimal approach to surgical management of complicated pancreatitis depends on patient physiology and disease anatomy, in addition to the available resources and expertise. This is best achieved with a multidisciplinary approach. This review provides a distillation of the recommendations of clinical guidelines and critical discussion of the evidence that informs them and presents an algorithmic approach to key areas of patient management.