Glycolysis markers including glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), monocarboxylate transporter 4 (MCT4), hexokinase 2 (HK2), pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) and glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) play vital roles in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, their prognostic value in HNSCC is still controversial. In this meta-analysis, we searched the PubMed, Web of Science and Cochrane Library databases and included thirty-seven studies (3272 patients) that met the inclusion criteria. Higher expression levels of the glycolysis markers in tumor tissues correlated with poorer overall survival (OS; P < 0.001), disease-free survival (DFS; P = 0.03) and recurrence-free survival (RFS; P < 0.001) of HNSCC patients. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses demonstrated that higher expression levels of GLUT1 (P < 0.001), MCT4 (P = 0.002), HK2 (P = 0.002) and PKM2 (P < 0.001) correlated with poorer OS among HNSCC patients. Higher expression of MCT4 (P < 0.001) and PKM2 (P = 0.008) predicted poorer DFS among HNSCC patients. However, GLUT4 expression levels did not associate with clinical outcomes in HNSCC patients. These results demonstrate that glycolysis markers, such as GLUT1, MCT4, HK2 and PKM2, are potential prognostic predictors and therapeutic targets in HNSCC.