Bioconversion of acetate, a byproduct generated in industrial processes, into microbial lipids using oleaginous yeasts offers a promising alternative for the economic utilization of acetate-containing waste streams. However, high acetate concentrations will inhibit microbial growth and metabolism. In this study, the acetate utilization capability of Yarrowia lipolytica PO1f was successively improved by overexpressing the key enzyme of acetyl-CoA synthetase (ACS), which resulted in an accumulation of 9.2% microbial lipids from acetate in shake flask fermentation. By further overexpressing the second key enzymes of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC1) and fatty acid synthase (FAS) in Y. lipolytica, the lipid content was increased to 25.7% from acetate. Finally, the maximum OD600 of 29.2 and a lipid content of 41.7% were obtained with the engineered strain by the adoption of cosubstrate (glycerol and acetate) fed-batch fermentation, which corresponded to an increase of 68 and 95%, respectively. These results presented a promising strategy for economic and efficient microbial lipid production from the waste acetate.