During cerebral ischemia, oxygen and glucose levels decrease, producing many consequences such as the generation of reactive oxygen species, tissue injury, and the general metabolism collapse. Resveratrol triggers signaling dependent on the protein kinase activated by adenosine monophosphate (AMPK), the sensor of cellular energy metabolism that regulates autophagy, eliminates damaged mitochondria, and increases energy sources. In the present study, we investigated the participation of AMPK activation in the protective effect of resveratrol on cerebral ischemia and excitotoxicity. We found that resveratrol increased the levels of phosphorylated AMPK in the cerebral cortex of rats subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and in primary cultured neurons exposed to glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. Resveratrol (1.8 mg/Kg; i. v.; administered at the beginning of reperfusion) decreased the infarct area and increased survival of rats subjected to MCAO. In neuronal cultures, resveratrol treatment (40 μM, after excitotoxicity) reduced the production of superoxide anion, prevented the overload of intracellular Ca+2 associated to mitochondrial failure, reduced the release of the lactate dehydrogenase enzyme, and reduced death. It also promoted mitophagy (increased Beclin 1 level, favored the recruitment of LC3-II, reduced LAMP1, and reduced mitochondrial matrix protein HSP60 levels). In both models, inhibition of AMPK activation with Compound C obstructed the effect of resveratrol, showing that its protective effect depends, partially, on the activation of the AMPK/autophagy pathway.