K. A. Abbas first published article was in Children's Magazine Phool in 1926 (at the age of 11). He won all possible prizes for Elocution, Debate and Drama including the highest Debating Prize, The Harold Cox Prize in 1934.

He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1969, by Government of India.

  • 1942: BFJA Awards: Best Screenplay: Naya Sansar (1941)
  • 1946: Wrote screenplay, for Neecha Nagar, which became the only Indian film to win a Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • 1956: Awards for Best Dialogue for Shri 420 from Film Writers Association
  • 1957 Cannes Film Festival: Golden Palm: Pardesi: Nominated
  • 1960: All India Certificate of Merit for the Second Best Children's Film - Idd Mubarak
  • 1963: President of India's Gold Medal for his film Shehar Aur Sapna
  • 1964: National Film Award for Best Feature Film: Shehar Aur Sapna
  • 1964: Maharashtra State Award: Fakira
  • 1965: 3 International Film Festival Awards - Santa Barbara, (USA), Gijon (Spain), Gottwaldov (Czechoslovakia) for his film Hamara Ghar
  • 1966: Jury Member: 16th Berlin International Film Festival
  • 1970: Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration: Saat Hindustani
  • 1972: Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration: Do Boond Paani
  • 1980: Gold Award for direction: The Naxalites. Avellino (Italy) International Film Festival for Neo Realistic Films.
  • 1969: Haryana State Robe of Honour for literary achievements
  • 1983: The prestigious Ghalib Award for his contribution to Urdu prose literature
  • 1984: Vorosky Literary Award of the Soviet Union
  • 1984: Urdu Akademi Delhi Special Award
  • 1985: Maharashtra State Urdu Akademi Award for life-long contribution to Urdu Literature and Journalism
  • 1985: The Soviet Award for his contribution to the cause of Indo-Soviet Friendship.