Stem cells have potential to develop into numerous cell types, thus they are good cell source for tissue engineering. As an external physical signal, material stiffness is capable of regulating stem cell fate. Biomaterial stiffness is an important parameter in tissue engineering. We summarize main measurements of material stiffness under different condition, then list and compare three main methods of controlling stiffness (material amount, crosslinking density and photopolymeriztion time) which interplay with one another and correlate with stiffness positively, and current advances in effects of biomaterial stiffness on stem cell fate. We discuss the unsolved problems and future directions of biomaterial stiffness in tissue engineering.