Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) are the major enzymes responsible for alcohol metabolism in humans. Emerging evidences have shown that functional polymorphisms in ADH and ALDH genes might play a critical role in increasing coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction (MI) risks; however, individually published studies showed inconclusive results. The aim of this meta-analysis is to evaluate the associations between the genetic polymorphisms of ADH and ALDH genes with susceptibility to CAD and MI. A literature search was conducted on PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and Chinese BioMedical databases from inception through December 1st, 2012. Crude relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. Twelve case-control studies were included with a total of 9,616 subjects, including 2,053 CAD patients, 1,436 MI patients, and 6,127 healthy controls. Meta-analysis showed that mutant genotypes (GA+AA) of the rs671 polymorphism in the ALDH2 gene were associated with increased risk of both CAD and MI (CAD: RR=1.20, 95%CI: 1.03-1.40, P=0.021; MI: RR=1.32, 95%CI: 1.11-1.57, P=0.002). However, there were no significant associations of ADH genetic polymorphisms to CAD and MI risks (CAD: RR=0.92, 95%CI: 0.73-1.15, P=0.445; MI: RR=0.93, 95%CI: 0.84-1.03, P=0.148). In conclusion, this meta-analysis provides strong evidence that ALDH2 rs671 polymorphism may be associated with increased risks of CAD and MI. However, further studies are still needed to accurately determine whether ADH genetic polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to CAD and MI.